Listen to the Banned

The new episode of We’d Like A Word is here and in this episode Paul and Stevyn are talking to US author Alan Drew about his books and about the topic of censorship.

Alan Drew is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Gardens of Water and the taut thriller Shadow Man. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and associate professor of English at Villanova University, where he directs the creative writing program. He lives near Philadelphia with his wife and family.

Alan’s first book Gardens of Water follows the story of two families during a massive earthquake in Turkey in 1999. And, as Alan explains, the story brought him into conflict with the Turkish authorities.

It prompted us to look at books that people have tried to censor or ban altogether … and we found more than a few surprises. Just cast your eyes over this list on Wikipedia.

The American Library Association also publishes an interesting list of the Top Ten, year by year, of the most challenged books.

Banned Books Week takes place every September and the website has some interesting resources.

Enjoy the podcast.

Gold Finch

On our latest episode of We’d Like a Word, we are delighted to welcome Alison Finch, BBC Radio’s ‘Books Bitch’ (as she calls herself). Alison is the person who decides what books get promoted on shows like Front Row, Saturday Live, Open Book, Woman’s Hour, Loose Ends and many more for Radio 4, Radio 3 and the World Service.

We celebrate inspirational librarians and small press publishers, and discuss why there should be fewer books and how authors get chosen to appear on the radio.

Available on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor FM and anywhere else you find good podcasts.

Among the books we mention in this episode are:

Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Everisto (this year’s joint Booker winner)

The Dark Gentleman – G B Stern

You will be Safe here – Damian Barr

Vernon God Little – D B C Pierre

Skios – Michael Frayn

To Calais in Ordinary Time – James Meek

Stories for South Asian Supergirls – Raj Kaur Khaira

The Wake – Paul Kingsnorth

Girl – Edna O’Brien

Lost for Words – Edward St Aubyn

The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

A Rising Man – Abir Mukherjee

Also mentioned are The Pigeonhole, Bluemoose Books and Abebooks

The First Six Months

It’s been a pretty cool first six months for the We’d Like A Word podcast. We’ve met some stellar writers like Anthony Horowitz, Will Dean, Belinda Bauer, Adrian McKinty, Helen Cullen, Matt Wesolowski, Aiden Conway, Denise Mina and Gerard Brennan. We’ve discussed fly sex with Dr Erica McAlister, got squiffy in Richard Walmsley’s kitchen while taking about books set in Italy, and we’ve discussed bum reading – or rumpology – with Odditorium curator Dr David Bramwell. We’ve been philosophical with Jamie Cawley and had a good laugh with the legend that is Graham Norton. But it hasn’t all been writers; we’ve also talked to publicist extraordinaire Angela McMahon and, in future episodes we’ll be talking to editors, agents, book commissioners and the lady who decides what gets to air on Radio 4. We’re planning future shows to discuss poetry, songwriting and book design.

But what would YOU like to hear about?

Please email us at wedlikeaword@gmail.com

Because we’d like a word (or two) from you.

Paul and Steve

Writing advice from Anthony Horowitz

We try to ask our We’d Like A Word guests to share a writing tip for other authors and aspiring authors.

This one comes from Anthony Horowitz, who you can also hear at fascinating length on our podcast which is about Life After Death: Giving new life to classic characters after their original authors have died. Like Anthony Horowitz does with James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.

David Bramwell’s Odditorium, weird bum reading and Jacob Rees Mogg

Dr David Bramwell

‘A small Odditorium’ featuring Dr David Bramwell. In this episode author, musician, truth-seeker, Utopian and all round oddfellow Dr David Bramwell discusses bum readers, the world’s largest underground temple, a haunted moustache, Jacob Rees Mogg and singalonga Wicker Man. And we’ll be asking … is Milton Keynes the new Stonehenge?

Our competition question is: What is the official term for a bum reader? Listen to the podcast and email your answer to wedlikeaword@gmail.com


Anthony Horowitz on James Bond & giving life after death

Anthony Horowitz looking like he’s up in front of a firing squad. Picture taken at the wonderful Noireland international crime fiction festival in Belfast.

Anthony Horowitz admits he’s a killer. Dozens of times over. The thing is, we’re not just talking about the dozens and dozens he’s dispatched in the pages of his many books or TV shows like Midsommer Murders and Foyle’s War. But that’s all I’m saying here. You can hear his startling revelations from his own mouth on the latest episode of We’d Like A Word.

Our official topic is life after death – whether it’s right for new authors to give extended life to characters after their original authors have died. Anthony Horowitz does it – and does it well – with Sherlock Holmes and most recently with James Bond in Forever and A Day. (You can win a copy of that in the competition – details on the podcast.)

But we talk about a lot else and a lot of other authors, in particular Sophie Hannah, who has brought Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot back to life.

You’ll also hear Anthony Horowitz read from his James Bond book, let slip his views on Brexit, villains and where he writes.

Graham Norton – can celebs write good fiction?

Graham Norton and Stevyn Colgan on We’d Like A Word

It’s Graham Norton! Yes, that Graham Norton on We’d Like A Word. Talking about his own writing and whether celebrities can ever be good authors? It’s on the radio at 7pm UK time tonight (Wednesday 8th May 2019) Wycombe Sound 106.6 FM. And then via the podcast afterwards.

Graham Norton – comedian, TV star and Father Ted legend – tells us about his other life as an author. He’s written two novels – Holding and now A Keeper. But are they any good? Are they funny? Are they even supposed to be? Do celebrities famous for something entirely different make good writers? Graham Norton may be hilARious (he is), but can he write? You’ll have to listen to this episode of We’d Like A Word to find out. He reads from his second novel A Keeper, talks about how he writes, how he gathers material and about Ireland. There’s also a competition to win one of Graham’s books – but you’ll have to listen to find out.

Writing advice from Will Dean

Some of our We’d Like A Word guests have been kind enough (and sometimes we’ve been organised enough) to provide their writing tips for other authors and aspiring authors.

This one comes from Will Dean, the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow– who you can also hear at fascinating length on our podcast which asks – Is Scandi Noir still Sandi Noir if it’s written by a Brit?



Our first episode – with Will Dean

Our first podcast episode of We’d Like A Word is now live around the world – well, online anyway. Our first guest is Will Dean, the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow – two dark thrillers set in the claustrophobic Swedish forest featuring newspaper reporter Tuva Moodyson. The topic for this episode is: Is Scandi Noir still Scandi Noir if it’s written by a Brit?

On this episode Will reveals his writing secrets, his creep book and the title of his third book (not out yet). And the answer to the competition. (So listen in.)

The picture is a teaser for an exclusive video from Will Dean just for you, dear listener. Coming soon.

The We’d Like A Word podcast is available on seven or so platforms, including Anchor, Google, Spotify, iTunes / Apple Music and others. Just search for it by name in the usual place you find your podcasts. Or click on the link below. And you can contact us via wedlikeaword@gmail.com

On the radio (with Will Dean) …

The first episode of We’d Like A Word is broadcast at 7pm tonight (UK time) on Wycombe Sound 106.6 FM. If you’re one of the 50,000 #Wycso listeners in the south Buckinghamshire region of England, I hope you can join us. (If you’re not in that patch, don’t worry, the podcast will be released tomorrow.) We’re kicking off with Will Dean, the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow – two thrillers set in the Swedish forest featuring newspaper reporter Tuva Moodyson. The topic for tonight’s show is – Is Scandi Noir still Scandi Noir if it’s written by a Brit? Will lives in a Swedish forest himself – he built a cabin there – and writes surrounded by moose, trees, snow, more trees and more snow. If you want to know what his third book will be called – listen in. There’ll also be a competition. Again, you’ll have to listen. (That’s Will with Paul (eek! where’s his beard gone?- half of We’d Like A Word – below, at Will’s Red Snow book launch in the excellent Goldsboro Books. Goldsboro is well worth a visit if you’re near Leicester Square or Charing Cross Road in London.)

Paul Waters and Will Dean at Goldsboro Books