Episoder

  • Simon speaks with Jeffrey Archer, a novelist whose books have sold more than 275 million copies worldwide. Archer wrote his first novel aged 34, when a failed business deal left him heavy in debt. His third novel, Kane and Abel, sold over a million copies in its first week of release in 1979. He has now written more than 20 novels, alongside short stories, a play and non-fiction, and is published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages. Archer was deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in the 1980s and in 1999 stood as the  Conservative candidate for mayor of London. In November that year, he withdrew his candidacy, having been charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He served two years in prison. Archer spoke about the experience of life as a best-selling author, how he combines a rigorous writing routine with lack of pre-planning of plot, and his relationships with publishers and editors.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Eleanor and Simon speak with Zahra Hankir, journalist and editor of Our Women on the Ground, an anthology of essays from Arab women reporting from the Arab world, published this month by Penguin. Zahra spoke about her personal connection as an Arab woman to these journalists, their stories and their work. She discussed the difficulties of compiling and editing an anthology broaching delicate political topics that could prove dangerous to their writers. She also talked about whether she ever worries about feeling professionally pigeonholed by her heritage and "specialist subject".

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

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  • Eleanor speaks with Jamie Glazebrook, the executive producer of hit BBC series Peaky Blinders, whose fifth series will air later this year. Peaky Blinders, which has won a slew of television awards, follows the exploits of the eponymous Birmingham-based gang in the years after the First World War. Jamie discussed whether we have reached peak TV, the influence of the streaming giants and whether the TV and film industry still has a class problem. Jamie himself has developed and produced television in the UK since the nineties – working for many leading production companies including Talkback, Tiger Aspect and HatTrick. His credits include The 11'O Clock Show, High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman, and BAFTA-nominated The IT Crowd.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Eleanor and Simon speak with Ruth Padel, who is a poet, novelist, critic and Professor of Poetry at King’s College London. Ruth spoke about her verse biography of her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin, as well as her upcoming verse biography of Beethoven, Beethoven Variations. Ruth also discussed her brief tenure as Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 2009, and her view on the new generation of Instagram poets.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon speaks to James Graham, one of Britain's best known contemporary playwrights who has also written widely for film and television. James' first award was the Pearson Playwriting Bursary in 2006. His big break came when his 2012 play This House, written for the National Theatre and set in the British parliament in the 1970s, enjoyed a sell out run and garnered widespread critical acclaim. His subsequent work includes the 2017 play Ink, about the early days of Rupert Murdoch, and this year's film Brexit: An Uncivil War, which was broadcast on Channel 4 and HBO and starred Benedict Cumberbatch. James spoke about how he broke into writing for the theatre and later television, his methods for researching and creating drama based on both recent and historical political events, and the economics of the business.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon speaks to Christina Lamb, one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents who has documented conflict across the world, from Afghanistan to Rwanda. Currently chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times, Christina discussed balancing her war reporting duties with her work as an author, including writing I Am Malala and her most recent book Our Bodies, Their Battlefields, about women in war. She also talked about getting arrested and deported in Pakistan while reporting for the Financial Times, and the impact her work has had on her mental health.

    http://christinalamb.net/articles/it-was-what-we-feared.html

    http://christinalamb.net/articles/yazidis.html

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon and Eleanor speak to Jon Lee Anderson, a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine and veteran war correspondent. Jon Lee began his career in the early 1980s, reporting on Central America. As a New Yorker staff writer since 1998, he has reported from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Liberia and many other countries. Jon Lee spoke about about the myths and realities of conflict journalism, the time he discovered the hidden grave of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and the experience of profiling Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1998/10/19/the-dictator-2

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Che-Guevara-Revolutionary-Jon-Anderson/dp/0553406647

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon speaks with Anna Codrea-Rado, a freelance journalist who has written for titles including the New York Times and Wired, and who now advocates for better conditions for freelancers, through her #FairPayForFreelancers campaign, her popular newsletter The Professional Freelancer, and FJ&Co, a platform that provides tools and resources and organises events. Alongside discussing her campaigning, Anna, who studied journalism at Columbia in New York, talks about the potential pitfalls of journalism degrees, including the way they can contribute to elitism within the industry. She also discusses the pressure she felt to become a "real journalist" while working on an alumni magazine, before she became staff at the Guardian and then VICE, and her own later moves to establish herself as a freelancer.

    https://twitter.com/annacod?lang=en

    https://twitter.com/fjandco

    https://theprofessionalfreelancer.substack.com/

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon and Eleanor speak to British magazine writer Ed Caesar, who was recently made a contributing writer at the New Yorker and whose work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Wired, GQ and numerous other publications. Ed talked about his early career at the Independent, his decision to go freelance, breaking into the American market and the challenges of balancing his writing work and travel with his domestic commitments. He also discussed why he chooses not to live in London.

    https://edcaesar.co.uk/2011/05/04/isner-mahut-endless-tennis-gq/

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/01/house-of-secrets

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/magazine/uss-wasp-lost-world-war-ii-aircraft-carrier.html

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon and Eleanor speak to Ann Goldstein, who translated Elena Ferrante's phenomenally successful Neapolitan novels (My Brilliant Friend and its three sequels) out of Italian and into English. Ann also had a long and distinguished career as an editor at the New Yorker, where she rose to become head of the copy department. Ann spoke about the process of literary translation, the challenges of working with a writer whose identity she did not know, and also how the world of magazines has changed since she began her working life in the 1970s.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Eleanor speaks to Kamal Ahmed, editorial director of BBC News and one of Britain’s most prominent journalists. He joined the BBC in April 2014 as business editor after a 20-year career in newspapers, including the Guardian, the Observer and the Sunday and Daily Telegraph. Kamal spoke about reshaping the BBC for a younger, more-open minded generation, and about the difficulties of maintaining a publicly apolitical stance.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon and Eleanor speak to Pandora Sykes, journalist and co-host of the hugely successful podcast the High Low. Pandora began her journalistic career at the Sunday Times, where she held the position of fashion features editor and wrote the Wardrobe Mistress column for the paper's Style magazine. She has written for numerous other titles including Elle, the Telegraph, the Guardian, Marie Claire, and the Spectator, and consults widely for a range of brands from Topshop to Cartier.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/when-hungry-bum-attacks-0gp0kqcg9q2

    https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/how-bff-marketing-became-the-m-o-for-womens-direct-to-consumer-brands

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • In an episode recorded live at the Well Told longform journalism conference in London, Simon and Eleanor speak with author and journalist Andrew Hankinson. Hankinson has written magazine features for the Observer, Wired and Cosmo, and is author of literary nonfiction book You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life, a retelling of the last eight days of killer Raoul Moat and his stand off with the Northumbrian police in 2010. Hankinson spoke about why he chose to write in the rarely used second person and how he got the idea for his book, as well as how, as a result of bad editing and pay, he has stopped pitching to magazines. We hope you enjoy the episode.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon and Eleanor speak to Jennifer Croft, who won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Olga Tokarczuk’s Polish novel Flights. Jennifer, currently based in New York, has received a slew of other plaudits for her work, including NEA, Cullman, PEN, Fulbright and MacDowell awards, as well as the inaugural Michael Henry Heim Prize for Translation. Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Granta, Vice, n+1 and the Guardian. We spoke to Jennifer about her entry into translation, her longstanding relationship with Tokarczuk, the potential role of artificial intelligence in translation and her own upcoming memoir Homesick, which she first wrote in Spanish.

    https://twitter.com/jenniferlcroft

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon speaks to Alex Perry, who is a reporter, author and writer for film and television. His books include The Good Mothers, about the women who exposed the true might of the Calabrian mafia, which was excerpted in the New Yorker. His journalism has additionally appeared in The Guardian, The Sunday Times magazine, TIME, Newsweek, and other publications. Alex spoke to Simon about his first overseas assignment, what it's like reporting from danger zones including Afghanistan in 2001, working as a bureau chief in India and Africa, and how The Good Mothers is currently being developed into a television project.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Eleanor and Simon speak to Farrah Storr, editor-in-chief of the British edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. In her current role since 2015, Farrah was previously the launch editor of Women’s Health. She has won a slew of awards, including 'New Editor of the Year' in 2014 and 'Editor of the Year' (Men's and Women's category) in 2018 from the British Society of Magazine Editors, and is also author of the book The Discomfort Zone. Farrah spoke about the evolution of her career, whether 'women's magazine' is still a useful term, the position of reported journalism in Cosmopolitan and how the magazine now shows a wider variety of women's bodies than in the past.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon speaks to Dan Franklin, associate publisher at Jonathan Cape and one of the most celebrated book editors in the United Kingdom. Franklin talked about how the world of books has evolved since he started his career in the 1970s, the experience of editing some of Britain's most well known literary novelists, including Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes, and also publishing some more eclectic books, including Michael Jackson's autobiography 'Moonwalk' and Madonna's 'Sex.'

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon and Eleanor speak with Rebecca Mead, a longtime staff writer at the New Yorker magazine who recently returned to the UK after many years in the United States. Rebecca spoke about her early career as a fact-checker, how she moved into writing her own features, first at New York magazine and later for the New Yorker, and lifted the lid on some of the internal processes at the celebrated magazine, from the process of assigning stories to the practicalities of spending months reporting individual assignments. She also spoke about My Life in Middlemarch, her book length tribute to George Eliot's great nineteenth century novel.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Simon speaks with Mark Haddon, who won the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year award for his bestselling novel A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Haddon also teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and Oxford University. He spoke to Simon about how writing and illustrating children's books provided a stepping stone to writing for adults, and about his very first (unpublished) novel, which could be published as a warning "for young men who think they're rather clever". Haddon also discussed the distance he keeps from Curious Incident, as well as his upcoming novel Porpoise.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.

  • Eleanor speaks with Alexa von Hirschberg, a senior commissioning editor at Bloomsbury Publishing. Alexa began her career in 2007 at Canongate Books. In 2008 she joined Bloomsbury as an editorial assistant, working with authors including Colum McCann, Lawrence Norfolk, Margaret Atwood and William Boyd. Today her list includes Kate Tempest, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Aminatta Forna, Alexei Sayle and Laurie Penny.

    We spoke about how Alexa found her way through the British publishing landscape, the experience of editing Reni Eddo-Lodge and the demands of writing cover copy for Margaret Atwood.

    You can find us online at alwaystakenotes.com, on Twitter @takenotesalways, and on Facebook at facebook.com/alwaystakenotes. Our crowdfunding page is patreon.com/alwaystakenotes. Always Take Notes is presented by Eleanor Halls and Simon Akam, and produced by Nicola Kean. Zahra Hankir is our communities editor. Our music is by Jessica Dannheisser and our logo was designed by James Edgar.