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51: The Lost Letters of William Woolf, with Helen Cullen

From time to time on the podcast, we speak to someone who is not British, so that we get an outside perspective on UK books. Helen Cullen is Irish, though she has lived in London a long time and her debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, is set there. Helen talked to me about the lost art of letter writing, some of her favourite epistolary novels, why she loves London, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: The Lost Letters of William Woolf, by Helen Cullen 84, Charing Cross...


50: Our Stop, with Laura Jane Williams

Our guest today is Laura Jane Williams, who’s the author most recently of Our Stop, a new romcom out this summer. It’s the story of Daniel and Nadia, who take the 7.30 train every morning. One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper: To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime? So begins a story of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word. Laura and I talked about what makes...


49: A Half Baked Idea, with Olivia Potts

I’ve got a great interview for you today that’s both fascinating and more than a little mouth-watering. Olivia Potts is the author of A Half Baked Idea, a memoir which tells the story of how baking became first her comfort and then her profession in the aftermath of her mum’s passing away. We talked about Olivia's time at culinary school, how she came to make what sound like amazing artisanal donuts, her favourite food magazine, and much more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: A Half Baked...


48: Bonnie and Stan, with Anna Stuart

Our guest on episode 48 is Anna Stuart, author of the novel Bonnie and Stan, which Ruth Hogan has called “a fresh, original love story beautifully told”. If you loved the film Yesterday, you’ll find echoes of it in this novel. I spoke to Anna about the setting of her book in both time and place – 1960s Liverpool – how being untidy can help with creativity, the challenges of writing historical fiction, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Bonnie and Stan, by Anna Stuart She's Leaving...


47:The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, with Abbi Waxman

Abbi Waxman’s latest novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is out this week on both sides of the Atlantic. Nina Hill loves trivia and her cat, and works in a delightful but struggling bookshop. She’s an introvert who’s got her life and social calendar under control – until she finds out about a whole big family she never knew she had. And just as she’s struggling to get her head around that, the trivia competition world throws an attractive guy into her path, too. What I loved best about this...


46: The Flatshare, with Beth O’Leary

Our guest today is Beth O’Leary, who’s the author of the runaway hit The Flatshare, which is a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into multiple languages, including Dutch, Polish and Catalan. Beth talks about her former job in children’s publishing, what it was like drafting her novel on the train, how objects left around a flat can tell us a lot about a person, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: The Flatshare, by Beth O'Leary Our Stop, by Laura Jane Williams Are We...


45: The Spies of Shilling Lane, with Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan returns as a guest to discuss her newly published second novel, The Spies of Shilling Lane. She talked about the woman who inspired the novel, the importance of the British stiff upper lip in the Second World War, why women made great spies in that period, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, by Jennifer Ryan The Spies of Shilling Lane, by Jennifer Ryan Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly Lost Roses, by Martha Hall Kelly Unscripted, by...


44: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss, with Rajeev Balusabranyam

Our guest today is Rajeev Balusabranyam. Rajeev is the author of the novel Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss, which came out earlier this year. He’s also very accomplished, with a few literary awards and nominations under his belt and degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge. He talks about his meditation practice, why he loves California, and what it was about the academic world that he wanted to explore in his novel. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss, by...


43: I'd Better Doing Something With My Life, with Louise Walters

On today’s episode, we hear from Louise Walters, who’s the author of three novels and also runs her own small publishing company. We talked about why she started Louise Walters Books, what kind of books she looks for, and the advice she has for anyone wanting to go the same route. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson, by Helen Kitson Don't Think a Single Thought, by Diana Cambridge Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase, by Louise Walters A Life Between Us, by Louise...


42: Love Factually, with Laura Mucha

Our guest today is Laura Mucha, who studied psychology, philosophy and flying trapeze, worked as a face painter,and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer for an international law firm. Then, when she was hit by a car aged 29, she decided to change career – she’s now an award-winning poet, author, broadcaster, performer and speaker, and most recently the author of the fabulously named book Love Factually, which is about the science of who, how, and why we love. Laura was so much fun to...


41: The Sisterhood, with Daisy Buchanan

Daisy Buchanan is the author most recently of the memoir The Sisterhood, a book about growing up as the eldest of six girls. She and I talked about the books she recommend to her sisters, why Judy Blume’s novels have been so formative for so many of us, what book covers featuring the back of a woman’s head have going for them, and more. You can listen to the episode here, or Spotify, or iTunes, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: The Sisterhood: A...


40: Unscripted, with Claire Handscombe

On today's episode, you get to hear from Claire, the host of the podcast, about her own novel, Unscripted, out today. It's a smart beach read about a young aspiring writer with a celebrity crush and a determined plan. Claire speaks to her friend Juliet about the challenge of writing from multiple points of view, how Myers Briggs has helped form her characters, what she really thinks of LA, her long and torturous route to publication, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Unscripted, by...


39: It's Not About The Burqa, with Mariam Khan.

Mariam Khan is the editor of the new collection of essays called It's Not About The Burqa, in which seventeen Muslim women write about faith, feminism, sexuality and race. She talks to the podcast about the process of putting together the anthology, what she thinks about feminism, why she loves audio books, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: The Good Immigrant, by Nikesh Shukla Scythe, by Neal Shusterman Let Me Tell You This, by Nadine Aisha Jassat Nasty Women, by 404 Ink My...


38: All That Jazz, with publicist Charlie Morris

Our guest today is Charlie Morris, who’s a senior publicity and marketing exec at Little Tiger UK and Stripes Books. She talks to the podcast about what her job looks like day to day, advice she has for people wanting to get into the publishing industry, a groundbreaking book she’s been working on for a year, and more. ***** Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Proud, ed. Juno Dawson Once and Future, by Amy Rose Music and Malice in Hurricane Town, by Alex Bell All The Lonely People, by...


37: The Hunting Party, with Lucy Foley.

Lucy Foley is the author of four novels, including most recently The Hunting Party. It’s a creepy, insightful thriller about a group of university friends who, for their annual New Year’s Eve trip, have chosen a remote location in the Scottish Highlands. And a few days into their trip, one of them is found dead. Who died; who killed them; and why: that’s what we read on to find out. Lucy spoke to the Brit Lit Podcast about her pivot away from historical fiction to thrillers, why she...


36: The Bestseller Experiment, with Mark Stay

Mark Stay's new fantasy novel, The End of Magic, is hot off the press. As well as being an author, he's one half of the podcast The Bestseller Experiment, which chronicles his adventures in publishing alongside another Mark. The podcast has tons of useful advice for anyone conducting their own experiment in becoming a bestselling author. We talked about Mark's new novel, his experience of crowdfunding, three things he’s learned along the way of his experiment in becoming a bestselling...


35: Oh My Gods, with Alexandra Shepperd

Alexandra Sheppard is the author of YA novel Oh My Gods, the story of Helen Thomas, whose dad is none other than the Greek god Zeus. Not only does Helen have all the usual teen stuff to deal with — like new friends to make and a cute boy to impress — she also has to keep her chaotic family’s true identities secret. Alex talks about her love for Greek mythology, how it felt to re-read her teenage diaries, an author she and Claire love, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Oh My Gods,...


34: Shake it Up a Bit, with Ben from the Bookshop Band

Our guest today is Ben from the Bookshop Band. The Bookshop Band started in 2010 and write songs inspired by – you’ve guessed it – books. They’re about to embark on their first tour of the US, so if you’re based in or around New York, New Mexico, or Colorado, you’ll have a chance to catch Ben and Beth at one of several locations between now and the first week of February. I spoke to Ben about their upcoming tour, how they started out, their songwriting process, and more. Books Mentioned on...


33: Unbelievable Situations A Lot Of the Time, with Lindsey Kelk.

Lindsey Kelk is back on the podcast today to catch us up on what she’s been up to in the last year. Lindsey is the author of the best-selling I Heart series of romantic comedies as well as countless other books and an exciting new project we possibly have the world exclusive on. She’s also the cohost of two podcasts. We talked about her favourite books of the year, the podcasts she likes, the joys and challenges of writing a beloved series, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: One in...


32: Seven Days Of Us with Francesa Hornak

We hear from Francesa Hornak, the author of Seven Days of Us, a page-turner of a novel about family tension perfect to curl up with over the Christmas holidays. In episode 32 of the Brit Lit Podcast, she tells us about the books she likes to give for Christmas, her favourite reads about family tension, the novel her grandmother wrote, and more. Books Mentioned on the Podcast: Seven Days of Us, by Francesca Hornak The Nest, by Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney The Vacationers, by Emma...