Resolutions and Bookish Podcasts!

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I did set myself a few small, achieveable goals.

Two of these are book-related. The first is to read more poetry, which is quite ironic given my job and the second is to listen to more podcasts, particuarly of the book variety.

I don’t listen to podcasts at all, which is really down to not finding the time, but I seem to have plenty of time to play Candy Crush and scroll aimlessly through Instagram and Twitter, so I thought I’d try and put that time to better use.

So far, it’s been great! I’ve discovered some great podcasts, a few focused solely on Irish literature and I’m really enjoying spending time in the aural company of people who love to talk about books.

Here are a few of my favourites that I’ve discovered so far.

Backlisted Podcast


I mean, come on, this podcast was really made for me! A bookish podcast that features a guest (usually a writer) who has chosen a book they love and which they think deserves a wider audience. It isn’t about pushing the latest new book: it’s about how and why some books stand the test of time. Presented by Andy Miller and John Mutchison, Backlisted is funny, entertaining and inspiring. Just be prepared to come away with a list of books a mile long that you want to check out! There are 108 existing episodes and you can see the full list here.

Favourite episodes so far…

Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice – this episode features actor Samuel West who is a massive fan of Autumn Journal and I can’t urge you enough to have a listen, just to hear how beautifully West reads these words.


All the Devils Are Here by David Seabrook – in this episode the Observer journalist Rachel Cooke discusses All the Devils Are Here by David Seabrook, a book that blew my little mind when I read it over Christmas.

Alma Cogan by Gordon Burn – The brilliant Benjamin Myers and Adelle Stipe join the team to chat about the amazing Gordon Burn, who is one of my favourite writers. This is an episode where I furiously jotted down every other book that was mentioned!

Words Lightly Spoken


Words Lightly Spoken is a weekly podcast of poetry from Ireland presented by Poetry Ireland and funded the Arts Council of Ireland. In each episode a poet reads one of their poems, with an introduction. These are little three and four minute episodes that are perfect if you want a little burst of poetry to brighten your day.

Favourite episodes so far…

Michael Longley reads A Sonnet For Michael Viney


Colette Bryce reads And They Call It Lovely Derry

Paul Muldoon reads The Birth

No Alibis Press Podcast



The fabulous No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast has recently moved into publishing with their highly successful No Alibis Press, and now comes the podcast! Hosted by No Alibis founder and all round Belfast legend David Torrens and by Emma Warnock of No Alibis Press, this podcasts chats to the writers published by No Alibis Press about all things book-related!

Favourite episodes so far…

June Caldwell – June Caldwell wrote the introduciton to the short story anthology Still Worlds Turning for No Alibis Press and this episode features her chatting with Emma Warnock about the rules of short story writing and why they need to be broken.

Wendy Erskine – Wendy chats to David about her life before writing as a teacher and reads her wonderfully titled story ‘NOTES FOR THE ATTENTION OF THOSE WORKING IN THE XANADU NIGHTCLUB, THE HENNESSEY COURT HOTEL, BELFAST, 1983, found in the pocket of an old handbag when cleaning a roofspace, 2018’ I mean, come on?! You need to listen to that.


The Books that Made Me


Described as ‘the desert island discs of books’, The Books that Made Me invites Irish writers and broadcasters to chat with Vicky Kavanagh about the books that have influenced them and made them the writers, and the readers, that they are today.

Favourite episodes so far…

Jan Carson – the always brilliant Jan Carson, author of The Fire Starters chats about her love of George Saunders and Agatha Christie; how Wuthering Heights is a dangerous book to teach 17 year old girls and how The Tiger Came to Tea was her first experience of magic realism. Her enthusiasm for Flannery O’Connor will make you want to go and read her whole back catalogue again!

Lisa Coen & Sarah Davis Goff of Tramp Press –  Lisa Coen and Sarah Davis Goff are the powerhouses behind independant publishers Tramp Press. Here they chat about the chilled writing approach of Nigel Slater, the problematic nature of Enid Blyton, the brilliance of Anne Enright’s writing on childbirth and motherhood and the joy of a mashed potato sandwich!


So, those are the podcasts I’ve been loving this January – do any of these take your fancy?

Do send me recommendations of bookish podcasts you’ve been listening to!

The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

22 Comments Leave a comment

  1. These look brilliant. I’ve read Andy MIller’s book and follow him on Twitter so I know Backlisted will be good. The trouble I have with podcasts is that as a transcriber, I get twitchy listening to people interviewing each other, which is what they usually sound like, as I feel I should be typing them. In fact I do transcribe actual podcasts sometimes! Also I’d have to have them booming through the house as I wear headphones for transcribing and don’t like to wear them elsewhere. But I am fully congnisant of the fact that I am missing out massively!


  2. Backlisted really is the cream of the crop. I want to check out The Books That Made Me! I am very behind on bookish podcasts. Another couple I love are: What Page Are You On (UK, very funny and snarky), Literary Disco (US, very funny), Reading Envy (US, very laid back).

    So, what was your second resolution? 🙂


  3. Hi Cathy and Happy New Year. I haven’t listened to podcasts but it seems everyone else does! Thanks for the recommendations – there’s always room in the day to switch out a mindless activity 🙂


  4. I love Backlisted – unlike many podcasts I’ve tried (and abandoned) the discussion is intelligent and you don’t get any of that ridiculous hyper excitement about the latest novel from xyz author or people boasting about advance copies.
    I like the sound of The Books That Made Me which I’ve not heard of previously. Thanks for that lead Cathy.
    One that I can recommend is Tea or Books with Simon and Rachel which always has a general discussion topic and then discussion on two books that may be connected by theme or genre. They rarely choose contemporary books which is refreshing


  5. I am a true podcast junkie (which is why, I think, I never seem to get around to audiobooks properly – too many amazing podcasts taking up all my earbud time!). I love The To Read List podcast, the hosts are just delightful and I think you’d really relate to their mission 😉 Also, Harry Potter And The Sacred Text is truly fascinating, I honestly think it’s changed the way I think about books (and, by extension, the world)!


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