August 18, 2021
Kia ora. It’s Rachael here. I am going to tell you about something that got me through Lockdown last year, and I hope it will help make the next few days better.
It was a UK podcast called Backlisted. The hosts, John Mitchinson and Andy Miller, became my favourite walking companions as I wandered the eerie, carless streets and up around the small patch of wetlands in Mairehau bordered by QE11 Drive. Backlisted is the ‘podcast that gives new life to old books’ but it is so much more. If you love books, you will love this podcast. With each episode, they host a different guest, whose job it is to choose a favourite book that may have been overlooked or published some time ago. They talk about the book but they also impart trivia, play music, and discuss everything under the sun (including what else they have been reading that week – which always results in a diverse list of authors). It’s erudite, funny and warm, which is just what we need in times like these, am I right?
Do yourself a favour and browse through the 140+ episodes (my personal favourites: Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban with guest Max Porter; Daphne Du Maurier‘s short stories; Beowulf; Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle; Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody?; Clarice Lispector featuring Scottish novelist David Keenan as guest; and The Dark is Risingby Susan Cooper with guest Robert MacFarlane).
It will make you profoundly fall in love with reading again, and, if you’re a writer, with writing.
And then, come and be a part of a live recording of Backlisted at WORD on 28 August (fingers crossed) as part of The Faraway Near. I loved it so much I invited them to be a part of the festival and was so excited when they said yes. They’ll be discussing a New Zealand book with writer Paula Morris as guest.
And if this doesn’t convince you, you can listen to John Mitchinson’s great interview with Kim Hill on RNZ last weekend.
See you there!