200 episodes

We're a weekly podcast for anyone who writes. We talk to writers about their writing journeys and techniques, from early career debuts to self-publishers and narrative designers. We've featured Margaret Atwood, Jackie Kay, Sara Collins, Antti Tuomainen, Val McDermid, Sarah Perry, Elif Shafak and many more!

The Writing Life is produced by the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich.

The Writing Life National Centre for Writing

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 17 Ratings

We're a weekly podcast for anyone who writes. We talk to writers about their writing journeys and techniques, from early career debuts to self-publishers and narrative designers. We've featured Margaret Atwood, Jackie Kay, Sara Collins, Antti Tuomainen, Val McDermid, Sarah Perry, Elif Shafak and many more!

The Writing Life is produced by the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall in Norwich.

    Writing narrative non-fiction with Dan Richards & Edward Parnell

    Writing narrative non-fiction with Dan Richards & Edward Parnell

    In this episode of The Writing Life, we’re joined by writers and NCW Academy tutors Dan Richards and Edward Parnell to discuss the process of researching, writing, and publishing narrative non-fiction books.
    Dan Richards is a writer and journalist who specialises in travel, memoir, and culture. He has taught at Bristol University, and currently tutors for NCW Academy. His book Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth examines the appeal and pull of far-flung shelters in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans & deserts; landscapes which have long inspired adventurers, pilgrims, writers, & artists. His new book, Overnight, an exploration of nocturnal operations which replenish, repair and protect the world whilst most of us are asleep, is set to be published later this year.
    Edward Parnell has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He’s been the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing, and has taught Creative Non-Fiction wish us since 2020. His second book, Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country, a work of narrative non-fiction was published in hardback in the UK during October 2019 by William Collins, and subsequently released in the UK and US in paperback in October 2020. The book was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize 2020 for memoir and autobiography.
    Both Dan and Edward are tutors for our online tutored creative non-fiction courses, and you can find out when their upcoming courses with us by visiting nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/academy/tutored-courses/
    Together, they discuss their experiences researching and writing their books Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country and Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth, the importance of being open to all subject manners and commission possibilities, and how writing non-fiction allows you to meet and connect with groups of people from various walks of life. They also touch on the ongoing editing process of writing non-fiction, the advantages of not writing in a linear way, and the differences in the process and pay of writing a non-fiction book compared to a fiction novel.

    • 58 min
    How to be a craftivist with Sarah P Corbett

    How to be a craftivist with Sarah P Corbett

    In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, NCW Chief Executive Peggy Hughes is joined by author and professional campaigner Sarah P Corbett to discuss craftivism, a form of activism and collective empowerment that is centered on practices of craft.
    Sarah P Corbett is an activist, author, speaker, and the founder of Craftivist Collective. She is known for developing the 'gentle protest' approach to activism, which is activism that is slow, attractive, kind, strategic and deeply engaging. She is the author of three books on craftivism and her new book, The Craftivist Collective Handbook, which was published on 2 May 2024.
    Together, Peggy and Sarah discuss her new book, The Craftivism Collective Handbook, which features instructions for twenty craftivism projects, and delves into the methodology on gentle craftivism. They also touch on how craft can provoke people to think about social change, the links between craftivism and wellbeing, and how social media enabled her to build a strong community of craftivists.

    • 50 min
    Writing for performance with HighTide

    Writing for performance with HighTide

    In this episode of The Writing Life, Holly is joined by Colchester-based playwright and HighTide/Peggy Ramsay Foundation writer in residence Nicola Werenowska and Norwich-based folk musician Georgia Shackleton to discuss writing for performance.
    Nicola and Georgia were central to the development of Suffolk-based theatre company HighTide’s touring show Ghost Stories by Candlelight, which we were lucky enough to host at Dragon Hall last autumn. Ghost Stories by Candlelight was a brand new commission that brought together stories, music and song to tell a set of chilling, contemporary ghost stories that celebrate the people, landscape and fragile natural world of East Anglia… And we are very excited to announce that HighTide will return to Dragon Hall as part of a new tour in autumn 2024.
    Together, Holly, Nicola and Georgia discuss the process of writing collectively, and the particular characteristics of ghost stories. They also touch on the representation of different voices and identities in the performance world, and the importance of place in their writing.

    • 43 min
    Writing poetry with Martin Figura

    Writing poetry with Martin Figura

    In this episode of The Writing Life, NCW Chief Executive Peggy Hughes is joined by award-winning poet Martin Figura to discuss the process of writing poetry, and how things make their way into his poetic imagination.
    Martin Figura was born in Liverpool and lives in Norwich. His collections include The Little Book of Harm (Firewater Press, 2000), Ahem (Eggbox, 2005) and Whistle (Arrowhead, 2010), which deals with the murder in 1966 of his mother, June, by his father Frank. His collection and show Whistle were shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and won the 2013 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show. The Remaining Men is his latest full collection. 
    Together, they discuss Martin’s latest poetry collection The Remaining Men, why he chose to write about those whose lives are too easily dismissed by society and government, and what inspired him to order the collection in the way he did. They also touch on the ethics around writing about your personal relationships and the lives of others, and what makes poetry such a powerful vehicle for exploring and articulating trauma and difficult topics.
    Martin has also written a poem for the new addition of Wandering Words, a literary walking tour of Norwich UNESCO City of Literature. With a new look, two new locations, and two new poems, the new addition of Wandering Words map will be available to download from our website, or to pick up from the Norfolk & Norwich Box Office. To find out more, click here.

    • 45 min
    Reintroducing Harriet Martineau with Stuart Hobday & Gaby Weiner

    Reintroducing Harriet Martineau with Stuart Hobday & Gaby Weiner

    In this episode of The Writing Life, NCW Chief Executive Peggy Hughes is joined by writers and members of The Martineau Society Stuart Hobday and Gaby Weiner to discuss their new book Reintroducing Harriet Martineau: Pioneering Sociologist and Activist, which explores the innovative, sociological approach adopted by Harriet Martineau in her efforts to develop a ‘scientific’ approach to understanding social and societal change.
    Stuart Hobday is the founder of the annual Harriet Martineau Lecture and the author of Encounters with Harriet Martineau. He is a former Director of Norwich Arts Centre and in 2016 produced the first Norwich Science Festival.
    Gaby Weiner has been researching the life and achievements of Harriet Martineau since the 1980s and completed a PhD in 1991 entitled Controversies and Contradictions: Approaches to the Study of Harriet Martineau (1802-76). In 2017, she co-edited with Valerie Sanders a collection entitled Harriet Martineau and the Birth of the Disciplines, and has recently completed a book for Routledge with Stuart Hobday on Harriet Martineau as a foundational sociologist.
    Together, they discuss the life and legacy of Harriet Martineau, the things that formed her desire for social progress, and how and why her reputation changed over time. They also touch on their experience co-authoring the book, their journeys finding and researching Harriet Martineau, and how the annual Harriet Martineau Lecture, hosted by NCW as part of Norfolk & Norwich Festival, honours her legacy.

    • 51 min
    Crafting identity in fiction with Michael Donkor

    Crafting identity in fiction with Michael Donkor

    In this episode of The Writing Life, NCW Head of Programmes & Creative Engagement Holly speaks with novelist Michael Donkor about crafting identity in fiction.
    Michael Donkor was born in London to Ghanaian parents. He studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, followed by a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. His first novel, Hold, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. He is a frequent contributor to outlets including the Guardian, the TLS and the Independent.
    Together, they discuss his new novel, Grow Where They Fall, and the different forms of identity represented in the book. Michael talks about writing queer characters of colour, how to show the reader signs that a character may not be as confident in their identity as they claim to be,  and creating links between the past and present when writing different timelines of one character’s life.
    They also touch on how Michael will be joining us for an event and workshop at our City of Literature weekend at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2024, where he will expand on crafting identities and writing conflict in fiction further.

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

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