Lend me your ears… 4 Comments

Lend me your ears…

…so I can listen to more literary-based aural magic. Seriously, I can’t get enough of the stuff – my own pair of head-based listening protrusions isn’t sufficient.

Seriously, do you guys realise how much amazingness there is out there that you can chuck on your iPod, iPhone or iPad? iPeed with excitement when I found out. Here are some of my favourites, currently using up every speck of space on my iPhone.

The New Yorker fiction podcast

So good. Every month New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman asks an insanely talented writer to pick their favourite story from any issue going back to 1925. This writer reads the story out, and then he/she and Treisman spend a few minutes discussing the story. Sounds pretty rudimentary, but the content here is unbelievably good.

My picks are (mp3 download warning): Tobias Wolff reading Denis Johnson’s ‘Emergency’, Junot Díaz reading Edwidge Danticat’s ‘Water Child’, Joshua Ferris reading George Saunders’s ‘Adams’, Mary Gaitskill reading Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Symbols and Signs’, and Tobias Wolff reading Stephanie Vaughn’s short story ‘Dog Heaven’.


Aural Text

Something to put in your weekly calendar. Every Wednesday from 12-2pm (AEST) a couple of literary luminaries (currently Alicia Sometimes and Jeff Sparrow) host this radio program on RRR, which plays and discusses pretty much anything to do with words. Check out their recent playlists for a taste.

If you can’t tune in (coz you’re not within 20 metres of the RRR studios in Brunswick) then you can listen online. Plan your Wednesday around it – it’s worth it.


The Book Show

Presented by Ramona Koval, this radio show runs every day, exploring “the many worlds in which we find readers and writers, publishers and booksellers, playwrights and lyricists, bloggers and journalists, book illustrators and type designers — all working with words and the medium of language.”

You won’t find that every episode appeals to you, but with the magic of iTunes and/or the internet, you can simply pick and choose the ones you like, and download them. Lemon squeezy.


Paper Radio

A newborn on the scene, Paper Radio simply offers ‘stories that talk’. Their first episode is an exquisitely produced recording of Chris Somerville’s The Drowning Man (which first appeared in Voiceworks #70 under then-editor Ryan Paine). Have a listen, and keep an eye/ear out for more fiction and nonfiction episodes.


This American Life

Hosted by the famous Ira Glass, this is the most popular podcast in the world. A weekly hour-long radio program produced by Chicago Public Radio, it is generally a journalistic nonfiction program, with a range of interesting stories, essays, memoirs, field recordings and other tidbits.

Subscribe to the podcast, and scroll through the archives for hundreds of episodes.


(note: all of the above can be found simply by searching for them in the iTunes store in your iTunes program, except for Aural Text, which has a couple of selected episodes only)

  • http://www.toothsoup.com phill

    [self-promotion] Not quite a podcast, but I do edit the prose section (which has been woefully lacking in submissions of late) of an e-zine called Soundzine which has been going for a few years now. With each poem or story we ask the author to provide an audio recording, or if they do not have the tech to do so, we have a pool of voice talent to draw from. We’ve had some really great writers within our past issues, and the upcoming ‘Sapphic’ issue looks to be developing into a really great one. So check it out![/self-promotion]

    Alright, spruiking over. I confess I haven’t heard of most of these (not having ever had an iPod to conveniently subscribe to things with), so I’ll definitely check them out. Ooh, and I also really like the Kill Your Darlings podcast.

  • http://www.avocadoandlemon.wordpress.com Soph

    Oh man. I love all of these. There’s not enough space in my day to listen to everything I want to, unfortunately. But perhaps I could at least rearrange my Wednesdays…

  • Jodie

    The New Yorker podcast is truly the Daddy of them all, isn’t it? It’s always amazing. My favourite was the Nabokov episode a few months ago.

    A little off-topic, I’ve become addicted to the History section of Itunes. In particular Lars Brownworth’s two series on the Norman and Byzantine Rulers. It’s like some kind of intense Tolkienesque fantasy story but more exotic.

  • Nikita Vanderbyl

    Had Ibut world enough, and time, this podcast obsession were no crime…

    I really enjoy the BBC’s Arts and Ideas podcast, also on iTunes. Particularly good for coverage of festivals and forums in Britain. I’ve also found that almost all the large art galleries have podcasts, from general to specific, from audio tours to lectures. I think its sadly possible to be overwhelmed by choice. However, you certainly have a great list up there Sam. A great place to start.

    Oh I nearly forgot – another place for aural textual goodness is the Internet Archive, specifically The Adventures of Phillip Marlow, if you like a good detective story (http://www.archive.org/details/OTRR_Philip_Marlowe_Singles).

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