What We're Reading / What We’re Listening To: April Edition

Are your eyes tired from all this extra screen time? Never fear—our staff have you sorted with some stellar podcast recommendations and food for your ears.

Sarah Mott, Project and Communications Officer

Bird’s Eye View

Made with, hosted by and featuring women incarcerated in Sector Four, the female block inside Darwin Correctional Centre—a men’s prison. This podcast is only 10 episodes long but is packed with interviews, poetry and smart satire that shines a light on the daily survival and resilience these women embody while doing their time. 

Cocaine and Rhinestones

A deep-dive into the American country music scene of the 20th-century, and the stories/scandals of those who made it. I’m not a massive country music fan, but this podcast highlights how much the genre has evolved over it’s long history, as well as influenced pretty much every other type of music out there. Plus these guys were hard-core party animals and the stories are great.

Ashley Kalagian Blunt, Senior Program Officer

Free to a Good Home

There are so many great podcasts offering incredible learning opportunities. Unfortunately a lot of the time, my brain isn’t well enough to learn, either because of my chronic fatigue (poor concentration is one of my cognitive symptoms) or, more recently, because of the world falling apart. So instead I listen to sheer nonsense. High quality nonsense can be calming, and there’s no higher quality nonsense than Free to a Good Home. Sydney comedians Ben Jenkins and Michael Hing, along with a revolving door of guests, read bizarre classified ads and speculate about the circumstances that led to their posting. A sample of one of my favourite ads: “Get paid to kick a guy in the balls!” Like I said, the best kind of nonsense.

Jane McCredie, CEO

Science Friction

The ABC has a great range of podcasts. One of my favourites is Science Friction presented by Natasha Mitchell. It’s always illuminating, often surprising, and the science behind it is rigorous. Recent episodes about coronavirus have asked some intriguing questions – Why bats? How could maths help us overcome the virus?

If you don’t want to hear another word about pandemics, there’s lots of other great stuff on there too. I particularly like the two episodes recorded at the Perth iteration of our Quantum Words Festival last year: one on science and creativity, and one on… poo. But there’s also artificial wombs, Indigenous science, Nazis and a whole lot more to choose from.

David Henley, Business and Property Manager

Ballad of a Pandemic

I’ve been looking for new music made in the time of coronavirus. Have only found this one so far:

Claire Thompson, Program Officer

A smorgasbord of podcasts

I’ve always loved listening to a podcast while I’m cooking dinner, out for a walk or cleaning the house, but I especially enjoy them now as a way to give my eyes a break from staring at a screen – something I seem to be spending more and more time doing thanks to coronavirus. This is what I’ve enjoyed recently. 

Better Reading’s episode with Emily Maguire was really interesting, Emily discussed her book, This is What a Feminist Looks Like and chatted with host Cheryl Akle about the different liberties women have won over the years, and the battles we’re still fighting. The First Time’s most recent episode featuring Alice Robinson was reassuring as co-hosts Katherine Collette and Kate Mildenhall discuss the things they’re finding hard about self-isolation, and how it is effecting their writing time. Kate also interviews author Alice Robinson about the book she’s currently working on, and what is keeping her going during this time. I haven’t listened in a while, but I also want to recommend Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ podcast, Chat 10 Looks 3. It’s always good for a laugh and genuinely feels like you’re listening to your friends talk about the books they’re reading and TV shows and movies they’re watching. Plus Leigh and Annabel always have such good banter.

Some other podcasts I’d recommend:

Dirty John

No Such Thing as a Fish

The Garret: Writers on Writing

Mamamia Out Loud

Happy listening!

Lou Garcia-Dolnik, Membership and Administration Officer


I’m not too much of a podcast buff, though isolation has seen me (finally!) taking the advice of many friends (and my twitter feed) in listening to Madison Griffith’s Tender, a podcast series about what happens when women leave abusive relationships. These episodes are so lovingly crafted and thoughtfully pieced together it almost feels like you’re sitting on Madison’s living room floor while she reads to you from the couch by candlelight. Weaving audio snippets from spoken word events, diary entries, texts and (un)broken pieces of narrative, Tender very well deservedly won a Frankie Good Stuff Award in 2019, one of many reasons to sink your teeth in this pandemic season. DIY in the best way possible, I found Tender hugely (paradoxically) uplifting, though this podcast does come with a content warning!

The Glasshouse, Triple R

I’ve also been tuning in and out of The Glasshouse, Triple R’s weekly broadcast on all things spoken word/literature/culture presented by Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, Audio Producer at the Wheeler Centre. In following from Emerging Writers’ Festival’s announcement that they would be hosting their 2020 program online, I was particularly excited to hear from Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh, newly appointed Artistic Director of the Festival, in her segment dedicated to all things online events. The playlist for that Wednesday is also well worth a listen to, featuring my absolute favourite, Sudan Archives.

Julia Tsalis, Program Manager

Magpies & David Astle

Usually I listen to a lot of podcasts. With everything going on as it is, this last month I have found myself unable to cope with anymore input. Even going for walks I don’t want to put headphones in my ears. Instead I have been enjoying listening to the outdoor sounds around me. I especially enjoy hearing magpies warbling. I have always loved the sound of magpies but I have noticed them more, partly because I’m at home and the world is generally quieter, but also because my life is less busy and beautiful things like this have more room to be noticed and appreciated. I am so grateful for their joyful singing. I highly recommend listening to magpies.

I also recommend listening to John Morrissey, the winner of our Boundless Indigenous Mentorship, being interviewed by David Astle on ABC radio. In it John reads a very brief excerpt of one of his short stories, Tommy Norli. It will leave you wanting more, so you can read the full story here.


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