Providing stories from the debut to the renowned and the babble in between. Our weekly Interviews with authors will take you on their journey. From where they've come, to where they are and where they're heading next.
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Babble and Banter with Dan Anthony
Dan Anthony is a creative on many levels: he writes adored children's books, he lectures in Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan university, his research interest examines the relationship between creativity and intellectual property, and being a scriptwriter on CBBC’s Tracy Beaker series is only one of his many exploits in the world of TV and radio. He is an ambassador for the power of writing and its transformative nature.
Dan’s comic short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, Radio Wales and by the New Welsh Review, with hits including Pub Globo and The Fishford Observer, to name just a couple. He has written and directed six situation comedy series for radio and written and presented several documentary series.
His new book, Submarine Spies and the Unspeakable Thing (age range 9-12), tells a tale of how dogs, cats, parrots, chinchillas and submarine spies transform a young Caitlin’s life into a heart-warming adventure in a small Welsh town. His children’s trilogy, The Rugby Zombies (age range 9-11), features an array of zombified shenanigans, and was nominated for a Tir na n-Og award by the Welsh Books Council. His other titles include The Bus Stop at the End of the World (age range 9-11), Steve’s Dreams (age range 7-9), and The Last Big One (age range 13+). Dan’s passion for inspiring young readers and writers is clear from his workshops, which he presents in junior and secondary schools throughout the UK.
Lucy Smith, one of our new Babble interviewers, is a flash fiction, prose poetry and short story writer and podcaster (namely Talking Ink and The Talkies), who asks Dan interesting, exploratory questions which unearth wonderful insights into the world of writing, and a facilitate a happy, fun interview on a diverse range of topics, from his research on copyright to his approach on creative process.
Love At First Babble with Lorraine Brown
Lorraine Brown spent her childhood devouring the Sweet Dreams teen romance series, so it’s only fitting that her debut novel Uncoupling is such a wonderful modern romance, published by Orion Books.
Lorraine’s career has hardly been a straightforward one, but her path towards her writing debut is inspiring nonetheless. From fashion journalism to temp jobs, with drama school in between and topped off with a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling, it’s no wonder that Lorraine’s characters are such three-dimensional, multi-faceted people and more to the point, that Lorraine was such an interesting Babbler.
Uncoupling was long-listed for the Bath Novel Award in 2016, which spurred Lorraine on and kept her working on it in Waterstones Hampstead’s café. Being one of 11 mentees on Penguin Random House’s WriteNow programme in 2018, where she worked with an editor on the novel for a year, further kept Lorraine charging forward. On came the deal with the literary agency. Then the book deal. Then the Babble interview. And the rest is history.
Babble visits Kololo Hill with Neema Shah
Neema Shah’s day job is in marketing, specialising in TV, digital and brand strategy for companies including the BBC, and it was on her commutes that she started writing Kololo Hill six years ago. Her writing is the historical fiction retelling of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in 1972 by Idi Amin and the impacts of diaspora, but it is endless in humour, love and joy - the things which Neema believes, in spite of struggle, humans use to survive.
Neema was born in London and spoke English at home, and yet elements of both Indian and East African culture were present in her life, be they ways of cooking Indian dishes with African spices, or using Swahili and Gujarati words when speaking. She uses her writing to explore themes of identity and belonging, and Kololo Hill is an insightful, entertaining and eye-opening piece of historical fiction out 18 February 2021 for readers to devour.
Kololo Hill was a “2021 Pick” for Foyles, Daily Mail, The Irish Times, Cosmopolitan and Eastern Eye. She won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Live 2017 with an early extract of Kololo Hill, was runner-up in the York Festival of Writing Best Opening Chapter 2017 and the DGA First Novel Prize 2018, she was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Prize 2018 and longlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize, SI Leeds Literary Prize and Retreat Novel Prize, all in 2018.
Babble’s Got Art and Soal
Chris Soal is an award-winning emerging artist living and practicing in Johannesburg, South Africa, using unconventional found objects - like toothpicks and bottle caps - to make mesmerising art which represents the world we live in... and also to design Dior bags, as part of the Lady Dior Collaboration.
Chris babbles with Megan Thomas about what inspired him to pursue a career in visual art, and the path he took to get to where he is today. Covering everything from the symbolism of his materials in a South African context and the practical reasons which inspired his choice in materials, to navigating what it means to put a price tag on art and the value of interdisciplinary conversations when it comes to creative process, this interview displays Chris’ grounded humility paired with an inspiring depth of thought that goes into every piece he creates.
Babbling Brooks and Books with Seán Hewitt
Poet, writer and lecturer Seán Hewitt was shortlisted for the Sunday Times University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award 2020 for his debut poetry anthology ‘Tongues of Fire’, published by Jonathan Cape. ‘Tongues of Fire’ is a sensitive, compelling and beautiful ode to life and to nature, and Seán presents a reading of one of his earliest poems in his Babble interview - as well as a hilarious story about camping in the moors when writing it.
His memoir, ‘All Down Darkness Wide’, is forthcoming from Jonathan Cape in the UK and Penguin Press in the USA in 2022. He is also the winner of the Northern Writers Award, the Resurgence Prize and an Eric Gregory Award, and was chosen by The Sunday Times as one of their "30 under 30" most promising artists in Ireland.
‘Tongues of Fire’ was a Spectator, Guardian, Attitude, Irish Times and Irish Independent book of the year - as well as interviewer Megan’s, who is very excited to be able to pick Seán’s brains about his work, his anthology and his creative process. The two discuss prizes and Seán’s views on them, as well as how honoured he is to have been shortlisted amongst so many young, talented writers.
Poetic Babble with Christina Thatcher
Christina Thatcher is an award-winning poet, a creative writing lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University, poetry editor of The Cardiff Review, tutor for The Poetry School, and runs Wales’ largest writing group, Roath Writers.
Christina’s debut poetry anthology, ‘More Than You Were’, grapples with the loss of her father from addiction and was written as the creative component of her PHD in Creative Writing from Cardiff University. The critical component deals with writing about death and using writing as liberation from disenfranchised grief. Her most recent anthology, ‘How To Carry Fire’, is in part a follow on from ‘More Than You Were’, but it is clear that Christina felt a cathartic sense of freedom and expansion when writing it. Both were published by Parthian Books.
Christina talks in her interview about moving to Wales from America and about how she started writing poetry from a young age as a form of escapism; she offers sound advice to aspiring poets about finding one’s voice and talks us through how the title of ‘How To Carry Fire’ came into being through retrospection of her family’s trauma; and she explains how poetry helps her make meaning of the world and her place within it. Her words are as inspiring on the page as they are when she babbles with Megan Thomas and if you aren’t rushing out to buy her collections after listening, you’ll be rushing to your notepad to write yourself.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A global lit fest
It’s really great to see how the team at Babble have reached out and found an array of writers. Lockdowns be damned.