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Words change lives



  • Listen: Martyn Lewis interviews Sarah Hesketh

    woman sitting by elderly woman's bed

    Hear Martyn Lewis interview the poet Sarah Hesketh about working in dementia care settings and her involvement in the Where the Heart Is residency programme and exhibition. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Audrey Niffenegger

    Audrey Niffenegger

    The author of 'The Time Traveller's Wife' talks to us about the future of books, inventing rules for time travel, and the ballet adaptation of her story 'The Raven Girl', which opens at the Royal Opera House in May. Read more

  • Speaking Freely: Dr Purna Sen, on Violence Against Women

    Dr Purna Sen

    Purna Sen has thirty years of experience working to promote social justice. She's currently head of the Programme for African Leadership at the London School of Economics, where her work includes a focus on violence against women. We caught up with her to talk about the prevalent problem of violence against women, and the importance of an open dialogue in tackling the problem. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Neel Mukherjee

    Neel Mukherjee

    Comic books, fountain pens, and the importance of a good editor. Novelist Neel Mukherjee talks to us about his craft. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Canan Marasligil on Translation

    Canan Marasligil

    Fresh off the train from Amsterdam, Canan Marasligil starts her time as one of our Translators in Residence this month. We caught up with her to talk about her passion for comics, and the cultural barriers between Turkey and the UK. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Nick Harkaway

    Nick Harkaway with his Red Tentacle award

    Last Tuesday's Kitschies Awards saw Nick Harkaway's novel "Angelmaker" win the coveted Red Tentacle for being the most "intelligent, progressive and entertaining" novel containing elements of the speculative or fantastic. We caught up with Nick to ask about the novel, what he thinks of the 'genre fiction' label, and the future of literature itself. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: David Varela on Games

    Zombies, Run!

    David Varela has worked with some of the UK’s top games companies including Mind Candy, nDreams, Six to Start and Sony PlayStation, and is one of the tutors on Arvon's "Writing For Games" course. We sat down with him to ask what challenges face games writers, demolish some preconceptions about games, and hear his advice for aspiring writers. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Mark Haddon

    Mark Haddon

    The author of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' joins us later this month to launch English PEN's new pamphlet of prize-winning work from their Writing in Prisons programme. We spoke to him about his experience running workshops behind bars, getting inmates to write for the first time, and asked what one piece of advice he'd give to aspiring writers. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Poems on the Underground

    London Underground roundel

    Poems on the Underground have been spreading great poetry around the tube for twenty-seven years. Next week they launch their latest selection of poems to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Underground. Nii Parkes, regular contributor to Free Word's activities, is among the six poets featured. We spoke to Laura Chernaik, manager of Poems on the Underground, about London's love affair with poetry. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Matt Haig

    Matt Haig

    Every Thursday we speak to someone close to Free Word with a story to tell. Matt Haig is writer and journalist, author of books for adults and children including The Dead Fathers Club and Shadow Forest. Currently Booktrust’s online Writer in Residence, Matt spoke to us about writing for children, writing for adults, and why he thinks e-books are championing reading for pleasure. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Jacob Ross

    Jacob Ross

    Every Thursday we speak to someone close to Free Word with a story to tell. Today Jacob Ross, the author of 'Pynter Bender', spoke to us about the snobbery around creative writing courses, and being a writer in a less patient world. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Ollie Brock on Translation

    Ollie Brock

    Each week we speak to someone close to Free Word with a story to tell. Recently installed as one of our two Translators in Residence, Ollie Brock is a literary translator of both Spanish and French, planning to explore translation from new angles with a series of events at Free Word. We stole five minutes of his time to ask what the day-to-day life of a translator is like, what plans he has for his residency with us, and whether Google Translate and the like will ever put him out of of a job. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Karrie Fransman on Comics

    Karrie live-draws at Comica Festival

    Each week we speak to someone close to Free Word with a story to tell. Karrie Fransman quit her job in advertising to become a maker of comics, and has since found success making strips for newspapers, publishing her own graphic novel and being notoriously inventive with the medium. Currently making plans with Canan Marasligil, one of our Translators in Residence, for a programme in 2013, we caught up with Karrie to ask about her work, reading habits, and plans for the future. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Fin Kennedy

    Fin Kennedy

    Every week we speak to someone close to Free Word with a story to tell. Playwright and teacher-of-playwriting Fin Kennedy joins us this Saturday to chair a panel discussion on new writing in the theatre today. We caught up with him to ask about risk-taking, why the EBacc is bad news for artists, and why he doesn't read novels anymore. Read more

  • Speaking Freely… with Martin Rowson, Satirist

    Martin Rowson

    Every week we speak to someone close to Free Word with a story to tell. Cartoonist, Satirist and friend of Free Word Martin Rowson draws sketches for a number of publications, including Index on Censorship, where he'll shortly be featured in their podcast series 'Free Speech Bites'. We caught up with him to talk about a satirist's take on free expression, what's it's like receiving death threats, and why the news is a bit like a dog. Read more

  • Writers’ Room: Hannah Berry on Comics

    Hannah Berry

    Graphic novellist Hannah Berry is blogger-in-residence at Booktrust, and a tutor on the Arvon Foundation's graphic novel writing course. We met up amongst the bustle of the Free Word cafe to chat about reading, writing and drawing comics. Read more