Here’s my list of The Top 20 Podcasts for Writers (plus a few extra) that I’ve curated for you. Not only writing podcasts, though there’s plenty of those, but also podcasts that provide inspiration and motivation to both seasoned and aspiring writers.
I’d love to have your feedback on those I’ve listed. If I've missed any that you think should be included in the top twenty drop me a line (email@example.com).
1. The Writer's Show
A show about self-publishing success stories (formerly the eBook Revolution). Geoff Hughes from Madhouse Media Publishing talks to writers (and songwriters) about their craft. Each podcast episode features information on writing, creativity and self- publishing.
This show is a ripper, but I’m biased, I’m featured on the December 2022 edition!
2. The Moth
Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories told live and without notes. While it's not strictly a writing podcast (and a few on my list aren’t) it is a treasure trove of real-life stories that provide inspiration for the written world.
The shows dances between documentary and theatre, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience. You'll featured stories from Elizabeth Gilbert, Kathleen Turner, Malcolm Gladwell, Molly Ringwald, Boots Riley, Krista Tippett, Rosanne Cash and many others.
3. Conversations with Richard Fidler (and Sarah Kanowski)
Conversations draws you deeper into the life story of someone you may, or may not, have heard about — someone who has often seen or done amazing things. Like The Moth, there is no better inspiration for fiction than real life. An Australian institution. Richard - you've come a long way from the DAAS.
4. Selected shorts
Meg Wolitzer (acclaimed author of ‘The Wife’ and other works) hosts stories read by great actors. The tagline says it all - "You are taken on a journey through the magic of fiction, one short story at a time". Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always moving. Selected Shorts connects you to the world with a rich diversity of voices from literature, film, theatre and comedy.
5. Stories Behind the Stories – the Better Reading Podcast
Cheryl Akle is passionate about books, particularly those by Australian authors. If that’s not enough to make you tune in, she is a passionate and knowledgeable 30-year veteran of the Australian publishing industry. Her recent guests include Thomas Kenneally, Behrouz Boochani and Nikki Crutchley.
6. Fiction Writing made easy
Savannah Gilbo works as a developmental editor and book coach, helping fiction authors finish their drafts and write stories that work. While there is always a bit of a plug for her services, there is also a trove of ‘free’ information on all things book and writing.
7. The Hatchards Podcast
This is a brand-new podcast from a bookshop that has been a London icon since 1797 (yes, seventeen-ninety-seven). A visit to their store, right next to Fortnum and Mason’s is on my must-do-list for 2024. Hatchards podcast is a conversational show about books featuring interviews with “favourite authors, bookish waffle and the occasional glass of wine”. Worth listening too just for the interview with Bill Nighy and his thoughts on his mate Kazuo Ishiguro. I wonder how many complaints they get about the missing apostrophe in their title?
8. LeVar Burton Reads
If the yanks gave out knighthoods (and I’m sure they wish they could) Le Var Burton should be top of their list. His most known claims to fame are as the actor who portrayed Kunta Kinte in “Roots” and Geordi La Forge in "Star Trek". If that wasn’t enough, he has been the force behind “Reading Rainbow” a TV program that encourages children to read, for almost 25 years. LeVar Burton Reads is an adult extension of this, where his velvet voice reads “the best short fiction”. He has a leaning towards science and speculative fiction but also reads from diverse authors including Vonnegut, Gaiman, Murakami and Bradbury.
9. So you Want to be a Writer (Australian Writers Centre)
“Everything you’ve always wanted to know about succeeding in the world of writing and publishing. Learn practical writing techniques, go behind-the-scenes and discover how real-life authors got their big break. Uncover the creative processes of writers who have made it. Your host is Valerie Khoo – author, journalist, creative and CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC).” AWC host on-line and in-person course for everyone on a writer's journey. Check out their website after you listen to the podcast.
10. The New Yorker – The Writers Voice
Deborah Treisman produces this gem of a podcast where writers who have had works of fiction published in the iconic magazine are invited to read the piece. Always inspirational.
11. The Creative Penn
Joanna Penn demonstrates enormous energy. She writes non-fiction and fiction, reads everything, writes books to assists writers, goes on 200km pilgrimage walks and produces an excellent podcast. Since 2008, her podcast contains everything for the writer just starting out in need of craft advice, as well as for authors further ahead on the journey looking for business help and a glimpse into the future of creativity. She was an advocate for AI before I even knew what it was.
12. Backlisted – Giving New Life to Old Books.
This is one that I have only recently discovered but already love. Presented by John Mitchinson and Andy Miller, Backlisted launched two years ago and is now an incredibly popular book podcast. Each episode features a guest (usually a writer) who has chosen a book they love which they think deserves a wider audience. It’s about how and why some books stand the test of time and other fall into obscurity.
13. 3 Books with Neil Pasricha
Neil asks his guest to discuss their 3 most formative books and how they have impacted their lives. It is a show where Neil asks as many celebrities as ‘ordinary inspiring people’. Guests have included Malcolm Gladwell, Judy Blume, David Sedaris, Seth Godin, two teen Mormon missionaries, an Uber driver, Zafar the Hamburger Man, George Saunders, Cheryl Strayed, Brené Brown and Quentin Tarantino. Neil is a popular speaker at TED conferences, Harvard, and SXSW. His goal is to compile a list of the 1000 most formative books, threee books at a time.
14. The New Yorker – Fiction
Another one from The New Yorker stable. This one is a monthly reading and conversation with The New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman with an author selecting a piece from the magazine’s back catalogue that has moved them – effectively two great authors for the price of one. Standouts for me have been Sherman Alexie reading Raymond Carver’s “Where I’m Calling From”, Kevin Barry reading V.S Pritchett’s “A Family Man”, Hisham Matar reading Colm Toibin’s “One Minus One” and Rebecca Curtis reading Harumi Murakami’s “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey” and so many more. If you can’t find inspiration here, check your pulse - it might be bad news.
15. Books for Breakfast
A live morning talk show featuring co-hosts Megan Moritz, Jess Waszak, and Jude Eraky. They claim to stay focused on the topics of "books" and "breakfast", but usually veer so far off-topic that you'll want to stick around to see just where they end up. A bit of frivolity to start your day.
16. The New Writers Room
I believe that good writers need to be observant and great listeners. This podcast takes it a step further and adds that great writers need to ask great questions. Even if those questions are asked by yourself and of yourself!
17. The Fremantle Press Podcast
If you’re a lover of Australian literature (you’d be mad if you weren’t), just love book chat or perhaps you’re an aspiring author or illustrator, or someone who hopes to work in publishing. If this is true, this is a podcast for you. A locally produced podcast featuring Brooke Dunnell, Claire Miller and Maria Papas and a host of industry favourites.
18. Secrets from the Green Room
Secrets from the Green Room podcast hosts Craig Cormick and Irma Gold chat with writers about their experience of the writing and publishing process in honest green room-style, uncovering some of the plain and simple truths, as well as some of the secrets and pitfalls.
19. Best seller: a Self-Publishing Podcast by Reedsy
I came to this one after being a fan of the Reedsy offerings on YouTube for several years. The YouTube offering is brilliant. Keep an eye out for Shalin she is embarrassingly knowledgeable for someone who looks like they should still be in school. Keep and ear out for their podcast. Claiming to be focused on aspiring authors and demystifying the process of self-publishing. Part of it is a sell for their services. They are a platform that enables writers to connect with subcontractors of book-related services; editing (in all its forms) formatting, covers, marketing etc. but don’t be put off. Wade through the selling and you'll find the gems.
20. The Guardian Short Stories Podcast
David Sedaris said: “A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.” A good short story can have all the impact of a doorstopper novel – but what makes the form work? How can some authors achieve so much in so few pages? Chris Power has been puzzling over this question for years. There’s a joke in the title - his pieces are never brief – with Chris writing comprehensive accounts of the form’s great exponents and why their stories work (and sometimes don’t).
But wait there's more!
21. Writer’s Book Club with Michelle Barraclough
Michelle Barraclough, a writer, blogger and website designer started this podcast as a way to legitimately indulge her passion for talking about "all things writing with her favourite people (well, the ones who don’t rely on her for hot meals and piggybacks over hot sand) - writers!" Michelle has a double degree in Business & Arts majoring in literature and marketing from Monash University, which she claims left her well versed in 19th century classics and how to position a brand, but woefully ill-prepared for the tricky business of writing novels. I'm sure she undersells herself. Check out one of her latest "Five Favourite Reads (and writing lessons from each...)," you won't be disappointed.
22. Tell Me What to Read
Tell Me What to Read is from the people who run Booktopia, Australia's on-line bookstore to the world. The podcast covers a lot of ground, but especially focuses on Australian authors, recommendations, the latest releases, “literary goss” and all things books and writing. A bit celebrity-biased, but worth listening to occasionally -everyone needs fairy floss for the brain occasionally.
The Australian Book Review is at the other end of the spectrum to Tell me What to Read, a serious review of Australian and International literary talent and events that shape and influence Australian Literature. A complimentary commentary to articles that appear in the well-respected iconic journal the Australian Book Review. Sometimes a little dry, but always a worthwhile listen. A great option to expand your literary mindscape.
Now you’ve reached the end of the blog, let me know your thoughts. Is your favorite on the list? Have I missed one that should be?