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The Writing Life

We’re a podcast for anyone who writes. Every week 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.

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BookTube & Your Online Platform - with Leena Norms

Prominent BookTuber Leena Norms joins us to talk about developing and maintaining an online profile, handling abuse and her parallel careers on YouTube and in the publishing industry. Also, she politely explains to Simon what BookTube actually means.Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna, who are joined by special guest - and BookTube afficionado - Vicki Maitland.Find out more about what we do: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.ukLeena's website: https://www.leenanorms.com/Leena on Twitter: https://twitter.com/leenanorms


6 Mar 2020

Rank #1

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#33 How to write video games with 80 Days' Jon Ingold

Jon Ingold, co-founder of Inkle Studios, joins us on the podcast today. The studio has produced award-winning adventures for mobile and PC, including the Sorcery series and 80 Days, and they're only weeks away from releasing their latest project, Heaven's Vault. Jon somehow found the time to talk to us about his career, the founding of Inkle and the creation of their games, as well as diving into the nuts and bolts of what it means to write interactive, branching fiction and dialogue. There's incredible insight here from one of the most experienced writers in gaming, and if you're interested in games writing this is a must-listen.Hosted by Simon Jones, writer and Digital Marketing Manager at the National Centre for Writing.Find out more about the National Centre for Writing: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Links:Inkle Studios: https://www.inklestudios.com/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


27 Feb 2019

Rank #2

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#45 The 10 year road to publication with Kelleigh Greenberg Jephcott

Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, writer of the Women's Prize for Fiction longlisted book Swan Song, joins us on the podcast to discuss her debut novel and it's 10-year road to publication.Also on the pod today: We talk about the Nottwich gathering of delegates from the UNESCO Cities of Literature network, which took place earlier this week, and this weekend's exciting Norfolk & Norwich Festival literature extravaganza.Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna, with guest Flo Reynolds.Find out more about the National Centre for Writing:https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Norfolk & Norwich Festival: http://nnfestival.org.ukMore info on Nottwich: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/nottwich-begins/About UEA Live: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/uea-live/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


23 May 2019

Rank #3

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#12 Anthony Horowitz on The Word is Murder

As the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival 2018 kicks off, we look back at the 2017 festival when Anthony Horowitz sat down with Chris Gribble to discuss his long and varied career and the creation of The Word is Murder.Hosted by Simon Jones, writer and Digital Marketing Manager at the National Centre for Writing.Find out more about the National Centre for Writing: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Mentioned events:Noirwich Crime Writing Festival: https://noirwich.co.ukDragon Hall Salon: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/whats-on/dragon-hall-salon/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


12 Sep 2018

Rank #4

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#24 Margaret Atwood's Top 5 Writing Tips

It's a very special episode this week, as we present the full, extended interview with Margaret Atwood conducted by our Young Ambassadors Emily Webb and Grace Murray earlier in the year. The interview covers everything from how Margaret started writing, why her novels tackle such challenging subjects and her top 5 tips for new writers.Hosted by Simon Jones, writer and Digital Marketing Manager at the National Centre for Writing.You can watch a video version of this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fDkbyyPRKFYFind out more about the National Centre for Writing: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Links:Young Ambassador scheme: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/young-ambassadors/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


5 Dec 2018

Rank #5

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Alicia Morgan in a Room of Her Own

90 years ago, Virginia Woolf published her ground-breaking essay 'A Room of One's Own', which posited that to be a writer, a woman needed money and a room of her own. We joined forces with the Royal Society of Literature to offer a week-long residency at Dragon Hall to address this: giving a female-identifying writer the time, space and support to write whatever they wanted.Alicia Morgan was selected from many amazing submissions. She is a poet, playwright, performer and culture maker now based here in Norwich. She talks with Steph about being an active part of the underground New York punk scene in the 80s and 90s, working as a journalist and her move into fiction.Follow her on Instagram @alicia13morganHosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.Find out about writer opportunities at https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.ukMusic by Bennet Maples.


7 Aug 2019

Rank #6

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#15 Found in Translation

In the first in a new series focusing on translation, we talk to Susan Harris and Samantha Schnee from magazine Words Without Borders about the how translation works, why it's important and how it has the potential to bring the world together.These interviews were recorded at London Book Fair - apologies for the background noise of intense hubbub.Hosted by Simon Jones, writer and Digital Marketing Manager at the National Centre for Writing.Find out more about the National Centre for Writing: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Useful links:Words Without Borders: https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


4 Oct 2018

Rank #7

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Structuring non-fiction with Ed Parnell

Ed Parnell is on the pod to talk about his first non-fiction book, Ghostland. He discusses his obsession with structure, how to pitch a non-fiction book and how he switched from fiction to non-fiction.Simon and Steph also dive into the pod archive to pick out their favourite episodes of the year:Outer Wilds with Kelsey Beachum: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/the-writing-challenges-of-outer-wilds/Jon Ingold from Inkle Studios: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/how-to-write-interactive-narratives-for-games/Elif Shafak & Bidisha: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/elif-shafak-talks-metoo-identity-politics-libraries-and-inequality/Life of Bookseller with Joe Hedinger: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/life-of-a-bookseller/Val McDermid & Sian Cain: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/val-mcdermid-sian-cain-on-the-publishing-landscape-for-lgbtqi-writers/Hosted by Steph McKenna and Simon Jones.Find out about our work: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Music by Bennet Maples.


19 Dec 2019

Rank #8

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#37 Elif Shafak talks to Bernardine Evaristo, Lucy Caldwell & Sara Maitland

Elif Shafak hosted a conversation with three of her selected writers for the International Literature Showcase at London Book Fair earlier this month. Bernardine Evaristo, Lucy Caldwell and Sara Maitland contribute to a wide ranging discussion involving identity, trends, social media, impostor syndrome and the state of the publishing industry.The first International Literature Showcase of 2019 is a collaboration between the National Centre for Writing and British Council.Hosted by Simon Jones, writer and Digital Marketing Manager at the National Centre for Writing.Find out more about the National Centre for Writing: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/To read more about the International Literature Showcase and Elif's selection, visit https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/ils/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


28 Mar 2019

Rank #9

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Writing non-linear narratives with Outer Wilds' Kelsey Beachum

Indie game Outer Wilds has been rapturously received and we were very excited to talk with Kelsey Beachum, writer on the project. We discuss writing non-linear stories, how to handle player agency and interactions, mixing game mechanics with storytelling and how to inject characterful dialogue into exposition.Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.Find out more at https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.ukMusic by Bennet Maples.


5 Jul 2019

Rank #10

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Making a living as a literary translator with Ekaterina Petrova

On the pod today we have literary translator and non-fiction writer Ekaterina Petrova. Ekaterina is from Bulgaria, and was our visiting resident for 10 days thanks to support from the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation.A big part of the conversation is about the challenge of making a living from being a literary translator - which, as you can imagine, is even harder than making a living from being a writer.Hosted by Simon Jones and Steph McKenna.Find out more about our work: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.ukRead a translated extract by Ekaterina: http://www.eurolitnetwork.com/from-traveling-in-the-direction-of-the-shadow-by-iana-boukova-translated-by-ekaterina-petrova/Don't miss Ekaterina's contribution to the Walking Norwich collection: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/walking-norwich/stranger-on-a-walk/Music by Bennet Maples.


5 Dec 2019

Rank #11

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#40 Elif Shafak, Patience Agbabi, Charlotte Higgins & Evie Wyld

For our 40th episode we return to the International Literature Showcase with a special conversation between Elif Shafak, Patience Agbabi, Charlotte Higgins and Evie Wyld - all writers who have been selected by Elif for her showcase of women writers working in the UK today. This event was recorded at the Free Word Centre on 25 March 2019.The International Literature Showcase is a partnership project between the National Centre for Writing and British Council.Hosted by Simon Jones and new regular voice Steph McKenna!More about the ILS: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/ils/Granta: https://granta.com/Norfolk & Norwich Festival: https://nnfestival.org.uk/Granta event at NNF: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/whats-on/the-path-to-publication-40-years-of-granta-magazine/Creative Writing Online courses: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/online-courses/Music by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/


17 Apr 2019

Rank #12

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#27 Death In Paradise creator Robert Thorogood

Season 8 of the massive BBC television crime drama Death in Paradise starts this week. Robert Thorogood was here at Dragon Hall last year for the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, and today's episode is a recording of the conversation he had with Nina Nannar, Arts Editor for ITV News. Robert talks about everything from getting his unlikely break into prime time TV, why he set the show in the Caribbean and how Death in Paradise has impacted representation on British screens. Do note that there are some spoilers in here for earlier seasons of the show Links: Creating Writing Online: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/online-courses/


8 Jan 2019

Rank #13

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#30 How to be a productive writer with Tim Clare

You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who is more passionate and driven about writing than Tim Clare. We talk about Tim's Weekly Writing Workout newsletter, his Couch to 80k Writing Bootcamp as well as his novels The Honours and forthcoming The Ice House.Plus, of course, we discuss the word count required for reaching the optimum point of neuroplasticity, what Tim learned while talking to the Institute for Procrastination Research and how the same part of your brain is used for processing fiction and reality.Hosted by Simon Jones, writer and Digital Marketing Manager at the National Centre for Writing.Find out more about the National Centre for Writing: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/Links:Tim talks to the Institute for Procrastination Research: http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/death-of-1000-cuts-season-2-episode-37-chatting-with-tim-pychyl/Couch to 80k Bootcamp: http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/couchto80kwritingbootcamp/Weekly Writing Workout: http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/tim-clares-weekly-writing-workout/Events:Agent Insight with Eve White: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/whats-on/agent-insights-with-eve-white/Dragon Hall Salon: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/whats-on/dragon-hall-salon-3/All upcoming events: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/whats-onMusic by Bennet Maples: https://sonicfruit.co.uk/

1hr 19mins

30 Jan 2019

Rank #14