Episode 136 - Lynn Shepherd’s Advice to Budding Writers


As a trailer ahead of part four of This Writing Life podcast's conversation with novelist Lynn Shepherd, she offers some advice to budding writers...

Episode 135 - Lynn Shepherd: Part 3


Part three of Lynn Shepherd's This Writing Life podcast mixes business and pleasure: how did a successful city worker become a successful writer? Doctorates on Samuel Richardson, freelance copywriting, and publishing novels all flash past in quick succession. We talk unpublished novels, the challenges of finishing a book and writing for writing's sake. Lynn discusses where her own voice lies in the novels she produces, discusses how to information dump, and how much license to take with historical fact. We end by discussing the complex subject of her latest historical book, A Treacherous Likeness, the Romantic poet Percy Shelley.

Part 4 of 4 to follow.

Episode 134 - Lynn Shepherd: Part 2


Part two of This Writing Life's conversation with Oxford-based novelist Lynn Shepherd begins with some chat about her love of 'clever crime', and how it shapes her novels like Murder in Mansfield Park and Tom All-Alones. We end this edition by discussing the other prime influence on these early historical novels: her love of classic literature, above all Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. But where does Dickens end and Lynn Shepherd begin?

In between we talk novel endings, books series, Shepherd's student days (and those of Percy Shelley), and that old work-life balance.

Episode 133 - Lynn Shepherd: Part 1


The latest episode of This Writing Life podcast is particularly special in that it was the first ever recorded. The subject is Lynn Shepherd, a crime writer, critic, journalist, and copy writer who lives and works in Oxford. Her speciality is literary mystery fiction: each of her novels, Murder in Mansfield Park, Tom All-Alone's, A Treacherous and The Pierced Heart insert an ingenious crime into a well-known story or writer's life. Before we talk about re-mixing Austen, Dickens, Shelley and Bram Stoker, we discuss her life, career, day jobs and love of literature. We even intrigue a little, in the style of Jane Austen.

More information can be found at: lynn-shepherd.com

Episode 132 - Neel Mukherjee: Part 3


In the final part of This Writing Life podcast's conversation with Neel Mukherjee, we begin with Donald Trump before floating in a liberal bubble towards Neel's decision to stop listening to the news. We talk about the novel might cope with a 24 hour news cycle and Neel's own creative method - taking in his daily grind and his experience of studying creative writing courses.

Neel's excellent new novel A State of Freedom is out now.

Episode 131 - Neel Mukherjee: Part 2


In the second part of Neel Mukherjee's chat with This Writing Life podcast, he talks the influence of ghost stories on his excellent new novel A State of Freedom, about returning to India (as a visitor and writer), about the short story-novel, about surviving the Man Booker Prize shortlist for The Lives of Others, about the international trends of English literature, and finally about researching and writing about Indian bear-dancing.

Part 3 to follow.

Episode 130 - Neel Mukherjee: Part 1


In the opening instalment of This Writing Life podcast's interview with Neel Mukherjee, Man Booker shortlisted author of The Lives of Others, we discuss his excellent new novel A State of Freedom. After admitting a little pre-publication anxiety, Mukherjee moves onto his new book and its various debts to VS Naipaul's In a Free State and Jawaharlal Nehru's 'Tryst with Destiny' speech, not to mention the parallels with recent interlinked narratives by Davids Mitchell and Szalay. Having slalomed around Mukherjee's relationship with Modernism and his portrait of Indian inequality, we end by discussing food and whether A State of Freedom is happy novel.

Part two of three to follow.

Episode 129 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 4 (Writing Life Revisited)


In the final part of This Writing Life podcast's conversation with Meena Kandasamy, she discusses India as a modern superpower, the place of violence in the lives of women, the poor and everyday society, shifts smartly to talk about her first (and possibly only) venture into acting, before turning to the future. We end by wondering whether the appaling events depicted in her debut novel, The Gipsy Goddess, could ever happen again.

Episode 128 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 3 (Writing Life Revisited)


In the third part of This Writing Life podcast's chat with the Indian poet, novelist and activist Meena Kandasamy, we begin with some chatter about the title of her debut novel, The Gipsy Goddess, before exploring her fraught relationship with social media - its pros and cons for political engagement, literary creativity, feminism and all-round mental health.

Part four to follow.

Episode 127 - Meena Kandasamy: Part 2 (This Writing Life Revisited)


In the second part of This Writing Life podcast's interview with Meena Kandasamy, we discuss how fiction mixes with historical truth, women in The Gipsy Goddess, language to shock and illuminate. And more on Nicki Minaj of course.

Part three to follow.

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