Go Advanced Search
 

Subscribe to this:

Podcast
Podcast
iTunes Podcast




Podcasts in These Categories
Find More Titles by
This Author: James Kidd

This Writing Life Podcast by James Kidd

This Writing Life Podcast

by James Kidd

Product Details

Host

Description

The Literary Podcast featuring Author Interviews, Readings and Rambling conversations. Hosted by books journalist James Kidd. Episodes include: Hanya Yanagihara, Vendela Vida, David Gates, Tom Drury, Sloane Crosley, Tomas Gonzalez. Special episodes with David Mitchell, Michel Faber, Amit Chaudhuri, Karen Joy Fowler. Next episode: Laura Lippman.


People Who Liked This Writing Life Podcast Also Liked These Podcasts:
Reviews & Ratings
User Reviews         Rate this title  

Podcast Episodes




If this Podcast isn't working, please let us know by emailing us and we will try to fix it ASAP:

Podcast Feed URL:

 Podcast Website:
http://thiswritinglife.podbean.com

Episode 107 - LS Hilton: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Mar 27, 2017


There’s only so much a nice podcast can take. In part two of This Writing Life’s chat with LS Hilton, we dive into Maestra, the global blockbuster that made its author’s name (albeit with initials replacing Lisa). We begin by asking how much of a departure its compostion was for LSH, as are calling her these days.

—-more—-After some chatter about comparisons to 50 Sh&^des of Gr&y, we turn to:

  • the reaction (or not) of her agent
  • Maestra’s pitch and publication
  • some more 50 Shades criticism


Download File - 19.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 106 - LS Hilton: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Mar 16, 2017


In a new two-part episode, This Writing Life meets Lisa Hilton: journalist, historian and novelist. Her 15 year-career has produced five works of non-fiction, and three of fiction. Yet it took just one book to make her name, albeit under the thin veil of LS Hilton.

Published in 2016, Maestra was a marmite erotic thriller, that provoked controversy, accalaim and headlines across the world. Rejected by Hilton’s own agent who found it ‘disgusting’, and then by almost every English publisher, it found a home first with a film agent, and then with the up and coming Zaffre Press. 50 Shades of Grey, but cut with American Psycho and Patricia Highsmith, it told the coming-of-rage tale of Judith, an ammoral art historian-turned-call-girl -turned-international-swindler-murderer-sex-kitten. It is unnerving, gripping and darkly funny i [...]



Download File - 25.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 105 - Richard Russo: Part 5

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Mar 10, 2017


The final part of our epic chat with Richard Russo asks an epic question: what has it been like to write novels for 30 years? Having chewed over that question we move onto some other big topics, including posterity, death and what comes next (not the afterlife, just what is Russo’s next project). 

Finally, we ask: will there be another chapter to Donald Sullivan’s adventures? Everybody’s Fool is available everywhere right now. We urge you to read it at once.



Download File - 16.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 104 - Richard Russo: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Mar 05, 2017


‘This is not an attempt on my part to portray myself as anything like a prophet. I simply was born somewhere…I got to bear witness to something that was tremendously important to me and my family.’

In this fourth and penultimate This Writing Life interview with Richard Russo, we begin with the fictional small-town of Bath that is found in both Nobody’s Fool and its sequel Everybody’s Fool. Russo discusses his own personal and artistic relationship with small-town life, taking in his childhood in Gloversville and how it has informed much of his work. From here we meander towards death, in fiction and life, with a cheerier side-track marked: how to begin a novel?—-more—-Other subjects include:

  • Russo [...]


Download File - 14.4 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 103 - Richard Russo: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Feb 26, 2017


‘I have always been a meanderer. I have always loved digression.’

So says Richard Russo in part three of This Writing Life’s conversation with the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. We approach the subject of comic meandering, initially as a way to explore through narrative ideas of luck, fate and free will. We digress through a peroration about self-made men, including President Donald Trump, and Brexit towards a deeper consideration of digression in Russo’s new novel, Everybody’s Fool, and his work as a whole. (A small warning: the final four minutes of this interview contain a spoiler alert about the end of Everybody’s Fool).

—-more—-



Download File - 21.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 102 - Richard Russo: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Feb 13, 2017


Part two of This Writing Life’s conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo begins with the idea of sequels: his new novel, Everybody’s Fool is a follow-up to Russo’s masterpiece, Nobody’s Fool. What are the risks of continuing a story that is not just admired but loved? Did Russo intend to write a sequel to Donald ‘Sully’ Sullivan’s adventures. What made him return in the first place? What was it like to revisit characters who were created over 20 years before?

—-more—-

From here we moved onto:

  • Russo’s relationship with his father: ‘It shouldn’t have been surprising that he had mo [...]


Download File - 19.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 101 - Richard Russo: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Feb 07, 2017


Part 1 of This Writing Life’s interview with the great American comic writer begins in media res. Russo is telling me about signing 9000 copies of his new novel, Everybody’s Fool, in a warehouse in Maryland. Russo has recovered enough to discuss the idea of signed copies and what to do with his own personal archive. —-more—-This idea of looking back leads us, neatly enough to, Everbody’s Fool and the challenge of sequels: the book continues the story of Russo’s masterpiece (to my mind) Nobody’s Fool from 1993. From here we talked:

  • what had Russo forgotten about his charaters, and what he hadn’t
  • what had changed since 1993?


Download File - 22.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 100 - Richard Russo reads from Everybody’s Fool

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Jan 31, 2017


For the 100th episode of This Writing Life, we celebrate with a very special instalment. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Russo reads from his wonderful, warm, funny and mordant new book Everybody’s Fool. A sequel to one of our favourite novels - 1993’s Nobody’s Fool - it returns the reader to the life, opinions and travails of Donald ‘Sully’ Sullivan in the small upstate New York town of North Bath.

In this scene from the distant past (the character Wirf Saks has died by Everybody’s Fool), Sully and Wirf settle down in the local bar to discuss the sex addiction of the irrepressible Carl Roebuck.

Enjoy.



Download File - 3.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 99 - Matt Haig: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Jan 29, 2017


The final part of This Writing Life’s interview with Matt Haig (about Christmas, mental health, the internet) begins with Magic Tweets (about Rupert Murdoch), Tweeting addiction and the inveterate competitiveness of writers. —-more—-From here we drifted towards:

  • internet joy and internet anxiety
  • experiencing and surviving anxiety
  • Bret Easton Ellis’ master Tweeter
  • Matt Haig’s Twitter etiquette
  • Holly Herndon, children and technological ambivalence


Download File - 14.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 98 - Matt Haig: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Jan 23, 2017


Part 3 of This Writing Life’s interview with Matt Haig changes tack from memories of Christmas past to consider Matt’s experience of depression that inspired his non-fiction memoir Reasons to Stay Alive. We begin by discussing general attitudes towards mental health, not least among politicians, before exploring the effect that Reasons to Stay Alive has had on Matt and his readers. —-more—-From there we talked about:

  • the internet and mental illness
  • Matt and Twitter
  • The Trump-Farage Effect: ‘We are not in an age of consensus anymo [...]


Download File - 14.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 97 - Matt Haig Trailer: On Reading vs Depression

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Jan 17, 2017


A very happy new year to all! We open 2017 by returning back to 2016. This Writing Life’s interview with Matt Haig was a game of two halves. For the first 45 minutes, we discussed Christmas, inspired by his excellent festive children’s story, A Boy Called Christmas. In the second half, we turned our attention to depression inspired by Matt’s excellent memoir about depression, anxiety and his own experience of mental illness, Reasons to Stay Alive. In this short taster, Matt recalls how reading helped him in the early days of recovery: what he read and what he found he could not read.

Part 3 and 4 will follow.



Download File - 3.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 96 - Matt Haig: Part 2 - It’s a Writing Life Christmas Special

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Dec 30, 2016


Part two of This Writing Life’s special Christmas interview with Matt Haig (for his Christmas fable A Boy Called Christmas) starts with the magic of stockings at the end of the bed, continues as a litmus test of Haig’s childhood happiness and heads towards the Haig family rituals. There are memories of teenage bad behavior before a return to Christmas as seen through the eyes of Haig’s own children. Haig talks films (above all, It’s a Wonderful Life) and books, before we explore the ‘Father’ of ‘Father Christmas’. There are discussions about festivity and feeling good, commerce at Christmas and what presents mean. Matt talks about balancing light and dark in A Boy Called Christmas for American audiences, before we end with how to survive the most wonderful time of the year.

A new year part 3 to fol [...]



Download File - 20.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 95 - Matt Haig: Part 1 - It’s a Wonderful Writing Life Christmas Special

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Dec 22, 2016


Matt Haig has many and diverse talents. Children’s author, Young Adult novelist, non-fiction bestseller, for his extraordinary book on depression, Reasons to Stay Alive. Over the past two years, he has added Christmas storyteller to his CV. First with A Boy Called Christmas (2015), and now a sequel: The Girl Who Saved Christmas. —-more—-

I talked to Matt about A Boy Called Christmas at the end of last year. In the first of three parts we discuss the origins of the novel, about optimistic fiction, recollections of Christmases past, what Santa Claus means to Matt, mid-life crises, superheroes, the dangers of literary typecasting, depression and writing, and magic. 

Most importantly Matt answers the BIG questi [...]



Download File - 16.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 94 - Rebecca Thornton’s Writing Life

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Dec 21, 2016


In a postscript to This Writing Life’s interview chat with Rebecca Thornton, about her debut novel The Exclusives, we talk about her writing life: loneliness, drawing the curtains during the day, chatting at the school dates, disconnecting from Facebook, procrastination, Massive Attack, writing with two young sons desperate to bthe laptop. Most importantly she answers the question: do you like writing?



Download File - 3.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 93 - Rebecca Thornton: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Dec 19, 2016


Part 3 of Rebecca Thornton’s interview with This Writing Life begins with a discussion of the Faber Academy writing course, which kickstarted the composition of her debut novel, The Exclusives. After some kind words about Esther Freud and Tim Lott (see part one for more about Tim), Rebecca talks about how the course works, including the terror of reading her romantic comedy in front of her class. —-more—-From here we moved to:

  • what kept her writing when she was most discouraged?
  • hearing the ‘voice’ of the novel
  • was writing cathartic?
  • Rebecca’s writing [...]


Download File - 18.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 92 - Rebecca Thornton: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Dec 15, 2016


Part two of This Writing Life’s conversation with Rebecca Thornton, about her debut novel The Exclusives, begins with a discussion of what perfection means to her characters. This is not something we know much about at This Writing Life. But anyway. Rebecca compares her feelings as a teenager to what perfection means to her today as a writer and mother. —-more—-From here we reverse towards the evolution of The Exclusives itself, from romantic comedy to dark-hearted thriller. We plunge on to:

  • writing as a form of therapy
  • withholding in narrative and content
  • fronts, repression and fear - at school and in fiction


Download File - 15.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 91 - Rebecca Thornton: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Dec 12, 2016


Rebecca Thornton’s The Exclusives is a debut novel: a thriller about friendship, paranoia, success and secrets set in an all-girls boarding school. This Writing Life didn’t need a second invitation to talk to Rebecca at her publishers in central London. —-more—-The setting was a glass meeting room, which later inspired a lesson in how Thornton’s mind works like her fiction. But after a little to and fro about swearing, we began by discussing the intensity of writing the novel itself. This had something to do with readers’ fascination with the possible autobiographical elements of the story: Thornton like her heroines went to an exclusive boarding school. From here we touched upon:

  • how it felt to release the novel out into the world


Download File - 19.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 90 - Rebecca Thornton Trailer: Thrillers, Catastrophes (and Motherhood)

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Dec 09, 2016


Our next guest on This Writing Life is Rebecca Thornton, whose debut novel The Exclusives was published in paperback earlier this year. We talked in a glass-fronted meeting-room at her London publisher, twenty7. The setting played its part when I asked about Rebecca’s decision to write a thriller packed with more menace, paranoia and betrayal than a game of murder in the dark at Trump Towers. 

Part 1 of 3 to follow.



Download File - 1.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 89 - Neil Richards and Matt Costello: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Dec 02, 2016


Neil Richards, Matt Costello and This Writing Life bid adieu to Hotel Xanadu in the third part of their podcast about cosy mysteries, the Cherringham crime series and working as a writing team. Our final instalment begins with a brief discussion of one of their many sidelines: writing videogames.—-more—-

From here we skipped to:

  • the multi-media project they couldn’t talk about it at the time
  • working on set (with actors)
  • fun, work, work as fun
  • technology, Skype and working face to face
  • < [...]


Download File - 17.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 88 - Neil Richards and Matt Costello: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Nov 28, 2016


Part two of This Writing Life’s chat with ace writing team Neil Richards and Matt Costello opens with a discussion of their first novel, Dead in the Water. Set in their bucolic, fictional Cotswolds village of Cherringham, it stars Jack, a retired New York City cop, and Sarah, a single-mother of two. Having teamed up as crime fighters in previous episodes, the dynamic duo eventually reunites to solve the mysterious death of a local teacher. —-more—-Matt explains how the story - involving drugs, the resurgence of raves and hot-dog vans - began. From here we moved to:

  • the joys and challenges of collaboration
  • how walks, museums and taking a break helps creativity


Download File - 15.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 87 - Neil Richards and Matt Costello: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Nov 23, 2016


This Writing Life has talked to a pair of writers before: David Mitchell and Michel Faber. But Neil Richards and Matt Costello are the first bona fide writing team. We meet, ostensibly, to discuss Dead in the Water, the first full-length novel in their already successful ‘Cherringham’ e-book crime series: previous episodes have consisted of short stories and novellas.

—-more—-But we quickly branch off to talk about their collaborative work for television, video games - and on the day we met - a top secret movie project. After a little podcast skulduggery, we begin by gently denigrating Gloucester, pondering Xanadu, displaying American and reserved English accents before starting at the beginning of their writing partnership. From here, we turn to:



Download File - 18.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 86 - Neil Richards and Matt Costello offer a little writing advice

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Nov 20, 2016


As a trailer for This Writing Life’s next interview - with crime fiction, video game and script-writing team Neil Richards and Matt Costello - our dynamic duo talk about the benefits of a late start, and offer a little advice for budding authors.



Download File - 1.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 85 - DBC Pierre: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Nov 15, 2016


The fourth and final part of DBC Pierre’s conversation with This Writing Life podcast begins with a discussion of fraud. Pierre writes about this at the start of his excellent writing guide, Release the Bats, and hit headlines following his Man Booker victory for seemingly defrauding a former friend out of his house. —-more—-After some Jeffrey Archer preamble, Pierre responds (’I think I can be concise’):

  • ‘There are in the liar and the bullshitter a great many qualities which are useful to fiction writing…It is incredibly useful to have been a bullshitter, but at a certain point you need to have made the distinction between what is and isn’t.’
  • ‘I wasn’t a happy fraud…You need [...]


Download File - 12.4 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 84 - DBC Pierre: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Nov 10, 2016


‘I don’t believe in inspiration.’ So says DBC Pierre at the start of his third This Writing Life podcast, brought to you after two small party political broadcasts. Following a little drug chatter, I ask how Pierre disorients his senses these days? —-more—- From here we meander to:

  •  how Pierre gets down to writing
  • how Pierre started writing, circa Vernon God Little
  • ‘I had a mindset that writing was for masters…and would be way above me’
  • Pierre’s handwriting challenge


Download File - 11.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 83 - This Writing Life Special: Richard Russo on 2016’s US Presidential Election

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Nov 02, 2016


Richard Russo has written 11 books, 8 screenplays, won a Pulitzer Prize (for Empire Falls), and most recently published the excellent Everybody’s Fool, the sequel to one of This Writing Life’s favourite novels, Nobody’s Fool.

When we met in London, we talked about everything from book signings to working with Paul Newman. Russo also discussed Clinton-Trump and the 2016 US Presidential Race. This Writing Life posts it now as a Special Podcast. The exchange begins with some general chatter on confusion and self-made men.

Our lengthy interview with Richard will be posted later in 2016.



Download File - 5.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 82 - This Writing Life Special: Gary Younge on 2016’s US Presidential Election

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Oct 31, 2016


With a week to go before polling day in 2016’s US Presidential Election, This Writing Life posts the first of two special ‘Clinton-Trump’ podcasts. The first is part of a longer and forthcoming interview with journalist Gary Younge about his extraordinary book, Another Day in the Death of America.

At the end of our conversation, I asked Younge for his take on Trump vs Clinton. Having spent well over a decade reporting on American politics, society and culture for the Guardian, he had plenty to say.

The rest of the interview will be posted later in November.



Download File - 4.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 81 - DBC Pierre: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Oct 28, 2016


In his second This Writing Life podcast, DBC Pierre talks learning to write by remembering what he has read. For dialogue, he looked to Len Deighton.
—-more—-
After a discussion of how written speech differs from spoken speech, he moved towards:

  • tell vs show: writing dialogue in Vernon God Little
  • is Pierre an instinctive writer?
  • ‘I am going to speak differently to you than I will to the Queen or a child or an enemy’
  • how flamenco on late night Spanish television helped Pierre find his voice in Release the Bats[...]


Download File - 16.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 80 - DBC Pierre: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Oct 24, 2016


Part one of DBC Pierre’s interview chat with This Writing Life podcast starts in media res. With a fan blowing our hair in attractive fashion (apologies for the whoosh behind the voices), we talked on a lovely summer’s day at a London hotel. Pierre was in town to launch his new book, Release the Bats, an exuberant, personal and inspiring writing guide, with hints of memoir. A call-to-pen with hints about his colourful life. —-more—-

As the tape tolls, we are talking about talking about Will Carruthers’ memoir, Playing the Bass with Three Hands: Pierre was to appear at an event with the former Spiritualized bassist that evening. After some meditation on the hotter aspects of being a bass player (some caution is advised), we meander via music, the composition of Pierre’s Man Booker winning Vernon God Little, and Pierre: the frustrated rock star. Fr [...]



Download File - 16.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 79 - DBC Pierre Trailer: Does Writing Help (or: do writers need to be weirdos)?

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Oct 20, 2016


The next guest on This Writing Life is DBC Pierre, Man Booker winning novelist, literary rogue and now writing guide supremo thanks to the excellent, ebullient, Birthday Party-quoting call-to-pens, Release the Bats. In this trailer, I ask whether writing ever helps him feel, think or ‘be’ better. Cue tall tales of a naked Thomas Wolfe fondling himself by a filing cabinet.



Download File - 2.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 78 - Rosa Rankin-Gee: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Oct 16, 2016


Part four of Rosa Rankin-Gee’s This Writing Life podcast interview opens with some bad pronunciation, some Borges, a little light reading and some Vocalzone throat lozenge chatter. Rosa really begins by examining the idea of imagining the worst things possible as a way of forestalling the worst reality possible. —-more—-

  • too much too young? Are children today under too much pressure?
  • what Rosa knew as a teenager?
  • reinvention, social media, the internet and youth
  • is there an innocence in The Last Kings of Sark that would be impossible in ten years?
  • what next for Rosa Rankin-Gee (that diff [...]


Download File - 15.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 77 - Rosa Rankin-Gee: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Oct 14, 2016


Part three of Rosa Rankin-Gee’s conversation with This Writing Life podcast about her debut The Last Kings of Sark begins with love triangles, friendship triangles, family triangles, third wheels and intense feelings. —-more—-
Other topics include:

  • being an only child
  • is The Last Kings of Sark a lesbian novel?
  • a short hiatus while we suck on myrrh - the sound quality may improve
  • second novels and Rankin-Gee’s style
  • is Rosa Jude?  [...]


Download File - 19.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 76 - Rosa Rankin-Gee: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Oct 13, 2016


Part two of Rosa Rankin-Gee’s chat with This Writing Life begins with a discussion of the coming-of-age-story (in her case, debut novel The Last Kings of Sark). —-more—-From there it was a sprightly leap across echoes of Dickens and metaphorical islands to:

  • stages in and of life
  • ‘I am fascinated with the idea of bluffing and posturing…’
  • when does a doctor - or a novelist - become a doctor - or a novelist?


Download File - 19.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 75 - Rosa Rankin-Gee: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Oct 10, 2016


Rosa Rankin-Gee was one of the first guests on This Writing Life when the podcast was still a glint in its host’s eye. We spoke ostensibly about her excellent debut novel The Last Kings of Sark but quickly widened the focus to the challenges of being a first-time and very young novelist, to sitting in large publishing boardrooms and sucking strange sweets. —-more—-

Part one begins with some idle digital recording chatter - how DO you pronounce WAV? - followed by some idle corporate boardroom chatter, before our host finally gets down to the business of introductions, Bill Callahan, brilliant thoughts, and writer’s notebooks. From there we hopped to:

  • obsession with youth
  • dreams, writing and the perfect thriller


Download File - 17.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 74 - Rosa Rankin-Gee reads from The Last Kings of Sark

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Oct 08, 2016


As a trailer for the next writer to face the onslaught that is This Writing Life podcast, Rosa Rankin-Gee reads from her debut novel, The Last Kings of Sark (Virago).

This was one of the first This Writing Life podcasts recorded, and remains a favourite of your host.

Part one to follow. You can learn more about Rosa at her website: here.



Download File - 1.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 73 - Bill Clegg: Part 5

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Oct 05, 2016


Bill Clegg ends his marathon appearance on This Writing Life podcast by talking about his (then) recent Man Booker longlisting for his first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family? Alternating between his twin literary hats - writer and agent - he talks the pros of literary prizes and literary culture in general. —-more—- After the shock of learning that I reviewed Did You Ever Have a Family?, Clegg moved onto a broader discussion of attractive misery in contemporary American fiction:

  • who’s sadder: Clegg or Hanya Yanagihara (or neither)?
  • the problem with novels with the word ‘Girl’ in the title
  • the Ashley Madison debacle
  • Adr [...]


Download File - 17.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 72 - Bill Clegg: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Oct 02, 2016


Part four of Bill Clegg’s This Writing Life podcast, begins with a discussion about paying attention to the workings of our own consciousness. After a critique of Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under (Clegg’s working out box set of choice) we moved to: —-more—-

  • death as existential wake-up call
  • family, blame and redemption: Clegg’s relationship with his father
  • suffering, realism and writing: Clegg on Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life
  • addiction, control and trauma (and writing)
  • does telling it slant help Clegg resolve his own problems?


Download File - 16.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 71 - Bill Clegg: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Sep 30, 2016


Part 3 of Bill Clegg’s chat with This Writing Life podcast about his debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family?, begins with the personal: ‘There are some people born restless. I certainly was.’ —-more—- From here we compare childhood ambitions with Clegg’s actual route to becoming a successful literary agent in New York City. The conversation continues:

  • chocolate lab puppies, work and the strange, epic story of how he became an agent
  • what’s the New Yorker? Clegg’s introduction to New York City life
  • zombie vampires: do agents have to be cynical?


Download File - 20.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 70 - Bill Clegg: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Sep 27, 2016


In part two of Bill Clegg’s chat with This Writing Life’s podcast, we begin with the trauma (a house fire on the night before a wedding) that propels his debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family? —-more—-From there (soundtracked by some funky flutes) we move to:

  • how the novel began and progressed for Clegg
  • first vs third person narration
  • Wilkie Collins, collective truths and the range of voices
  • what we think about each other, for right and mainly wrong
  • empathy, judgement and global problems
  • why small-towns are a metaph [...]


Download File - 12.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 69 - Bill Clegg: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Sep 24, 2016


This Writing Life podcast talked to Bill Clegg shortly after the publication of his first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family? Just longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it was one of the year’s most intriguing debuts. —-more—-It begins with a tragedy: a house-fire that kills a family on the eve of a wedding in a small-town in rural America. What holds the interest is not the mystery of what happened, but the vapour trails of grief that float between the survivors: above all June, the mother of the bride, and Lydia, the mother of the groom.

During a lengthy conversation, we discussed his childhood, the death of his father, his successful career as a literary agent, the drug addiction that almost lost him everything, not to mention his more recent adventures as a writer.

In part one of Episode 68, backed by some nice hi hat cymbal, we talked about:



Download File - 17.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 68 - Bill Clegg Trailer: Did You Ever Have a Literary Hero?

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Sep 21, 2016


In this prologue to our next guest on This Writing Life podcast, Bill Clegg answers my pilfered Paris Review question: is there one writer that inspired you to write? Find out by clicking play. In the next episode, we start our lengthy conversation about Bill’s Man Booker longlisted debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family?



Download File - 3.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 67 - Laura Lippman: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Sep 15, 2016


In the final part of Laura Lippman’s This Writing Life podcast, we begin by discussing trigger warnings: the fine line between offensiveness and individual sensitivities. —-more—-From there we move to:

  • how violence is portrayed on the news
  • secrets and Lippman’s family
  • ‘I was brought up by Southern parents. Don’t ask anybody their age. Never talk about money. I think part of the reason I became a journalist it gave me license was to ask those questions…’
  • Lippman and her heroines: Tess Monaghan and Luisa Brant
  • Lippman and her father


Download File - 22.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 66 - Laura Lippman: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Sep 09, 2016


Part two of Laura Lippman’s chat with Writing Life Podcast about her new novel Wilde Lake begins with the real-life district of Columbia, where Lippman grew up. —-more—- Other Wilde Lake High School alumni include Edward Norton and Michael Chabon. After some insight into the impact of babysitting on Norton’s early acting talent, we talked about:

  • the utopian impulses behind (and deceitful subtext beneath) the creation of Columbia
  • ‘We were so self-congratulatory about not seeing race’
  • the ‘You know you grew up in Columbia when…’ Facebook page


Download File - 17.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 65 - Laura Lippman: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Sep 04, 2016


Laura Lippman is the author of 22 crime novels. In addition to her series featuring private investigator Tess Monaghan, she has written nine standalones. Lippman’s new book Wilde Lake falls into the latter category. As often is the case with her one-offs, the context is deeply personal. Lippman herself grew up near the actual Wilde Lake in the Maryland district of Columbia. —-more—-
In this first of three episodes, we begin by talking transatlantic travel, skip elegantly to Wilde Lake itself. From there it is but a few sentences to discussing the following:

  • how books change when the author begins to discuss them
  • what Wilde Lake is about
  • the echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird
  • [...]


Download File - 17.4 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 64 - Laura Lippman reads from Wilde Lake

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Aug 30, 2016


As a trailer for the next guest on This Writing Life Podcast, the wonderful American crime writer Laura Lippman reads from her new novel, Wilde Lake.

Parental advisory notice: there is a gratuitous mention of a de-trousered Bill Clinton.

Part one of three to follow.



Download File - 1.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 63 - Vendela Vida on why Fargo beats Parenthood

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Aug 26, 2016


In this second Writing Life Podcast Extra, Vendela Vida offers some TV recommendations and asks the questions for a change. Your host blethers on…



Download File - 1.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 62 - Vendela Vida on the real and fictional Patti Smith(s)

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Aug 23, 2016


In this first of two Writing Life Podcast extras, Vendela Vida recalls meeting the real rock star Patti Smith - who appears as herself in The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. Vida also discusses how Dave Egger’s A Hologram for a King changed her last novel.



Download File - 2.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 61 - Vendela Vida: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Aug 20, 2016


The final part of ThisWriting Life’s cheerful conversation with Vendela Vida begins with wondering whether writing is a form of narcissism and ends with a discussion of parenthood.—-more—-In between we explored:

  • ‘There are people doing good in the world…and I am just sitting here thinking my thoughts. That’s why you need to keep a sense of humour about what you are doing.’


Download File - 11.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 60 - Vendela Vida Readng from The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Aug 18, 2016


Vendela Vida reads a second passage from her excellent new novel, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. It begins after a little banter and a glass of water.



Download File - 6.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 59 - Vendela Vida: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Aug 16, 2016


In part three of This Writing Life’s chat with American writer Vendela Vida about her latest novel The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, we begin by asking: ‘Why Casablanca?’
—-more—-After some exploration of labyrinths (and stupid questions), we move onto:

  • art, stories and constant change
  • ‘A story is something that happens, after which nothing is ever the same’
  • characters (and Vida) on the verge of…adulthood?
  • parenthood, acting, and playing at selfhood
  • Reeves, Aretha, Sabine: the various selves of Vida’s heroine


Download File - 15.4 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 58 - Vendela Vida on Joan Didion, and Interviews

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Aug 14, 2016


In this mini-podcast, Vendela Vida explains why Joan Didion is a formative literary hero, and why long-form interviews are great. Phew.

Part three to follow.



Download File - 2.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 57 - Vendela Vida: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Aug 12, 2016


Part 2 of Vendela Vida’s Writing Life podcast begins with a discussion of performance: parenthood as performance, self as performance, acting as performance. —-more—-From here we sashay to:

  • the problems of meditation
  • when are we truest to ourselves?
  • acting and announcing winners at the Academy Awards
  • how parents should praise their children’s art works
  • writing and an essential self?
  • writing by hand and how Vida writes her fiction
  • fiction, rhythm and ‘top spin [...]


Download File - 18.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 56 - Vendela Vida: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Aug 07, 2016


Vendela Vida is a novelist, editor (of The Believer magazine), screenwriter, literacy advocate (via 826 Valencia). She is also a wife, of the similarly busy writer Dave Eggers, and mother. —-more—-Given all these roles, it seems miraculous that she has written one book much less six, including the novels And Now You Can Go, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers.

We met to discuss her newest book, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. Set in Casablanca, we follow a young woman on the run from herself. This figurative sense of escape is made real when her backpack is stolen from a hotel lobby, including all the documents that establish her identity. Her subsequent adventures include absurd exchanges with the local place, even more absurd [...]



Download File - 20.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 55 - Vendela Vida: Reading from The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Aug 05, 2016


As a trailer for the next subject on This Writing Life, Vendela Vida reads from her latest novel, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty - just released in paperback via Atlantic Books in the United Kingdom.



Download File - 4.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 54 - David Gates: Part 5

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Aug 05, 2016


In the final part of David Gates’ episode of Writing Life, we begin by exploring the question of religion that we failed to address in Part 4. ‘I am not a religious person. I am to some degreee obsessed with it.’
—-more—- From there we move to:

  • American gospel songs and the transcendent
  • Gates’ links to The Mayflower (’he was the first man hanged in the New World’)
  • ‘It’s an interest I have cultivated to make myself interesting’
  • Gates on Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton (from 2015)
  • David Gates’ writing life - pen or computer?
    [...]


Download File - 13.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 53 - David Gates: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Aug 02, 2016


In the fourth and penultimate part of our podcast with David Gates, we set out by talking about money - how to earn it, keep writing, earn money from writing.
—-more—-Gates recalls his 29 years at Newsweek before shifting to:

  • how long he can write at any one stretch
  • being a relatively late-starter
  • ‘There is something quaint and old-fashioned about being a writer’
  • Desolation Row - music vs literature
  • literary critical ambitions: dissertations and elaborate theories
  • Ann Beattie - marriage and inspiration
  • [...]


Download File - 18.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 52 - David Gates: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Jul 26, 2016


Part 3 of David Gates’ conversation with This Writing Life starts with a discussion of ’story’ - how Gates writes them and how people tell them (and how Gates writes about people telling them).
—-more—-

  •  is Gates as self-destructive as his characters?
  • ‘I am now enacting a wild moment’
  • Virginia Woolf’s sly sense of humour
  • Gates other literary obsessions: Barthelme, Wodehouse, Rex Stout (yes, Rex Stout)
  • first person, third person - Gates and narrative
  • ‘Banishment’: writing from a woman’s [...]


Download File - 16.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 51 - David Gates: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Jul 22, 2016


In the (summer delayed) second part of our chat with David Gates, we go on (we can’t go) with the influence of Samuel Beckett and Jane Austen.
—-more—-

  • ‘What I learned from Austen is that every character in a work thinks he or she is the protagonist’
  • fiction and the drama of conflicting visions
  • Gates, comedy and social combat in Emma
  • closed circuit minds and Gates’ characters
  • ‘I’m 69. I have calmed down, somewhat. It is not the buzzing anxiety of being in my 20s’
  • ‘There is a way in which you al [...]


Download File - 17.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 50 - David Gates: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Apr 18, 2016


David Gates is a novelist, musician, journalist and teacher. His debut, Jernigan (1991), was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and was shortlisted for the National Book Award. —-more—-Another novel, Preston Falls, followed, along with two story collections. We met in London to discuss the second of these, A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me, and also return to Jernigan, both of which have been published in the United Kingdom by Serpent’s Tail. We met at their London offices, beneath a slightly noisy fan, which I have tried to limit in the recording.

We began by talking about Rhinebeck, the small town in Upstate New York that is the setting for ‘Banishment’, which opens the new book. 
From there, we moved to:


Download File - 17.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 49 - Writing Life Trailer: David Gates on Donald Trump

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Apr 14, 2016


As a taster for our next guest, the fine American novelist David Gates, who talks about his classic debut, Jernigan, his new story collection, A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me, and throws in a little analysis of the architectural politics of Donald Trump for free.
—-more—-

We battled a loud fan in Serpents Tail’s offices, which needed a little post-production doctoring. I hope it doesn’t spoil your listening pleasure. 


Download File - 2.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 48 - Harry Parker: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Apr 08, 2016


Harry Parker begins the third and final part of his conversation with This Writing Life by considering the emotional effects of his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. —-more—- From there we moved onto: 

  • writing about the war from the perspective of the occupied and the insurgency
  • ‘All I wanted to do was tell a good story’


Download File - 14.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 47 - Harry Parker: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Apr 04, 2016


The second part of our chat with Harry Parker about his debut novel Anatomy of a Soldier begins with a cheerful discussion of decay and destruction of both objects or people. —-more—-Parker prefers the word entropy while discussing his own recovery after the bomb blast that destroyed his legs. From there we moved onto: 

  • can fiction resolve trauma?
  • questions of identity: what Parker sees in the mirror
  • ‘fetish of the possible’: prosthetic limbs as objects of hope
  • value and cost: how much is a human life worth?
  • anger and mourning: [...]


Download File - 17.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 46 - Harry Parker: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Mar 29, 2016


Harry Parker is a painter and, thanks to his debut Anatomy of a Soldier, a novelist. Before he was either of those, he served in the British Army, first in Iraq and later Afghanistan. —-more—-His experiences form the basis for his first book - above all the day he stepped on a landmine planted near his camp in Helmand Province. Parker lost both his legs and endured years of intensive physiotherapy. These absorbing and moving scenes tell only part of Tom Barnes’ fictional story. Anatomy of a Soldier is a courageous novel is all sorts of ways. It is narrated from the perspective of over 40 objects, ranging from shoes to bombs, infections to a handbag. It also attempts to present the occupation from the point of view of the occupiers - insurgents and moderates alike.

When we met at Faber & Faber’s London offices, we began by discussing the challenges of writing a first book. ‘I de [...]



Download File - 17.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 45 - Harry Parker: Reading from Anatomy of a Soldier

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Mar 24, 2016


As a trailer for our next This Writing Life subject, soldier-novelist Harry Parker reads from his debut, Anatomy of a Soldier

For further information, visit Faber & Faber: here.


Download File - 3.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 44 - Writing Life Special: Michel Faber & David Mitchell: Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Mar 22, 2016


In the fourth and final episode of our conversation with David Mitchell and Michel Faber, we kick off by talking author events and public readings with reference to The Bone Clocks and Mitchell’s performative self. —-more—-From there we move to bad readers: 

  • ‘I have been to see very eminent, Booker Prize winning people at the Edinburgh Festival who are just ticking off another engagement in their tour, and you could tell they would rather be anywhere but there. I vowed I would never allow myself to get into that state of jadedness and alienation from the people who are actually buying my books’ Faber
  • Paul McCartney, Yesterday and intimacy 
  • ‘I hate h [...]


Download File - 16.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 43 - Writing Life Special: Michel Faber & David Mitchell: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Mar 17, 2016


In the third, and penultimate, part of the David Mitchell and Michel Faber double-header, we start off by talking immortality and the status of fiction in the 21st century.—-more—- ’I am something of an optimist,’ Mitchell says before quoting the Rizzle Kicks’ ‘Skip to the Good Bit’. ‘I like to think that starvation sharpens the appetite’, he continues, arguing that the demands of the novel might seem more attractive the faster culture moves. ‘The novel’s imminent death, that bell has been rung so many times…? [...]



Download File - 26.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 42 - Writing Life Special: Michel Faber & David Mitchell: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Mar 12, 2016


In part two of my interview with Michel Faber and David Mitchell, we begin by talking big books and the attempt to say everything in fiction. —-more—- As Mitchell puts it: ‘I feel clobbered by the impossibility of translating into words as much of this enormous world we live in – the world itself and the human world with its subtly complex and sprawling Periodic Table of human emotions.’

After trading Freddie Mercury and Ringo Starr quotes, we returned to the idea that Faber had written his last novel and from there to: 



Download File - 23.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 41 - Writing Life Special: Michel Faber & David Mitchell: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Feb 25, 2016


I interviewed the novelists David Mitchell and Michel Faber for the Sunday Independent. Mitchell had not long since published The Bone Clocks, and Faber The Book of Strange New Things—-more—-They were old friends, something that was apparent from the moment I met them both at Durrants Hotel in central London. Before the interview proper, Faber asked to speak with Mitchell privately. They had not seen each other since Faber’s partner Eva died only a few months before. 


Faber would talk about his grief and the effect it was already having on his writing - he was writing poetry rather than prose, and indeed [...]


Download File - 18.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 40 - Writing Life Special: Michel Faber & David Mitchell: Trailer

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Feb 22, 2016


As a trailer for thisWriting Life Extra Special, Michel Faber and David Mitchell discuss their firstmeetings, before Faber pulls a mix-tape out of the bag.  

I will post the rest of the interview -without doubt one of the most memorable ones I have ever been involved with -over the coming couple of weeks. 



Download File - 2.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 39 - Tom Drury Live at Bookseller Crow: Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Feb 08, 2016


The final part of my conversation with Tom Drury at one of London’s finest independent bookstores, Bookseller Crow. We start with the Q&A is included, alongside many and erroneous references to Tolstoy. 

Bookseller Crow’s website is: here


Download File - 17.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 38 - Tom Drury Live at Bookseller Crow: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Feb 02, 2016


Part two of my live conversation with Tom Drury at Bookseller Crow in Crystal Palace. 



Download File - 22.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 37 - Tom Drury Live at Bookseller Crow: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Jan 20, 2016


A special episode in which I talk to Tom Drury, my favourite author of 2015, and possibly 2016 too, live in front of a lovely audience at the lovely Bookseller Crow in Crystal Palace, one of the finest bookstores I know. —-more—-
The first of three instalments, including a Q&A, we talk about: Drury’s extraordinary 2015 in which almost all his books have been released in the UK; about his debut The End of Vandalism; the latest novel to be re-published, The Driftless Area; about movies, inspiration, mis-reading and even Mariella Frostrup.

Part 2 to follow.

The Bookseller Crow website is: here.



Download File - 20.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 36 - Kate Hamer: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Jan 06, 2016


Part two of our interview with Kate Hamer begins with a discussion of Carmel, the ‘Girl’ in The Girl in the Red Coat. —-more—-Having avoided the subject of her special power - spoilers alert etc - we move onto:

  • love and its distortions
  • ‘I am not really interested in monsters’: Hamer on her villains
  • religion in the novel
  • Hamer and the Gothic
  • Beth, Carmel and the use of tenses
  • parents making maps of their children’s lives
  • time in th [...]


Download File - 28.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 35 - Kate Hamer: Reading from The Girl in the Red Coat

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Dec 26, 2015


As a trailer for the second part of our interview with Kate Hamer, she reads a second excerpt from her Costa-nominated debut The Girl in the Red Coat.



Download File - 5.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 34 - Kate Hamer - Girl in a Red Coat: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Dec 21, 2015


If Kate Hamer’s debut novel The Girl in the Red Coat sounds familiar, in part because it joins a horde of books with the word ‘Girl’ in the title,—-more—- then readers might be pleasantly surprised by the strange story that awaits. By turns Gothic and emotional, funny and heard-breaking, supernatural and realistic, it tells the story of a kidnapped girl and a grieving mother that takes a number of strange turns.

When I met Kate at her London publisher, Faber and Faber, we began by talking about the (for her) strange, new prospect of discussing her first work of fiction. We then moved onto:

  • her creative writing course at Aberystwyth
  • answering personal questions
  • reading work-in-progress aloud [...]


Download File - 20.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 33 - Kate Hamer reads Chapter 1 of The Girl in the Red Coat

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Dec 19, 2015


As a trailer for my two part interview with Kate Hamer, author of the Costa-nominated debut The Girl in the Red Coat, she reads from the opening chapter.



Download File - 3.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 32 - Sloane Crosley: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Dec 07, 2015


The second part of my conversation with Sloane Crosley about her debut novel The Clasp began with us discussing how books give bookish young people a map for their lives. —-more—- Crosley read a passage from the novel - in which poor Victor prepares for being beaten up by meditating on just this sort of idea. We then moved onto:

  • age, maturity and Don DeLillo’s White Noise
  • Crosley’s love of The Dubliners and the story, ‘Araby’
  • how a desire to be funny and, separately, The Secret Garden inspired Crosley to write
  • comedy: light and dark, joyful and sad


Download File - 15.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 31 - Sloane Crosley: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Dec 04, 2015


Sloane Crosley is a journalist, essayist and now, thanks to her bright and funny debut The Clasp, a novelist. —-more—-Sloane took a break from her home city New York to visit London and talk about the challenge of shifting gears from non-fiction to fiction. We began however with her own career as an interviewer, when she recalled a nightmare encounter with The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.

From there, we moved to:

  • the difference between Crosley the essays and Crosley the novelist
  • her first (and diabolical) unpublished novel: ‘Nothing really happens’
  • the importance [...]


Download File - 23.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 30 - Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life - Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Sep 15, 2015


In the final part of my discussion with Hanya Yanagihara on her (now) Man Booker shortlisted novel A Little Life, we continue our discussion of male repression. —-more—-From there we take in:

  • the ‘wolflike’ character of Caleb
  • money as salvation
  • why JB and Malcolm recede in the novel
  • friendship and imagination 
  • Yangihara’s own childhood in Hawaii
  • ‘My parents thought I might be a cartoonist’
  • rebellion, careers and lax parents
  • [...]


Download File - 27.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 29 - Hanya Yanagihara on Kids, Convention and the Queer Tradition

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Sep 08, 2015


As short taster for the final part of our conversation with Hanya Yanagihara about A Little Life, here is a short consideration of children, convention and the novel as queer classic.

Part three to follow.



Download File - 3.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 28 - Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life - Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Aug 28, 2015


In the second part of our lunch-time chat with Hanya Yanagihara for the amazing A Little Life, we began by discussing how her second book was a reaction to her debut, the also amazing The People in the Trees.—-more—-

  • ‘I just wanted to do something that felt a little dangerous, in a sense. I wanted to do something that felt inescapable.’
  • ‘I wanted to try to create that quality of not being able to deny Jude’s life, because so much of Jude’s life is people denying him in one way or the other.’


Download File - 27.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 27 - Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life - Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Aug 23, 2015


For the second Writing Life Podcast conversation with Hanya Yanagihara, we moved from tea at a posh London hotel to lunch at a posh(ish) London restaurant. This was not the only difference. Yanagihara had herself moved: jobs, from Conde Nast to the New York Times; and novels from her debut The People in the Trees to A Little Life, which has recently been long-listed for the Man Booker prize.
—-more—-
The conversation took place about a month before publication in the UK, but shortly after it was released in America to ecstatic reviews. I had recently been in New York and seen the novel everywhere. Well, mainly in bookstores, but on prominent display.



Download File - 18.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 26 - Anna Smaill: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Aug 19, 2015


In part two of This Writing Life’s podcast with Anna Smaill, we negotiate photographers, noises in RIBA and publicists to discuss her soon-to-be Man Booker longlisted debut novel, The Chimes.
—-more—-
We began by talking about the taunting idea of the ‘genius’ and the tragedy of falling short. After mocking This Writing Life’s mobile phone, Smaill then moved on to:

  • the glories and downsides of genius
  • ‘I should probably say, I never actually thought I was a genius’
  • did The Chimes address Smaill’s own musical background?
  • from Young Adult to something else: the writing process of The Chimes[...]


Download File - 27.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 25 - Anna Smaill Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Aug 15, 2015


Anna Smaill is a New Zealand poet, academic and now Man Booker longlisted novelist. —-more—-Her striking debut The Chimes has something of all parts of her career so far. There is music (Smaill trained as a violinist), lyricism (in evoking a world in which words have been replaced by melody), intelligence (in exploring grand narratives about connection, language, fundamentalism, technology, religion) and narrative drive: The Chimes is a love story and a dystopian mystery.

We met just before publication at RIBA. After some chatter about jet lag, we moved on to:

  • memories of London, where Smaill began The Chimes, before returning home to New Zealand
  • writing about London as an imaginative place
  • the [...]


Download File - 30.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 24 - Hanya Yanagihara: The People in Trees - Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Tue, Aug 11, 2015


In the final part of my Yanagihara trilogy from 2014, we continue to discuss her astonishing, unnerving debut The People in the Trees. —-more—-Yanagihara begins by answering my question about whether her fiction sets out to astonish or unnerve. She continues by addressing at least some of the following:

  • asking questions in art that she can’t answer in life
  • her (former) day job at Conde Nast Traveler
  • about the advantages of a work-writing balance
  • about the research needed to write The People in the Trees
  • science and animal research


Download File - 13.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 23 - Hanya Yanagihara: The People in Trees - Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Aug 06, 2015


In the second part of my nicely noisy conversation with Hanya Yanagihara about her debut novel The People in the Trees, we began by discussing —-more—-the fictional tribe of Ivu’ivu who may have discovered the secret to extending the natural  human life span. 

This leads to the followin [...]


Download File - 18.7 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 22- Hanya Yanagihara: The People in Trees - Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Aug 05, 2015


Hawaiian-born Hanya Yanagihara has been feted across the world, and longlisted for 2015’s Man Booker Prize, for her amazing A Little Life. A Writing Life podcast is on the way.—-more—-

Last year Writing Life met Hanya for equally unsettling and unputdownable debut, The People in the Trees, the story of an anthropologist who travels to a tiny Micronesian island in the search for extended life and ends up accused of child abuse. 
In the first part of this three part interview, we met at a noisy Berners Street hotel. Hanya began by wondering whether she feels like a novelist. Then:
[...]

Download File - 28.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 21 - Hanya Yanagihara 2014 on Book Groups

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Aug 05, 2015


A short taster for my first interview with Hanya Yanagihara from 2014 about her extraordinary debut novel, The People in Trees

A Writing Life podcast with Hanya about her differently extraordinary Man Booker longlisted A Little Life will be out last this month. 
For now, enjoy Yanagihara on encountering an Upper East Side book group. 


Download File - 1.2 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 20 - Tom Drury Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Aug 05, 2015


In the third part of my conversation with Tom Drury, we rewind to his days studying creative writing with Robert Coover, ‘a great teacher’.
—-more—- After a discussion about realism and seriousness, Drury moves on to: 

  • his early short stories
  • his attempt to write different novels
  • ‘The kind of sentences you want to make, it is not a static thing’
  • David Hockney and Drury’s interest in art 
  • the visual nature of Drury’s prose
  • time and breaking the fourth [...]


Download File - 15.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 19 - Tom Drury on the Internet

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Aug 01, 2015


A small taster for part three of my chat with Tom Drury. 


We talk MP3s, social networking, email, and The New Luddites from the third Grouse County novel, Pacific. 


Download File - 1.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 18 - Tom Drury Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Sat, Aug 01, 2015


In the second part of my interview with Tom Drury, one of America’s finest living novelists, we begin by discussing the railroad and its part in linking places like Grouse County to the outside world. 
—-more—-We then moved on to: 

  • his parents
  • radio, television and Drury’s writing
  • the characters Dan and Louise Norman in The End of Vandalism
  • endings and alternate endings
  • ‘In the old days, we tried in government to do good things for people. Why did we do that?’


Download File - 24.3 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 17 - Tom Drury on Light

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Jul 27, 2015


In this stopgap between podcasts, Tom Drury discusses the use of light in his debut novel, The End of Vandalism


‘I love that there would be some incidental lighting in the dark, like the dryer, you know?’ 

Hear Antonya Nelson read Tom Drury’s ‘Accident at the Sugar Beet’, which became an episode in The End of Vandalism, for the New Yorker here.
[...]


Download File - 1.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 16 - Tom Drury Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Jul 17, 2015


Tom Drury is the author of six astounding novels. Three - his masterpiece The End of VandalismHunts in Dreams and Pacific - are set in the same fictional Grouse County area of Iowa - Drury’s home-state. 
—-more—-

We met the day after The End of Vandalism was relaunched in the UK, in an Earls Court flat next door to Hattie Jacques’ former residence. We began by discussing the forthcoming film of his 2006 book The Driftless Area, which Drury adapted himself. Having talked about the ways writing for the screen differed from writing for the page, we moved onto: 
  • ideas of what is essential and inessential in [...]


Download File - 30.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 15 - Tom Drury on Music and Memory

Author: James Kidd
Wed, Jul 15, 2015


In the next episode of This Writing Life, James Kidd talks to the extraordinary American novelist Tom Drury, author of The End of Vandalism, Hunts in Dreams, Pacific and The Driftless Area, among others. 
—-more—-

In this trailer for our two-part conversation, mainly about the British re-release of The End of Vandalism Drury discusses his love of music. Having stumbled over Druryish, Druryean - Druryesque, we move from Led Zeppelin to Roxy Music. Brian Eno’s hair makes a feeling appearance (what else is new) as Drury considers how music transports the imagination. 
To read my own review of


Download File - 3.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 14 - Amit Chaudhuri Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Jul 13, 2015


The second part of my chat with Amit Chaudhuri began with a discussion of his literary inheritance - that combined Philip Larkin with Tagore. 
—-more—-

From there we headed towards Bengali culture and onwards to: 
  • Ideas of ‘ownership’ of culture - Bengali and English


Download File - 28.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 13 - Amit Chaudhuri Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Jul 03, 2015


Amit Chaudhuri is a novelist, academic and musician whose books include A New World, The Immortals and most recently Odysseus Abroad
—-more—-< [...]



Download File - 33.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 12 - Brian Turner Part 4

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Jul 03, 2015


In the final part of my epic conversation with the American soldier-poet Brian Turner, our attention turned to the question: does writing help confront trauma and the violence he has witnessed and indeed participated in. 
—-more—-Other subjects include: 

  • ‘Sergeant Turner’ vs Brian Turner: Poet
  • the part of Turner and his colleagues that died in Iraq
  • the rise of ISIS in Iraq
  • how do you live with the experiences he has had
  • how do I be happy
  • love and a reading about his wife from [...]


Download File - 22.8 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 11 - Brian Turner reads Ferris Wheel

Author: James Kidd
Sat, May 30, 2015


Brian Turner reads his poem Ferris Wheel, from the collection Here, Bullet. 



Download File - 1.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 10 - Brian Turner Part 3

Author: James Kidd
Sat, May 30, 2015


In part three of my epic conversation with Brian Turner, we begin by discussing how the Soldier Poet bears witness, 
—-more—-and how ideas of complicity distinguish this from other kinds of war writing. 


We then moved on to:
  • what inspired Turner to write about war
  • the stories being told by Iraqis about the war
  • the war as perceived by the Generals and soldiers on the groun [...]


Download File - 22.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 09 - Brian Turner reads from My Life as a Foreign Country

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Apr 16, 2015


Brian Turner reads and discusses a passage from his memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country. 


Tim Adams’ review in the Observer is: here.

Brian Turner’s website is: here


Download File - 3.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 08 - Brian Turner Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Apr 16, 2015


In the second part of my lengthy conversation with the poet Brian Turner we begin by discussing language - in particular pejorative terms like ‘Haji’. Turner moves from this, through coining ‘otherise’, to recall his own experiences in Iraq. 
—-more—-


Our major themes include: 
  • what it was like to follow the ‘Invasion Troops’
  • the effect of Abu Ghraib on the Iraqi people
  • Turner’s own [...]


Download File - 22.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 07 - Brian Turner Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Apr 02, 2015


Brian Turner has become world famous for his war poetry, which was largely inspired by a year-long tour of Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry DivisionThe ostensible reason for our meeting, however, was first sustained work of prose, a memoir entitled My Life as a Foreign Country, which —-mor [...]



Download File - 25.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 06 - Brian Turner reads Here, Bullet

Author: James Kidd
Mon, Mar 02, 2015


Brian Turner, the next guest on This Writing Life, reads the title poem from his first collection, Here Bullet. As a soldier in the US army, Turner served in Bosnia and Iraq, before turning to writing. He is the author of three books: in addition to Here, Bullet, he has published one other volume of verse, Phantom Noise, and the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country.


Brian’s website is: http://www.brianturner.org/poetry/



Download File - 0.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 05 - Tomas Gonzalez: Part 2

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Feb 19, 2015


In part two of my conversation with Tomas Gonzalez in an echoey London hotel, we continued to discuss his dark, autobiographical debut novel In the Beginning was the Sea—-more—-

We began with the influence of Carson McCullers, William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marques, then moved onto:


Download File - 23.5 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 04 - Tomas Gonzalez: Part 1

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Jan 15, 2015


The Colombian novelist Tomas Gonzalez has been writing for three decades, but has only been read this year by an English-speaking audience after his debut, In the Beginning Was the Sea, was published by the wonderful Pushkin Press. 
—-more—-

Terse but lyrical, the novel was inspired by the murder of his brother Juan, who had swapped fast-living in Bogota for a dream of rural self-sufficiency on the Colombian coast. Juan, or J in the novel, was killed by a man he hired to manage the farm he shared with his girlfriend, Elena. The novel was Gonzalez’s attempt to understand what happened and ponder its meaning against a larger universe at once beautiful, terrifying and indif [...]


Download File - 25.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 03 - Karen Joy Fowler: Part Two

Author: James Kidd
Thu, Dec 18, 2014


In the second half of my conversation with Karen Joy Fowler, we shift seamlessly (sort of) from Star Wars to ponder: 


—-more—-

  • self, other, difference and childhood,
  • whether an interesting childhood a good thing,


Download File - 27.9 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 02 - Karen Joy Fowler Reads from We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Author: James Kidd
Sun, Dec 07, 2014


Karen Joy Fowler reads from We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.



Download File - 1.0 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



Episode 01 - Karen Joy Fowler: Part One

Author: James Kidd
Fri, Nov 28, 2014


Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is one of 2014’s most memorable and lauded novels. Having received rave reviews across the world, it won the Pen/Faulkner in the United States and then became one of the first works by an American to be shortlisted for the Man Booker. 
—-more—-
Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke, an introverted college student drifting through life. Slowly, she reveals that her isolation springs from her unconventional upbringing. Her father is an animal behaviourist, her mother is traumatised, her brother has gone Awol and her sister, Fern, has vanished entirely. The implication that Fern’s disappearance lies at the heart of her dysfunction is explained in a beautifully judged twist, not so much in the tail as the head. 

[...]

Download File - 24.1 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device)
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)



More Details

  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: T089828