Derek Owusu's debut novel was the first fiction to be published by Stormzy's fledgling imprint #Merky Books and went on to win the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. In this episode we hear from Derek about the mental health crisis that first encouraged him to put pen to paper, from his editor Tom Avery about changing the mainstream and from chair of judges Preti Taneja, herself a previous winner of the prize, about why this book is so special.
More episodes from "The Waterstones Podcast"
How We Made: That Reminds Me with Derek Owusu
27:11Derek Owusu's debut novel was the first fiction to be published by Stormzy's fledgling imprint #Merky Books and went on to win the Desmond Elliot Prize in 2020. In this episode we hear from Derek about the mental health crisis that first encouraged him to put pen to paper, from his editor Tom Avery about changing the mainstream and from chair of judges Preti Taneja, herself a previous winner of the prize, about why this book is so special. Featuring: Derek Owusu, Tom Avery, Preti Taneja
BONUS: Fry's Ties with Stephen Fry
30:07It was during a lockdown tidying spree that Stephen Fry reacquainted himself with his substantial tie collection. It will come as no surprise that a man who had over 40 ties by the age of 15, now had a collection in the hundreds. What was surprising was how easily the memories associated with those ties came back to him and so after sharing some of the stories on Instagram we now have a gorgeous book version, Fry’s Ties. To celebrate it we took a walk with Stephen along Jermyn Street, home to both him and Waterstones and a series of men’s outfitters whose history is inextricably tied to this most individual piece of clothing.
How We Made: A Brief History Of Seven Killings with Marlon James
48:04Marlon James became the first Jamaican-born writer to win the Booker Prize in 2015, when his multi-voiced epic, A Brief History of Seven Killings triumphed amongst a strong shortlist. In this episode we hear from the author about how the novel took its shape, from the publisher about what makes the book such a compelling read and from one of the judges about why it emerged as their unanimous winner. Featuring: Marlon James, Juliet Mabey, Sam Leith.
This Is The Book: We Are Not Like Them
32:27We Are Not Like Them shows the impact of a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager from a different angle. Two close friends, Jen and Riley, one white, one black, one the wife of the police officer responsible, one the news anchor charged with covering the story. A premise made all the more intriguing as it was written by not one author but two, Jo Piazza and Christine Pride, one white, one black, both working together to create an unflinching novel that will start conversations. Featuring: Jo Piazza, Christine Pride, Manpreet Grewal, Stephanie Heathcote
This Is The Book: The Dust Never Settles
38:18Some debut novelists arrive fully formed and as we’ll discover in this episode, Karina Lickorish Quinn is one such novelist; an Anglo-Peruvian writer who has drawn on family memories and the wider history of Peru to create a novel about home, injustice and ghosts that recalls Faulkner’s famous line, ‘The past is never dead. It's not even past.’ Coming from a publisher that has already chalked up multiple Booker Prize wins in recent years you’ll want to know why this year, for them, This Is The Book. Featuring: Karina Lickorish Quinn, Juliet Mabey, Kate Bland, Ben Summers, Seren Adams.
This Is The Book: Empress & Aniya
25:00Sometimes all you need is a one sentence pitch to immediately get excited about a book. And when publisher Knights Of announced earlier this year that they would be publishing Empress & Aniya, a YA novella from Candice Carty-Williams which would be South London’s answer to Freaky Friday, you could almost hear the whoops and squeals across social media. In this episode we’ll hear from author, publisher and early readers about why, particularly if you’re a teenage girl, This Is The Book. Featuring: Candice Carty-Williams, Aimée Felone, Eishar Brar, Tanya Byrne.
How We Made: Signs Preceding The End Of The World with Yuri Herrera
33:16The rich mythology and linguistic skills on display in Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding The End Of The World had been thought by some to make it untranslatable but in this episode we hear from the author about the mythical basis for this modern tale of border crossing, from translator Lisa Dillman about meeting the challenges of bringing the Spanish text to an English readership, from cultural critic and commentator Maya Jaggi about what makes the book so special and from publisher Stefan Tobler about why translating fiction is so important to And Other Stories as they celebrate their 10th birthday. Featuring: Yuri Herrera, Stefan Tobler, Lisa Dillman, Maya Jaggi
This Is The Book: Keeping The House
44:41Publisher And Other Stories have spent the last decade bringing bold new voices to English readers and in their anniversary year they continue to break new ground. Interdisciplinary artist Tice Cin takes the reader inside the Turkish men's clubs and households of North London for a unique perspective on the heroin trade that spans generations and borders. In this episode we hear from those around the publication about what makes Cin so exciting as an artist and she shares some of what she has had to go through to bring us this striking debut novel. Featuring: Tice Cin, Max Porter, Stefan Tobler, Nichola Smalley, Donald Winchester.
How We Made: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell with Susanna Clarke
42:01When Susanna Clarke's magical vision of an alternate Georgian England arrived it became an instant bestseller but as we discover in this episode, the book's journey was far from certain. Clarke shares how a writer's confidence can wax and wane and we discover how secret support behind the scenes helped her writing come into the light. Featuring Neil Gaiman and voices from publishing and bookselling, this is the inside story of an 'instant' classic. Featuring: Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Alexandra Pringle, Kathleen Farrar, Josh Prince, Becky Kelly
How We Made: H is for Hawk with Helen Macdonald
37:46In 2014 a book with a striking bird on its cover appeared in bookshops but what kind of book was it? Was it a memoir about grief, or a book about training a goshawk? Was it a biography of T. H. White, or was it nature writing? Or was it perhaps a melding of all of these things? And how did this hybrid book go on to become an award winner and international bestseller? In this episode we hear from Helen Macdonald about turning grief into almost a new genre of writing and from the team at publisher Jonathan Cape, which celebrates its centenary this year, about creating a modern classic. Featuring: Helen Macdonald, Dan Franklin, Suzanne Dean, Chris Wormell, Ruth Waldram, Rob Verner Jeffreys, Steve Bundy