Read Like a Writer

Read Like a Writer is the books podcast from Faber & Faber, Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail and Canongate, independent publishers bringing the voices – and book recommendations – of their authors to your ears, hosted by Anna Fielding. In each episode...

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  • 5. 14 – Terri White

    In this episode, writer, broadcaster and the Editor-in-Chief of Empire magazine, Terri White speaks to Anna Fielding about her memoir (Coming Undone), her favourite independent bookshop (West End Lane Books in London) and shared five of her favourite books. About Coming Undone: To everyone else, Terri White appeared to be living the dream – living in New York City, with a top job editing a major magazine. In reality, she was struggling with the trauma of an abusive childhood and rapidly skidding towards a mental health crisis that would land her in a psychiatric ward. Coming Undone is Terri's story of her unravelling, and her precarious journey back from a life in pieces. Coming Undone is published by Canongate and is out now: ‘A stunning memoir . . . it feels urgent and necessary . . . White writes like a blood-stained angel’ Cathy Rentzenbrink  ‘A breathtaking read . . . her honesty and her eloquence is the thing that makes it such a privilege to read . . . a raw, shocking, beautiful book’ Dolly Alderton  ‘Coming Undone by Terri White is possibly the most affecting, moving memoir I've ever read. Painful and exquisite . . . It's a remarkable book’ Marian Keyes ‘Raw and remarkable’ Guardian, Book of the Year  Follow Terri White on Twitter: @terri_white. Anna Fielding is a journalist and event host. Follow her on Twitter: @anna_annaThe books discussed and recommended in this episode are: Consent by Vanessa Springora Dead Girls by Selva Almada Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison Crow by Ted HughesThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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  • 4. 13 – Leone Ross

    In this episode of Read Like a Writer, Leone Ross discusses her upcoming novel This One Sky Day and talks to Anna about her TBR pile, top recommendations and her favourite Indie bookshop, The Word Bookshop.Trigger warning: Eating disordersAnna Fielding is a journalist and event host. Follow Anna on Twitter: @anna_annaPraise for This One Sky Day:A true feat of imagination and wonder.' Nikesh Shukla'It blisters with life, love, grief and magic.' Niven Govinden'Stunning.' Kei MillerDawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do:A wedding feast to conjure and cookAn infidelity to investigateA lost soul to set freeAs the sun rises two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same.The sky is pink, and some wonder if it will ever be blue again.Out in hardback, ebook and audiobook on 15 April, available to pre-order now.Follow @LeoneRoss and @readlikeapod on Twitter.
  • 3. 12 - Catriona Ward

    In this episode of Read Like a Writer, Catriona Ward discusses her novel The Last House on Needless Street and chooses some books from her shelves, as well as telling us about her favourite indie bookshops. The Last House on Needless Street, a book in which nothing is what it seems, was described by Stephen King as the best thing he's read since Gone Girl. Follow Catriona on Twitter: @catrionawardAnna Fielding is a journalist and event host. Follow Anna on Twitter: @anna_annaFollow @readlikeapod on Twitter.About The Last House on Needless Street'The buzz is real ... I've read it and was blown away' Stephen King'Books like this don't come along too often' Joanne Harris'Believe the hype' Kiran Milwood HargraveThis is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies.Buy your copy 
  • 2. 11 – Salena Godden

    In this episode, poet, activist, broadcaster, essayist and now novelist Salena Godden speaks about her debut novel (Mrs Death Misses Death), her favourite independent bookshop and recommends five brilliant writers’ books. About Mrs Death Misses Death: Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen. Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced – or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated – their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans’ fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her…Mrs Death Misses Death is published by Canongate: ‘A modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress leavened with caustic wit . . . an elegant, occasionally uproarious, danse macabre’ Guardian‘Lyrical, powerful and definitely one you need to read’ Stylist Anna Fielding is a journalist and event host. Follow her on Twitter: @anna_anna Here are the books discussed and recommended in this episode: The Collected Short Stories by Jean Rhys:Good Morning Midnight by Jean Rhys:Leaving Mr Mackenzie by Jean Rhys:Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys:The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathXstabeth by David KeenanThe Future Starts Here by John HiggsWatling Street by John HiggsWilliam Blake vs. The World by John HiggsButterfly Fish by Irenosen OkojieNudi Branch by Irenosen OkojieSpeak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie
  • 1. 10 - Torrey Peters

    In the first episode of season 2 of Read Like a Writer, Torrey Peters discusses her debut novel, Detransition, Baby, a uniquely trans take on motherhood, love and friendship. Follow Torrey on Twitter: @torreypetersAnna Fielding is a journalist and event host. Follow Anna on Twitter: @anna_annaFollow @readlikeapod on Twitter.'Irresistible ... Detransition, Baby is the first great trans realist novel' Grace Lavery, Guardian'A voraciously knowing, compulsively readable novel' Chris Kraus'Tremendously funny and sexy as hell' Juliet JacquesReese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn't hate. She'd scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina's pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family - and raise the baby together?Buy your copy1.) Book you recommend most frequently Honestly, probably Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels—But read out of order. I recommend that people read them in this order: Book 2, Book 3, Book 1, Book 4. Because that sort of simulates how I experience adult life, where midway through, I sort of reexamined my childhood to understand why I am how I am. Skipping book 1 in the Neapolitan novels creates a similar effect. 2.) Book which people might be surprised you love The Passage by Justin Cronin. What can I say? I like an exciting action vampire thriller! 3.) Book or writer which inspired your most recent publication Maggie Nelson’s Argonauts. I wanted to be in conversation with her. I was arguing with her book in my head before I started mine. 4.) Favourite classic Halldor Laxness’ Independent People. Nobel Prize winner, but that makes it seem stuffy. It's really weird and funny and touching. Lots of sheep.  5.) Upcoming fiction title you have recently read The Years by Annie Ernaux completely shocked me and is a style of writing that I don’t see so much in American writing, and wish I saw more of it. 6.) Upcoming non-fiction title you have recently read Norweigian Wood by Lars Mytting. A guide to chopping wood, but really so so much more. It was a best seller in Scandanavia, I think. 7.) The book you go back to The Possessed by Elif Batuman. I just love this book so much and I’m always going to it for style pointers and voice. I am such a fan and when she blurbed my book, I almost couldn’t handle it. Go to to purchase your copies.
  • 9. 9 - Live from London Book Fair: Historical Fiction Special with Jess Kidd, Claire McGlasson & Alix Nathan

    A very special episode, live from London Book Fair: host Anna Fielding is joined by three authors for a discussion of historical fiction, the genre that unites their latest books:Jess Kidd's Things in Jars is set in London in 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet: the kidnapping of a young girl. But Christabel Berwick is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist. As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times. (Canongate, April 2019)Meanwhile Claire McGlasson's The Rapture centres on Dilys, a devoted member of a terribly English cult: The Panacea Society, populated almost entirely by virtuous single ladies. When she strikes up a friendship with Grace, a new recruit, God finally seems to be smiling upon her.But Dilys is wary of their leader's zealotry and suspicious of those who would seem to influence her for their own ends. As her feelings for Grace bloom, the Society around her begins to crumble. Faith is supplanted by doubt as both women come to question what is true and fear what is real. (Faber & Faber, June 2019)And The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan takes the late eighteenth century as its setting. Inspired by a real document uncovered by Nathan, it tells the story of a semi-literatre labourer, John Warlow, recruited by a wealthy man of science to live, as an experiment, in the cellar of the main house, without human contact but with meals and luxuries provided, for a period of seven years. The experiment is, of course, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone mad, that promises unforeseen consequences for all included. In this seductive tale of self-delusion and obsession, Alix Nathan has created an utterly transporting historical novel which is both elegant and unforgettably sinister. (Serpent's Tail, July 2019)Listen to Alix, Claire and Jess discuss their novels with Anna, tell you about books they've loved or yearn to read, and about their favourite independent bookshops.
  • 8. 8 - Carmen Maria Machado

    Carmen Maria Machado's genre-bending short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, has met with widespread acclaim. Shortlisted for the American National Book Award and the International Dylan Thomas Prize, it demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Startling narratives map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited on their bodies, both in myth and in practice. It is a dark, shimmering slice of fiction, that reminded reviewers of Angela Carter.We caught up with Carmen in the summer of 2018 in Edinburgh, where she was appearing at the book festival, and asked her to tell us about books she loves and the bookshops she can't resist. Carmen responded with a brilliant selection of books with one thing in common: they are all retellings of myths.Her Body and Other Parties is published by Serpent's Tail and out now in paperback from all good bookshops.