#30 Talking about the habit of writing with Joanna Nadin

Jo is a multitasker. She has written for prime ministers and celebrities, published her own novels for children and adults, and teaches creative writing, first at Bath Spa and now at the Universtiy of Bristol, where she’s a senior lecturer. One of the things I wanted to talk about was the thorny old question of whether writing can be taught, and if so, what can students can reasonably expect to learn.

Jo is the author of the Penny Dreadful series and the Rachel Riley books, and we discuss the importance of funny books for children, and her tips on how to write them. I think her partnership with Chris Hoy and the illustrator Clare Elsom in the Flying Fergus series is the model for celebrity publishing, so listen out. It can be done well! 
We discuss the habit of writing, the accountability of Zoom writing sessions in lockdown – highly recommended, even now – and getting your book made into a BAFTA-winning TV show. Does it change your life? Am I talking to Jo as she lounges by her pool in the South of France? What are the average hourly earnings for writers, by the way? 
When we spoke, Jo’s latest adult novel, The Talk of Pram Town, was about to be launched. I absolutely loved this book. It’s set between the 1980s of the royal wedding, and the late 1960s, telling the story of Jean, her runaway daugther Connie and her daughter Sadie. When Connie dies, Jean takes her granddaughter back to Harlow in Essex, where Connie grew up. I think of it as a story of Essex, sex and secrets. It’s heartbreaking and funny and true. Jo’s prose is brilliant and her dialogue is spot on. It didn’t get the launch it deserved because of lockdown, so do look out for it. 


Jo's website: https://joannanadin.com 
Bath Spa MA for writers for children and young adults: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-writing-for-young-people/ 
Bristol University MA Creative Writing: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/2021/arts/ma-creative-writing/ 
Jo All Alone TV series: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8047424/ 
Lollies book awards (for laugh out loud books): https://shop.scholastic.co.uk/lollies. 
Be Amazing! An inspiring guide to being your own champion by Sir Chris Hoy: https://www.waterstones.com/book/be-amazing-an-inspiring-guide-to-being-your-own-champion/sir-chris-hoy/9781406394733 
Jo and Sir Chris Hoy talking about writing the Flying Fergus series together: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/authors-live-on-demand/chris-hoy-and-joanna-nadin 
Into The Woods by John Yorke: https://www.waterstones.com/book/into-the-woods/john-yorke/9780141978109 
The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-science-of-storytelling/will-storr/9780008276973 
The Bestseller Experiment podcast with John Yorke as guest: https://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep034-into-the-woods-with-john-yorke/ 

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