54 episodes

Journalist Hattie Crisell visits the studies of writers of all kinds – novelists, screenwriters, poets, journalists and more – to find out how they write, why they write, and what they can teach us about doing it better.

In Writing with Hattie Crisell Hattie Crisell

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 43 Ratings

Journalist Hattie Crisell visits the studies of writers of all kinds – novelists, screenwriters, poets, journalists and more – to find out how they write, why they write, and what they can teach us about doing it better.

    Michael Rosen, poet and author

    Michael Rosen, poet and author

    In this final episode of the season, recorded in February 2023, I'm joined by the beloved poet and author Michael Rosen. Known equally for humorous children's verse and his poetry and prose for adults, Michael's books for kids include We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake, Michael Rosen's Sad Book and Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots. He's also written a number of more grown-up books, including Many Different Kinds of Love and the memoir Getting Better, about healing and recovery. In recent years he's written and spoken about his experience of spending seven weeks in intensive care with Covid-19, at the peak of the pandemic. In this conversation, we talk about how writing can help us after trauma; how performing poetry for children shaped his work; and how plain, understated language can express great emotion.

    Browse Michael's books in the In Writing bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/in-writing

    Visit his YouTube channel for kids: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7D-mXO4kk-XWvH6lBXdrPw

    Watch the short film Many Different Kinds of Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsrSN-OCk8w

    Listen to Word of Mouth, hosted by Michael, on BBC Radio 4: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qtnz

    Subscribe to the In Writing newsletter and leave your questions about the podcast in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them: https://inwriting.substack.com/

    This season of In Writing is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Use code INWRITING20 for £20 off one of their four, five, six, or ten-week online writing courses. Visit https://www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Barbara Trapido, novelist

    Barbara Trapido, novelist

    This week's guest is the beloved novelist Barbara Trapido, who I met at her home in Oxford in March 2023. Barbara's first novel was 1982's Brother of the More Famous Jack, which was published when she was 41; she followed it with Noah's Ark (1984), Temples of Delight (1990), Juggling (1994), The Travelling Hornplayer (1998), Frankie & Stankie (2003) and Sex & Stravinsky (2010). She's now in her early eighties, and talked to me about finding the energy to write in later life; her playful philosophy of writing; and her memories of introducing a young, then-aspiring novelist Maggie O'Farrell to her first agent.

    You can find Barbara's novels here in the In Writing bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/in-writing

    Please do subscribe to my newsletter on the writing process, and join me for writing hours on Google Meet, here: https://inwriting.substack.com

    Here's the episode of In Writing with novelist Maggie O'Farrell, who talks about Barbara: https://audioboom.com/posts/7835707-maggie-o-farrell-novelist

    This season of In Writing is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Use code INWRITING20 for £20 off one of their four, five, six, or ten-week online writing courses. Visit https://www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more.

    • 42 min
    Nigel Williamson, obituarist

    Nigel Williamson, obituarist

    A little detour into death this week – or life, depending on how you look at it. Nigel Williamson, obituary writer for The Times newspaper, joins me to talk about the art of summing up a person one final time, over 1600 words or so, for the permanent record. I met Nigel in March at the News Building in London to talk about researching a biography, interviewing the bereaved, and trying to get the essence of a whole human life into a couple of pages.

    You can buy the latest Times anthology of obituaries, Lives Less Ordinary, here, including Nigel's pieces on Ken Dodd, Greg Lake, Rod Temperton, Anita Pallenberg, April Ashley, Magic Alex, Christina Smith, Richard Cole, Jan Morris and many more: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/5954/9780008537913

    And here are some more of Nigel's obituaries:

    Lisa Marie Presley: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lisa-marie-presley-dies-elvis-priscilla-aged-54-r5jt9v6ls

    Jeff Beck: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/guitarist-jeff-beck-dies-aged-78-djff57bw9

    Hilary Alexander: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hilary-alexander-obituary-fxc02swrk

    and my 2013 piece on Hilary Alexander, which I loved writing: https://www.thecut.com/2013/01/hilary-alexander-will-stop-working-someday.html

    Join me on 18 April 2023 in London for this live event with the London Writers' Salon: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-build-a-self-directed-writing-career-w-london-writers-salon-tickets-609412698787 For a 50% discount and a drink at the bar, use the code HATTIEFRIEND when you purchase your ticket.

    This season of In Writing is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Use code INWRITING20 for £20 off one of their four, five, six, or ten-week online writing courses. Visit curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more.

    • 49 min
    Tor Freeman, comic book writer and illustrator

    Tor Freeman, comic book writer and illustrator

    This week's guest is my friend Tor Freeman, who writes and illustrates comics and children's picture books. Tor is a hugely imaginative person, a smart observer of human nature, and a very funny writer. Her comics include Sister Clawdetta: Murder at the Monastery and Welcome to Oddleigh, while her children's books include The Toucan Brothers and Olive and the Bad Mood. In November 2017 she was the winner of the Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize (you can read her entry here).

    We sat down at her home in Shepherd's Bush, London, in October 2022 to talk about the mysteries of creative inspiration, how she brings together images and words, and the perils of working alone at home (including a profound question all freelancers will recognise: are you distressed or do you just need a banana?).

    One of my favourites of Tor's personal comics, Dad's Improvement Schemes: https://www.instagram.com/p/CglvcldIiuO/

    Her newsletter, The ReposiTORy: https://torfreeman.substack.com/

    Wrapping paper and prints for sale, illustrated by Tor: https://torfreeman.bigcartel.com/

    The Book that No One Wanted to Read by Richard Ayoade, with very funny illustrations by Tor: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/5954/9781529500301

    Browse some of Tor's books and others by guests of the podcast in the In Writing bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/in-writing

    This season of In Writing is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Use code INWRITING20 for £20 off one of their four, five, six, or ten-week online writing courses. Visit curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more.

    • 39 min
    Geoff Dyer, non-fiction writer and novelist

    Geoff Dyer, non-fiction writer and novelist

    Geoff 'genre-defying' Dyer, whose career moves between fiction, non-fiction and a grey area in between, joins me this week from California. Geoff published his first book in 1986 and is highly prolific. Some of his best-known works include Out of Sheer Rage; Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; and Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It. Last year he published his most recent book, The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings – a meditation on getting older and how a career can be brought to an elegant close. In this conversation, recorded in January, he tells me how he developed his highly distinctive authorial voice; what he believes to be the perfect writing acoustic; why he's disgusted by Moleskine notebooks, and lots, lots more.

    Browse Geoff's books in the In Writing bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/in-writing

    This season of In Writing is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Use code INWRITING20 for £20 off one of their four, five, six, or ten-week online writing courses. Visit curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more.

    • 58 min
    Zoe Williams, columnist and opinion writer

    Zoe Williams, columnist and opinion writer

    This week, the Guardian journalist Zoe Williams joins me on In Writing. I recorded with Zoe at her home in London just before Christmas. She's well-known in the UK as a prolific writer of features, confessional columns and political opinion, and she was as outspoken and entertaining in person as she is in print. She talked me through her ability to write 1000 words in 20 minutes, but then take six months to file one feature; the pros and cons of writing about her personal life; and the most useful tips she's picked up from newspaper editors.

    You can read Zoe in the Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/zoewilliams

    Here's her piece on Marie Kondo (complete with pictures of Zoe's study, where we recorded this conversation): https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/nov/17/she-dropped-three-cheese-and-onion-crisps-and-a-tooth-into-my-hand-what-happened-when-marie-kondo-tidied-my-home

    Here's her piece on time-management guru Julie Morgenstern: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/nov/14/time-management-productivity-julie-morgenstern

    This season of In Writing is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative. Use code INWRITING20 for £20 off one of their four, five, six, or ten-week online writing courses. Visit www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk to find out more.

    Sign up for the In Writing newsletter and join my writers' community on Substack: https://inwriting.substack.com

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

NolaMuse ,

The Best

I listen to many writing podcasts and this is the best of the best. Hattie is a great interviewer and manages to illicit interesting writing craft advice from all her guests. And I love the ice-breaker question she asks of everyone “Describe where you write.”

hair62 ,

Life

I cannot get over the gift that you give all of your listeners you bring peace to my heart and knowledge to my brain thank you Jay

Charlotte Fox Weber ,

Brilliant for anyone who likes to think

This is a brilliant, life enhancing podcast. It’s lively and intense and so engaging that it makes serious topics incredibly fun. The questions asked are crisp and evocative, and each conversation opens up new realms and worlds of possibility. The conversations make writing less intimidating, which for me, matters just hugely. I love this podcast very much.

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