14 Literary Podcasts for Every Type of Book Person
Diverse recommendations for when your hands are too full to read
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We have just the antidote to brighten your tedious, soul-crushing commute: literary podcasts! It’s like joining a low-key bookclub with your wittiest and most intelligent friends, but minus the drama, the petty arguments about who was suppose to bring the brownies, and, you know, the actual book-reading. From a 5-minute a day poetry reading to craft advice to the low-down on literary scandals, we’ve curated a diverse selection of podcasts for every book person.
Huge thanks to Jennifer Baker, Erin Bartnett and Adam Vitcavage for their excellent literary podcast recommendations.
Generation veX by Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, Sharon Rose and Vanessa Fisher
Based in London, Generation veX is an exciting new British podcast that “focuses on books by people of colour, for people of colour.” Backed by Idris Elba’s production company and hosted by West End actors Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, Sharon Rose and Vanessa Fisher, Generation veX attempts “to navigate the confusing landscape of modern millennial identity, all with the help of some seriously good books.” Guests include Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo, Sara Collins, Derek Owusu, and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
The Bookstore by Becca Younk and Corinne Keener
Hosted by former booksellers Becca Younk and Corinne Kenner, The Bookstore is a weekly podcast with two really good friends discussing a diverse selection of books (from Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police to Dianne Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle) and giving the low-down on book news, authors feuds, and literary scandals.
The Slowdown by Tracy K. Smith in partnership with the Poetry Foundation
Don’t have time to sit through an hour-long episode? That’s fair. How about just five minutes? For five minutes a day, U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith introduces and reads a poem. Eric Silver calls The Slowdown “a literary once-a-day multivitamin to keep your body going a little bit longer.”
Ask BiGrlz by MariNaomi and Myriam Gurba
Ok ok, so this one isn’t strictly a literary podcast but it is hosted by authors Myriam Gurba and MariNaomi who are “bisexual, bi-racial/cultural and share a penchant for puns.” A comedy-advice podcast, Gurba and MariNaomi discuss feminism, culture, sexuality while doling out wisdom about writing and relationships. Past episodes have touched on cis-het marketing to queers, the boundaries between being a fan and a stalker on social media, and periods (just to clarify it’s menstruation period, and not grammar period).
Two Book Nerds Talking by Honey Ahmad and Diana Yeong
Malaysians Honey Ahmad and Diana Yeong host this delightfully nerdy and zippy podcast. From an insightful discussion about whether Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments is worth the hype to musings about the dreaded DNFs (do not finish books), Two Book Nerds Talking is a fun literary podcast that feels like sitting in a cafe with your best friend and having an animated discussion about the latest book you loved (or hated).
WMFA by Courtney Balestier
WMFA is a podcast for writers about “why and how we write.” Airing every Wednesday, episodes alternate between 30-minute conversations with authors about craft and 5-minute personal “minisodes” on creative issues. Past guests include Alexandra Chee on returning to humanity, Morgan Parker on telling hard truths, and Lisa Ko on fictionalizing real life.
Broads and Books by Amy Lee Lillard and Erin Johnston
Broads and Books is a funny feminist book podcast hosted by Amy Lee Lillard and Erin Johnston. Each episode revolves around a theme (Sex Stuff, Truth Bomb, Iowa Nice, and etc.) and four books are picked based on that theme. The lifelong friends “share embarrassing stories, unachievable reading lists, amazing business ideas, anecdotes about Podcat the cat and her latest attempts to kill them.”
Waves Breaking by Avren Keating
Hosted by poet and visual artist Avren Keating, Waves Breaking is a podcast that highlights the work of trans, genderqueer, and other gender variant poets. Past guests have included Raquel Salas Rivera, Jayy Dodd, and Andrea Abi-Karam.
Weird Kids Wanted by Miyuki Okamura and Zoe Darazsdi
Weird Kids Wanted is “for alternative individuals who are tired of their cultural experiences being curated by normies for normies. Our podcast and blog disrupt the status quo of commercialized shit lit and provide a community for weird kids to flourish.” Hosted by roommates Miyuki Okamura and Zoe Darazsdi, expect bitchy literary gossip, poignant social criticism and anti-capitalist book reviews. From topics like queerbaiting in media to Jane Eyre’s guide to taking down fuckboys to dismantling stereotypes, Weird Kids Wanted is the wickedly humorous podcast that every outsider should listen to.
The Librarian Is In by Gwen Glazer and Frank Collerius
Hosted by librarians Gwen Glazer and Frank Collerius, The Librarian Is In is New York Public Library’s podcast about “books, pop culture and the literary zeitgeist, and the world of libraries.” Past episodes have featured stories of the curiosities in NYPL’s archives, a discussion of beloved dogs in literature, and special guests.
88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang
88 Cups of Tea is a podcast for writers, each episode delves into “how-to’s and step-by-step advice to encourage and motivate your way to creative success.” From YA author Angie Thomas talking about crafting powerful narratives and finding a writing community to Molly Jaffee discussing what it takes to be a successful literary agent, 88 Cups of Tea provides craft and entrepreneurial advice to help aspiring creatives navigate the publishing industry.
Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People) with Rachel Zucker
Author and NYU professor Rachel Zucker interviews poets and other people about “recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work.” Commonplace feels like listening in “on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.”
First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing by Mitzi Rapkin
Mitzi Rapkin, the Director of Community Relations for the city of Aspen, started her weekly podcast 6 years ago. First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing features authors discussing their books and their craft. Past guests have included Karen Russell, Laila Lalami, Petina Gappah, and Tina Chang.
The Maris Review by Maris Kreizman
Culture critic Maris Kreizman speaks to writers about “the ways in which a wide variety of culture affects their work, because very few authors live in bubbles without TV and internet.” Past episodes have featured Lili Anolik talking about sending leopard-print Vans to Eve Babitz and John Hodgman on life as a very minor television personality.
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