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A Transcendental Alchemy

Claire speaks to Rosie Walsh, whose novel The Man Who Didn’t Call is out today. They talk about how love can drive us mad at any age, why Rosie loves the Elena Ferrante novels, how the Pomodoro technique helps her writing, and much more. Books Mentioned in the Episode: The Man Who Didn't Call/Ghosted, by Rosie Walsh The Neapolitan Novels, by Elena Ferrante Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff The Woman In The Mirror, by Rebecca James Whiskey When We're Dry, by John Larison The...


18: A Passionate, Angry Novel

Our guest on Episode 18 is Sarah Vaughan, author of three books including the bestseller Anatomy of a Scandal, which came out in January 2018. We talked about what inspired her best-selling novel, her experience of studying at Oxford, the advantages of writing fiction later in life, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Anatomy of a Scandal, by Sarah Vaughan The Art of Baking Blind, by Sarah Vaughan The Farm at the Edge of the World, by Sarah Vaughan White Teeth, by Zadie...


17: Uncomfortable Empathy, with Guy Gunaratne

In Episode 17, we hear from Guy Gunaratne, whose debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City has just come out to wide and well-deserved acclaim. We talked about the impetus for his book, what he’s learned about storytelling from grime music and from his own work as documentary marker, and more. Books mentioned on the episode: In Our Mad and Furious City, by Guy Gunaratne Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin The Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul...


16: More Interesting More Quickly

Our guest on Episode 16 is Caroline Ambrose, who’s the founder of the Bath Novel Award, an advocate for public libraries, a quiz show veteran, and a superfan of super trees. She talks us through the ins and outs of running a writing prize, what it is that makes the Bath Novel Award special, some of the exciting books that have been shortlisted and are now out in the world, her work campaigning for libraries, and more. Books mentioned on the episode: Rainbirds, by Clarissa...


15: Indispensable Hearts of the Community

Claire speaks to Libby Page, author of The Lido, which is out today. They discuss the inspiration for the book, the magic of outdoor swimming, the new Up Lit trend, and more. Books mentioned on the episode: The Lido, by Libby Page (pre-order The Lido in the US) Tin Man, by Sarah Winman Three Things About Elsie, by Joanna Cannon I Love You Too Much, by Alicia Drake Swell, by Jenny Landreth Floating, by Joe Minihane Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves, and the Will to Swim, by Alexandra...


14: A Decidedly Dark Turn

Claire's guest is Muhammad Khan, author of the recent YA Novel I Am Thunder. They discuss the inspiration for his book, his transition from teacher to writer, the first book he read featuring an Asian character and the impact that it had on him, and more. Books mentioned on the episode: I Am Thunder, by Muhammad Khan Rice without Rain, by Minfong Ho The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas Apple Tree Yard, by Louise Doughty The Worst Witch, by Jill Murphy The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by...


BONUS: Preview of UNSCRIPTED, by Claire Handscombe

In this bonus episode, hear an excerpt from Claire’s novel, Unscripted, forthcoming from Unbound. You can pre-order the novel and pledge for Kickstarter-style rewards at ***** Support Claire on Patreon to get bonus content and personalised book recommendations. Buy Brit Lit Podcast merch to show your love for your podcast and help support it. Pre-order Claire’s novel, Unscripted, help make the book happen, and get rewards too. For daily news and views from British...


13: In a Pub, Three Writers

Our guest on Episode 13 is John Mitchinson, a long-time publishing veteran, co-founder of Unbound and co-host of the Backlisted Podcast. We go deep into the weeds of the groundbreaking publishing company he helped found, his own role there, and publishing in general. Books mentioned on the episode: The Good Immigrant, by Nikesh Shukla A Murder of Crows, by Ian Skewis The Sewing Machine, by Natalie Fergie Black And Blue, by Ian Rankin My House of Sky: A Life of J A Baker, by Hetty...


12: School Uniforms and Sticky Toffee Pudding

Our guests today are Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, two authors who co-write YA novels about awkward love stories. They discuss their books, their friendship, their university years, and differences between the British and American teen experiences, and it’s a lot of (almost clean) bookish fun. ***** Books mentioned on the episode: Unscripted, by Claire Handscombe Lobsters/A Totally Awkward Love Story, by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison Never Evers, by Tom Ellen and Lucy...


11: A Nice Problem to Have

We hear from Jimena from Belgravia Books, a London-based independent bookshop which is also the home of Gallic Books, a publisher devoted to bringing the best of French literature to an English-speaking audience. We talked about what she loves most about working in a bookshop, French books to put on your reading list, and the new worlds that translated fiction opens to us. ***** Books mentioned in this episode: Unscripted, by Claire Handscombe The Red Notebook, by Antoine...


10: That Grey, Grim Area of Celebrity

Claire speaks to Daniel Ross, whose novel Bobby Denise is Reigning Rampant is forthcoming from Unbound. We talked talked about the process of crowdfunding a novel as well as some of his favourite books about cats and music. Books mentioned this episode: Bobby Denise Is Reigning Rampant, by Daniel Ross Unscripted, by Claire Handscombe Johnny Ruin, by Don Dalton The Second Death of Daedalus Mole, by Niall Slater Such Small Hands, by Andres Barba Know Your Place: Essays on the Working...


09: So Invested in Characters

Our guest today is Maggie Harcourt, author of the YA novels The Last Summer of Us, Unconventional, and the forthcoming Theatrical. We talked about our respective fandoms past and present, her experience of conventions, why fanfiction can be a useful tool for the beginner writer, and much more. Books mentioned on the show: Unconventional, by Maggie Harcourt Theatrical, by Maggie Harcourt Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke Hold Back the Stars, by Katie Khan Wing...


08: We Just Need a Hot Air Balloon

Our guest today is Nikesh Shukla, writer, editor, rapper, and advocate for BAME voices in publishing. We talked about the pervasiveness of social media, the upcoming US edition of The Good Immigrant, and his response to the ubiquity of fictional white boys with dogs called Timmy. Books mentioned on the show: Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, by Lucy Mangan Dear Mrs. Bird, by A J Pearce In Our Mad and Furious City, by Guy...


07: Eat a Bacon Sandwich

As we look to the New Year, we hear from Rosy Edwards and Amy Baker of The Riff Raff, a London-based community of writers. They spoke about their memoirs about dating and travel, recommended books they’ve recently loved, and gave tips to anyone whose Near Year’s Resolution is to finally write that book. Books mentioned on the show: Confessions of a Tinderella, by Rosy Edwards Miss-adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America, by Amy Baker His Frozen...


06: Catfights Behind the Gym

Claire speaks to stand-up comedian Rosie Wilby, author of Is Monogamy Dead?, about literary friendships, the painfulness of breakups, and her favourite music memoirs. There’s also news of a giveaway and books recommendations for a listener’s mum and sister. Books mentioned in this episode: Is Monogamy Dead? by Rosie Wilby Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding Tales Of The City, by Armistead Maupin Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew...


05: The Best and the Worst in People

This week, we hear from Lucy Vine, author of the 2017 summer hit Hot Mess. She tells us why we need a new Bridget Jones-style heroine, talks about her favourite books of the year, and reflects on the challenges of the second novel. Books mentioned on the show: Hot Mess, by Lucy Vine Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding What Fresh Hell, by Lucy Vine Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen Sweetpea, by C J Skuse Unconventional, by Maggie Harcourt Everything I Know About Love, by...


04: I Am a Bookcase Snob

Our guest today is Lindsey Kelk, the best-selling author of the I Heart series, among other rom com novels. We talk about reading age-inappropriate books as child, discuss the relative merits of LA and New York, and gush about John Green. Books mentioned on the show: The I Heart series, by Lindsey Kelk We Were On a Break, by Lindsey Kelk The Sweet Valley High series, by Francine Pascal The Casteel Family Saga, by V C Andrews Flowers in the Attic, by V C Andrew The Magic Cottage, by...


03: Dizzied by the Free-Flowing Drink

Claire speaks to Elizabeth Day, author of the literary thriller The Party, about her time at Cambridge, how her journalism career trained her to be a novelist, and our picks for the Man Booker Prize. Books mentioned in this episode: The Party, by Elizabeth Day Middlemarch, by George Eliot The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen Underworld, by Don DeLillo The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P, by Adelle Waldman Swing Time, by Zadie Smith The...


02: Drizzle on the Tent

Claire talks to Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest, about the British authors who inspire her, as well as her love of London and of the Great British Bake Off. She also highlights new books out this week and gives tips on finding British books if you’re not UK-based. Books mentioned in this episode: The Nest, by Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney The Master Bedroom, by Tessa Hadley The Past, by Tessa Hadley The Photograph, by Tessa Hadley The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A...


01: Knees Up, Mother Brown

Welcome to the Brit Lit podcast, where we talk about all things books from a British perspective. Claire’s first guest is Jennifer Ryan, author of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, an epistolary novel set in an English village in World War II. She also explains what Super Thursday is and gives a shout out to some interesting new books. Books mentioned: Me. You. A Diary, by Dawn French Thinking Out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad, by Rio Ferdinand Finding My Virginity, by Richard...