My Podcast Heart

Full disclosure, I am part-luddite and have only somewhat recently opened my arms to the wonderful world of podcasts. Now that I have, I’ve got to say I’m pretty smitten! I love the flexibility that this medium allows - I can listen on the go and it doesn’t require my whole attention so I can multitask. I can be doing laundry or dinner prep, driving, or scoffing lunch and I can be at least thinking about writing even if I can’t be doing any actual writing. To say thank you for making mundane tasks much more bearable, I thought I’d share my five favourite podcasts and the reasons I love them.

1. One More Page

You know how kids want just one more page of their bedtime story? Well, that’s pretty much how I feel when I listen to this podcast. Hosts Kate, Liz and Nat never fail to entertain with book reviews, competitions, interviews, and insightful snippets into the world of children’s books.

The start of each episode contains tidbits from the hosts to help us to get to know each of them such as their favourite books from childhood, or how and when they get their best writing ideas. Each episode is then based on a theme - from fantasy and adventure to food and comedy, and the hosts aren’t afraid to incorporate some dramatic techniques to liven up the airwaves.

With a target audience of writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, school students, and parents, this podcast was a finalist in the Best Newcomer category at the Australian Podcast Awards in 2018, and is now well into its second year. My only complaint about this podcast is that it comes out fortnightly on a Wednesday, which makes the ‘other Wednesday’ a bit of a downer!

Bonus points: One thing I particularly love about this podcast is that kids are involved in the making of episodes, and this has included some stellar interviews by their talented young offsiders.

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2. So You Want To Be A Writer

This one has been my go-to podcast for learning more about the world of writing and getting published. As soon as I listened to an episode, I made it my mission to catch up the back catalogue, and since then I haven’t missed an episode. Hosts Valerie Khoo, CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre and Allison Tait, AKA author A. L Tait have now put to air an impressive 296 episodes!

This podcast is informative, entertaining, and an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to fiction, non-fiction, freelance feature writing, and content writing. With regular segments such as the Writer in Residence interview and Val’s Word of the Week, you’ll quickly feel part of the community and make tuning into ‘Al and Val’ part of your weekly routine.

Bonus points: For content related to the world of children’s books, check out the spin-off podcast, Magic and Mayhem: Discover the secrets to creating magnificent books for kids and teens.

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3. The Happy Book

Whenever I’ve seen the incredible author-illustrator-editor-creator Tania McCartney at events I always wished I had more time to learn more from her, so when she announced she was starting a podcast I was over the moon, circling the stars, and basically just hooning around the universe! There is a phenomenal range of topics covered in this podcast such as writing, illustrating, promotion, presenting, personal wellbeing, along with the business side of making a career in the children’s book industry.

Tania’s interviews with authors and illustrators flow so beautifully, they are so easy to listen to, and it feels like an absolute treat being privy to the insights that are shared during the conversations. The advice is always spot on coming from Tania’s talented guests and her own decades of experience in the industry. In less than six months, Tania has released two series of this wonderful podcast (that’s 20 episodes!) alongside her demanding writing and illustrating schedule, so I’m hoping that Tania will share some more tips on productivity in coming episodes!

Bonus points: I love that Tania adds another level to each episode by talking about what she and her guests are eating and drinking!

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4. Middle Grade Mavens

When it comes to writing for children I’ve got to wonder if middle grade books are like the Jan Brady of the book world, the forgotten middle child wedged in-between the gorgeousness of picture books with their succinctly told stories and charming illustrations, and the dazzle of young adult novels tackling the big issues with the promise of big screen possibilities. With hosts Julie Grasso and Pamela Ueckerman doing an impressive amount of reading and reviewing to give middle-grade writing the time and space to shine, I feel maybe I needn’t worry so much about middle-child/middle-grade angst. Featuring an impressive line-up of middle-grade authors for interview, this newcomer podcast world is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about the world of writing middle-grade fiction.

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5. Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids

While this isn’t strictly a writing podcast, I love this one for the way it captures voice, a key aspect of writing across all genres and formats. Episodes are comprised of live recordings of adults on stage reading relics from their childhood - from journal entries and creative writing, to letters and songs. The written words featured span from as far back as the 1960s to more recent times and each reading is a beautiful capture of a particular person in a particular place and time.

Episodes of this podcast are recorded in venues across Canada (with a few recorded at the Woodford Folk Festival in Australia) and provide insight into universal issues that face children, along with issues that are completely unique to the person. Producers Dan and Jenna Meisner, have set up this format so beautifully so that past writing is celebrated for what it is, rather than being seen as something that should be banished to the past.

Bonus points: Some readings are followed by short reflections or comments from the reader and other people involved in the story.

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