The Art of Conversation – Studs Turkel Archive

Basically, you need never be bored again.  An immense archive of  the great audio interviewer and social historian and researcher, Studs Turkel, speaking over 40 years with great thinkers, movers and shakers as well as people less famous – has been properly curated and placed online.  This is America, talking to itself, about its hopes and fears in the 20th Century.

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Advice to novel writers

Just what we need for November, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – or whenever the decision to first draft a novel strikes – some very useful writing tips recorded online.  BBC World Service radio has made available an entire series called “Writing Time” – each episode a 13 minute recording.

Topics covered include:

  • advice for aspiring writers
  • how to start writing a novel
  • developing characters
  • setting (how to decide where to set your book)
  • establishing voice (how to find your own distinctive voice)
  • dialogue
  • endings
  • how to find an agent

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Sue Perkins on a Desert Island

Desert Island Discs is a classic UK radio programme which has the format of a biographical interview – and much more interesting than that sounds.  Each week, a different celebrity picks 8 favourite pieces of music and recollects their life around them. They’ve just hit a seam of gold with Sue Perkins last week – and now I see the next guest is John McEnroe.  Both have been interviewed, interviewed others, been commentators, lived public lives – for decades – and never said a boring sentence (at least on camera).

They speak eloquently, passionately, and thoughtfully on – well, life – and anything any interviewer throws at them.

“You’re a very quotable person, Sue Perkins” says the interviewer.

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“Invisible College” – writing advice

“The Invisible College” is a BBC series of programme, available free on i-tunes as podcasts, or listenable to on half-hour programmes.  They encourage creative writing and are now on series 2 (broadcasting Mondays, 4 pm, Radio4 FM).  Catch all previous episodes on BBC i-player, titled “Invisible College”. Brilliantly, the BBC are pulling on their recordings of all sorts of writers in many different styles, over decades, so … Continue reading “Invisible College” – writing advice

UK favourite piece of music is….

Each week for 75 years, one radio programme has been broadcast on the BBC: Desert Island Discs.  The idea of the programme is to invite people of accomplishment (some of whom are celebrities, others experts in their field such as brain surgery, human rights lawyers) – to talk through their favourite 8 pieces of music, telling their life story and why they like each piece as … Continue reading UK favourite piece of music is….