Ali Millar and Penny Wincer are not too busy to write. Except of course, sometimes they’re too busy to write as much as they would like. Join Ali and Penny as they navigate the world of writing, publishing and creativity whilst juggling the demands of motherhood, caring and other paid work, without losing themselves in the process. They’ll be discussing the challenges that often get in the way of sitting down to write, interviewing fellow authors and discussing their latest reads. They'll also be spurring each other on and reminding each other that they are not too busy to write.
Ali Millar is the author of The Last Days (Ebury, 2022), a mother of 4, chair of many literary events and a Scot, newly relocated to London. She is currently working on a TV treatment, her next non-fiction proposal, and the last edits of The Last Days, which is out early 2022.
Penny Wincer is the author of Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring (Hodder, June 2020), is a single parent to two kids, one of whom is disabled, occasional journalist, professional photographer and an Australian and long-term resident of London. She’s currently writing a proposal for book number 2 and working on her first novel.
Chloe Timms on dystopian fiction and writing about outsiders
Chloe Times is an author, podcaster and former teacher based in Kent. Her debut novel The Seawomen, a dystopian tale about a closed community and one young woman who gets a small taste of freedom, is out now. Chloe and I talk about how her disability naturally leads her to write about marginalised characters, building worlds and complex female friendships on the page. Chloe is a graduate of the Faber Academy and talks about how that experience changed her life as a writer. We also chat about the joys of writing podcasts and her wonderful podcast Confessions of a Debut Novelist.
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781529369564 (The Seawomen - Chloe Timms)
https://faberacademy.com/scholarship-programme/ (The Faber Academy - Scholarships)
https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/confessions-of-a-debut-novelist/id1601677222 (Confessions of a Debut Novelist Podcast with Chloe Timms)
You can find Chloe on twitter https://twitter.com/clotimms (@clotimms) and instagram https://www.instagram.com/clotimms/ (@clotimms)
You can find Penny on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/pennywincer/ (@pennywincer)
Chloe Ashby on writing about art, grief and being seen
Chloe Ashby is an arts journalist and author based in London. Her debut novel Wet Paint is about a young woman struggling to move forward after the traumatic death of her best friend, who finds solace in a painting and a life of routine, until a sudden change of circumstances has her undressing for strangers as a life model. We talk about ways of finding your way in to a story as a writer, writing about visual art and exploring ideas of control in characters. We also talk about having an 'affair' with novel writing on the side of other paid writing work and Chloe's life as a freelance arts writer working on non-fiction art books and reviewing exhibitions.
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781398702981 (Wet Paint - Chloe Ashby )
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9780711256064 (Look at this if you love great art - Chloe Ashby)
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9780711258044 (Colours of Art: The story of art in 80 palletes - Chloe Ashby)
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/chloelashby/ (@chloeashby)
Twitter - https://twitter.com/chloelashby (@chloeashby)
You can find us on instagram https://www.instagram.com/pennywincer/ (@pennywincer) and https://www.instagram.com/ali_millar_writes/ (@ali_millar_writes)
Ilona Bannister on writing challenging women
Ilona Bannister's second novel Little Prisons, is set in one building, from four perspectives, each one a woman experiencing a kind of imprisonment. Emotional, mental and literal. Ilona is our first return guest on the podcast and we discuss the difference between the experience of writing book one and book two, the complex literary devices she uses in the novel to examine issues around human trafficking and how she challenges the reader and our expectations by writing characters that stretch our compassion and have us question how we see those who are the most invisible in our society.
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781529353907 (Little Prisons - Ilona Bannister)
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781529353907 (When I Ran Away - Ilona Bannister)
Sophie Howarth - on writing about art and the joy being an amateur
Sophie Howarth has a varied and unique career spanning art, entrepreneurship, teaching, activism and writing. She has been Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern, co-founded The School Of Life and Department Store for The Mind, has written several books on photography. Her latest book The Mindful Photographer is about slowing down and paying attention to what we see. Sophie is a big believer in the joy of being an amateur and the book is for anyone, regardless of equipment or expertise, to find a fresh way of paying attention in the world.
We talk about 'beginning in the middle' - how in middle age, with our awareness of impermanence, we are somehow freed from constraints by being more aware of death. We also talk about the process of writing a photography book, of approaching the artists she wanted to use to illustrate the ideas in the book and the range of work including diversity of gender, race and genre.
Our conversation spans so many areas - inspiration (and too much inspiration/input), work freedom, following joy and the idea of practise as a way of living.
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9780500545539 (The Mindful Photographer - Sophie Howarth)
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9780500289075 (Street Photography Now - Sophie Howarth)
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9780500544532 (Family Photography Now - Sophie Howarth)
Sian Meades-Williams on freelancing writing, making money and newsletter love
Sian Meades-Williams is the brains (and muscle) behind the hugely popular Freelance Writing Jobs newsletter and co-founder of the award winning lifestyle newsletter Tigers Are Better Looking (formerly Domestic Sluttery). In today's episode we discuss Sian's new book The Pyjama Myth: The Freelance Writer's Survival Guide - an indispensable guide for writers from pitching to getting paid. Sian is full of fantastic advice for earning a living from the craft of writing, including pitching. We also do a deep dive into newsletters and the freedom and joy they bring to her work. A must listen for anyone experiencing the highs and lows of freelance writing life.
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781800180963 (The Pyjama Myth - Sian Meades-Williams)
https://mailchi.mp/69d207801f23/freelancewritingjobs (Freelance Writing Jobs Newsletter Sign up)
https://www.tigersarebetterlooking.com/ (Tigers Are better looking Newsletter Sign Up)
https://uk.bookshop.org/a/6990/9781788703567 (The Feminist Quiz Book - Sian Meades-Williams and Laura Brown)
You can find Sian on Twitter https://twitter.com/SianySianySiany (@SianySianySiany) and https://www.sianmeadeswilliams.com/ (sianmeadeswilliams.com)
Maggie Gee on Empathy, language, and the non-human in fiction.
In this episode Maggie Gee reads extracts from her stunning new novel, The Red Children (Saqi Books). Set in the near future against a backdrop of increased migration pressure, climate change and increasing isolation, The Red Children explores themes of far right extremism and the aftermath of virus.
Ali talks to Maggie about the enduring power of fable. How characters with radically different personalities to ours can foster a deeper empathy, and how to write the non-human successfully.
Excellent listen for any womxn writer or aspiring writer
I’ve listened to every episode Ali Millar and Penny Wincer have out so far, and can’t wait to keep listening. It is so valuable to get a behind-the-scenes peek at how other mothers tackle the varied social, professional, and family demands placed on their shoulders while still nurturing their creativity. Not condescending in the slightest, it’s like chatting with two friends. (This is where I admit I’d like to be friends with both!) Killer book recommendations as well.