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#23: Ben Judah, journalist and author of This is London

In this episode Kassia and Simon chat to Ben Judah, the journalist and author of This is London and Fragile Empire. He told us about how he got into writing, the influence on his work of Polish reportage styles and why he's decided to take a little break from Twitter. (We were on Skype, so please excuse the odd rough patch.) You can find us online at, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at Always Take Notes is presented by Kassia St...


#22: Patrick Kingsley, New York Times correspondent

In this episode Kassia and Simon interview Patrick Kingsley, a correspondent with the New York Times. Patrick previously covered migration and the Middle East for The Guardian, based in Cairo and Istanbul. His first book, How To Be Danish (2012), was an exploration of contemporary Danish society. His second book, The New Odyssey (2016), chronicled the European refugee crisis, and was one of NPR's books of the year. Now based in London, Patrick is also a past winner of the annual foreign...


#21: Nikesh Shukla, author

In this episode Kassia interviews Nikesh Shukla, a TV and fiction writer. We spoke about his novels Coconut Unlimited and Meatspace, and how he came to edit The Good Immigrant, the collection of essays about race and immigration and what it means to be a model "good immigrant" in the UK. You can find us online at, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at Always Take Notes is presented by Kassia St Clair and Simon Akam, and produced...


#20: Antony Beevor, military historian

Kassia and Simon interview Antony Beevor, the celebrated military historian. Best known as author of Stalingrad, the runaway success which on publication in 1998 transformed military history as a genre, Antony has also written on the Spanish Civil War, the battles of Crete and Berlin, and D-Day. His latest book Arnhem – The Last German Victory, will be published in May 2018. Antony, who is also a former chairman of the Society of Authors, has sold more than seven million books in 32...


#19: Sam Knight, magazine writer

Simon interviews Sam Knight, a British writer who works mainly for the Guardian and the New Yorker and specialises in longform pieces on unusual topics, such as the UK sandwich industry and the psychology of a stalker. They discuss his entry into journalism, his love of classic American nonfiction and how he puts features together.


#18: Joelle Owusu, editor, Unbound

Kassia speaks to Joelle Owusu, an editor at Unbound, the innovative publishing company that aims to use crowd-funding to shake up the way books are produced, paid for and disseminated. Joelle explained how Unbound's business model works, how it compares to traditional publishing, and how they aim to give voice to writers that have traditionally faced a sceptical response from the industry. She also discussed her own career, which has seen her make an unlikely move from petroleum geology to...


#17: Candice Carty-Williams, senior marketing executive, Vintage Books

Kassia and Simon interview Candice Carty-Williams, senior marketing executive at Vintage Books. She spoke to us about the nuts and bolts of marketing a book and the role data play. She also discussed how she wrote her debut novel "Queenie", which was acquired by Orion earlier this year for a six-figure sum and will be published in 2019. You can find us online at, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at Always Take Notes is presented...


#16: Nick Summers, features editor, Bloomberg Businessweek

Kassia and Simon spoke to Nick Summers, a features editor for Bloomberg Businessweek who at time of recording was based in London but is now in New York. Nick talked us through his commissioning and editing process and spoke about some fascinating pieces he's worked on recently including one on an Wall Street informant who double-crossed the FBI and another that looked into exactly what it is that IBM does (and whether it's any good at it). Stories discussed:...


#15: Oliver Franklin-Wallis, commissioning editor, British Wired

Simon interviews Oliver Franklin-Wallis, commissioning editor at British Wired. Oliver edits — and writes — longform features for the magazine. He discusses his background and entry to journalism, dos and don'ts of the pitching process and stories about the future of death, the Ebola crisis and the 'Hyperloop.' Stories discussed:


#14: Kiran Millwood Hargrave, winner, Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017

Kassia and Simon interview Kiran Millwood Hargrave, an award-winning children's novelist as well as a poet and playwright. She revealed what motivates her to write, her previous struggles with her mental health, and how she manages her finances.


#13: Tom Standage, deputy editor, The Economist

Kassia and Simon interview Tom Standage, deputy editor of The Economist. They spoke about Tom's long career at the publication, why there is a no-bylines policy and some of The Economist's newer projects, such as a virtual-reality reconstruction of the Mosul Museum in Iraq, containing artefacts destroyed by Islamic State in 2015. More information on this project can be found below:


#12: Patrick Walsh, literary agent, PEW Literary

Simon and Kassia interview literary agent Patrick Walsh, who runs PEW Literary in London and formerly co-founded Conville & Walsh. They discuss the complexities journalists can face moving into book writing, the art of the nonfiction proposal, the expansion of the Chinese market and the thrill of the deal. You can find us online at, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at Always Take Notes is presented by...


#11: Tom Jennings, director, Logan Nonfiction Programme

Simon interviews Tom Jennings, director of the Logan Nonfiction Programme at the Carey Institute for Global Good in upstate New York in the US, where Simon stayed earlier this year. They spoke about Tom's career and the importance for writers of grants and fellowships like the one organised by the Carey Institute. If you're fascinated — or slightly intimidated — by residencies and grants, this episode is for you. More information on the Logan Programme and the Carey Institute is available...


#10: Alice Fishburn, editor, FT Weekend Magazine

Kassia and Simon interview Alice Fishburn, editor of the Financial Times Weekend Magazine. They discuss how she got her start in journalism, where the magazine sits within the rest of the FT’s offerings, and why longform journalism seems to be valued less in the UK than the US. Some of the FT Weekend Magazine pieces mentioned in the interview are: ‘Has science cracked the peanut allergy?’: ‘Out of road: driverless vehicles and...


#9: Sara Baume, novelist

Kassia interviews Irish novelist Sara Baume on the publication of her second book, 'A Line Made By Walking.' Sara spoke candidly about switching careers, what makes her write, how she got her first book deal and the financial realities of life as a full-time novelist. Her first book, published in 2015, was 'Spill Simmer Falter Wither.


#8: Stig Abell, editor, Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

Simon and Kassia interview Stig Abell, editor of the Times Literary Supplement and former managing editor of the Sun. Stig has also reviewed books for the Spectator and ran the Press Complaints Commission. We discussed his career, his plans for the TLS, the impact of Facebook on print media and why he remains optimistic about its future.


#7: Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher, Dialogue Books

Simon and Kassia interview Sharmaine Lovegrove, who is the publisher at Dialogue Books – a new Little, Brown imprint that aims to showcase work by writers neglected by traditional British publishing. Sharmaine has previously run a bookshop in Berlin, been literary editor of ELLE Magazine and co-founded Dialogue Scouts, a consulting company that looks for books to be adapted for film and television. Sharmaine talks about the importance of bringing new voices into the often cliquey world of...


#6: Nicola Solomon, chief executive, The Society of Authors

Kassia interviews Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors, the British trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators. The SoA specialises in protecting authors' interests in negotiations and disputes with agents and publishers. Nicola discusses freedom of expression, explains how the publishing industry has changed over the past century and how to get a fair book contract.


#5: Peter Frankopan, author of 'The Silk Roads'

In this episode, Simon and Kassia interview Peter Frankopan, a historian at Oxford University and director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. His latest book 'The Silk Roads : A New History of the World' proved a No 1 bestseller all over the world, topping the nonfiction charts in India, Pakistan, China and the UK, where it remained in the Top 10 for 10 months. Peter discusses what it feels like to be at the centre of a publishing whirlwind, the unlikely circumstances in which he...


#4: Giles Wilson, founding editor, BBC News Magazine

In this episode, Simon interviews Giles Wilson, the founding editor of the BBC News Magazine and now creative director at Harpoon Productions. Giles discusses how and why the BBC started commissioning longer written pieces online, and the future of longform journalism in the UK and beyond. The three stories Giles mentions are: * Reykjavik Confessions…ec_7617/index.html * The Village and the Girl…-a0eb-4ef064900f92 * The...


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