A Guide to Literary Podcasts

A Guide to Literary Podcasts

In honor of Real Pants’ new foray into podcasting, this roundup offers an overview of the wide world of literary podcasting.

Podcasting! It’s the hip new thing. It’s more than ten years old, but nevermind that, podcasting is the hip new thing again!

If you’re new to using podcasts, the iTunes Store is a great place to start finding things to listen to. Most podcasts are free. If you browse the highlights in the iTunes Store looking for literary podcasts, here are some of the most interesting ones:

  • The New Yorker Fiction Podcast is a monthly reading and conversation with the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman.
  • Gramma Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing.
  • BookRiot’s All the Books! is a weekly show of recommendations and discussions about the most interesting and exciting new book releases.
  • Scriptnotes is hosted by screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin, who discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.

The Apple Corporation would like you to believe that the only or best way to use podcasts is by using their hardware or their software, but there are many other ways to do it. Podcasts are easy to use with many different software applications and hardware devices, and all you need to know in order to subscribe to one is the web address for the podcast feed. And if you are using that ubiquitous music software application that Apple makes, you might want to check out the “subscribe to podcast” command in the File menu. That’s how you can subscribe to any podcast, even the podcast doesn’t have the fancy “subscribe via iTunes” button. iTunes isn’t the only place to look for podcasts. The Guardian did a great roundup of “the best podcasts for stories, fiction and poetry”, for example and you can often find them from author blogs or from podcasting networks.

The “Write For Your Life” podcast is in hiatus at the moment but the older episodes are still very enjoyable. It’s “a show about creative writing, copywriting, reading, and the ever-changing publishing industry” and it is hosted on the 5by5 podcasting network which has a whole bunch of other enjoyable podcasts to offer.

Podcasts can take a variety of formats. They’re typically like radio talk shows, but not always. Some writers have taken to podcasting as a way to broadcast sections of a longer writing in progress, like a serialized novel. Serial is perhaps the most famous example of this but as Goodreads list suggests there is a thriving community of authors who publish serialized audio books, often in the genres of fantasy, romance, horror and science fiction.

The Poetry Foundation has a podcast that features poets reading their work with discussion, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to subscribe to the podcast in the usual way. You can, however, get an e-mail, whenever there’s a new episode. So, technically, this isnt’ a podcast it’s a newsletter with audio, but it’s close. Strangely, it’s not as close as the same publisher’s Poem of the Day podcast, which is an actual podcast, and works in the usual way.

It’s pretty difficult to do a comprehensive overview when there is such a rich variety of podcasts out there. What did I leave out? Feel free to post a comment about your favorite podcast.