Podcast

The Waterstones Podcast - Beginnings

Posted on 10th July 2019 by Will Rycroft

Your chance to hear authors going beyond the book to talk about the themes and ideas that obsess us all.


Beginnings

In this first episode we get to meet hosts Will Rycroft, Holly Davies and Dan Bird as they talk with bestselling author and screenwriter David Nicholls about their beginnings with books. Nicholls also shares his experiences as an actor which feed directly into his new novel, Sweet Sorrow, which charts one life-changing summer as Charlie meets Fran during rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet and the two experience the transformative power of first love. Nicholls also speaks about his BAFTA Award-winning adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels for TV.

There’s also the chance to hear from Michael Palin as he talks about the fear and excitement that attends to the beginning of almost any enterprise, whether that be a journey, a new TV programme or sitting down to write fresh comedy. His latest book, Erebus, tells the story of HMS Erebus, the famous exploring vessel which went missing in the Arctic and whose wreck was recently discovered.

We also hear from Tomi Adeyemi’s event to launch her Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Older Fiction category-winning YA novel, Children of Blood and Bone. She shares a brilliant story about a young girl jumping to the head of the signing queue to demonstrate the importance of representation in encouraging younger generations to begin writing themselves.

Featured in this week's podcast

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A decade after his phenomenal bestseller One Day, David Nicholls returns with a bittersweet and brilliantly funny coming-of-age tale. Told over one life-changing summer, it explores - with genuine tenderness - the transformative impact of first love in an ordinary life. An expert at evoking what it truly feels like to be young and alive, Nicholls' novel promises to be something very special.

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The multi-talented Michael Palin turns his talents to maritime history in this extraordinary biography of the sailing vessel, HMS Erebus. Elucidating two very different exploratory voyages, Palin recounts the pioneering successes of James Clark Ross’ passage to the Great Southern Barrier and the tragic outcome of John Franklin’s command to the Arctic, in effortlessly readable style.
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Magic can burn, turn tides, light darkness and bring back the dead. But magic is gone. So one girl must bring it back in the first in a gripping trilogy. A fierce and unflinching saga of divided love, belief and legacy. A book that combines heart-stopping drama with unforgettable characters this is a story that ripples with magic, a tale that will haunt a reader long after the final page.
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A tour de force of multi-layered characterisation and whip-smart, withering prose, the Patrick Melrose books are epic in scope yet profoundly intimate in their richly observed humanity.
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The first grisly, gruesome and gothic instalment in A Series of Unfortunate Events introduces the tragic Baudelaire orphans and the despicable Count Olaf, not to mention a host of miserable moments and descriptions of despair that you couldn’t possibly want to read about – could you?
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San Francisco, 1976. A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous - unmistakably the handiwork of Armistead Maupin.
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Written as a letter to a friend's daughter, this is a powerful and personal manifesto about contemporary feminism in practice, asking key questions about what it means to be a woman today.
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Comments

Andrew Mak

Just listened to the podcast and was very impressed. Not so much in terms of content (which is fairly standard across BBC arts podcasts, the Guardian podcast, Bookseller, etc) but more for the general production values in which that content was placed. Presenters were articulate, spoke clearly and intelligently but also from a sincere personal feeling. Brilliant idea to link the theme of beginning to the presenters' own careers, allowing for heir personalities and backgrounds to emerge organically. The idea of structuring around a theme worked really well since it provides a natural through line linking a range of different content. Segways between different sections can often feel so blunt and forced but here it was seamless. I think it would be good to hear more from the booksellers at the end - see for example the Book Clinic section of the Bookseller podcast. Also to find a way to include listeners in the podcast maybe by soliciting ideas on social media or using Waterstones website reviews. I like he way that Radiolab get listeners to read end credits at the back of each episode. Maybe you could do something like that? In all, a very worthwhile listen and I will definitely subscribe to hear future episodes. View more

Andrew Mak
17th July 2019
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