Ep 31 Getting rid of parents and grumpy magical helpers with Kate Towner


Kate’s choice: The House of Arden by E. Nesbit

Ali’s choice: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Mahabharat has been dramatized twice for TV. This is the one I watched in the 1980s.

If you want to read the other great Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, I recommend this graphic novel version told from Sita’s perspective.

A new biography of Edith Nesbit was published in 2019.

The House of Arden was dramatized for BBC radio in 1989. You can buy an audiobook collection of Nesbit adaptations here.

Follow Kate on Twitter at @katepreach and @fantasybookclu3, and on Instagram, where she posts pictures of her artwork and cats @kate.towner.

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails and Jack Sadler-Johnson.


Ep 30: Hot Gladiators and Plague Gods


A bumper episode of 1 hr 20!

Matt and Nina from Even the Trunchbull come to mine, after I guested on their podcast discussing Joan Aiken’s Nightbirds on Nantucket and the lovely picture book Peggoty Po.

Matt and Nina’s book: Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson

Ali’s book: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

Book covers– compare Slaves of the Mastery with The Hunger Games

The cover that would have put Matt off, which reminded me of Stephen Pearson’s classic posters

Follow Even the Trunchbull podcast on Twitter @Trunchbullpod, on Instagram @eventhetrunchbull and follow at your favourite podcast emporium.

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and to Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track Bliss.

Moomintroll and a china rabbit with Laura Mauro at FantasyCon 2022


This episode was recorded live at FantasyCon 2022 so the sound is a little echoey

Laura is a games writer, Manga translator and the award-winning author of Sing Your Sadness Deep (2019) among other wonderful things. You can follow her on Twitter here, and find out more at LauraMauro.com

Laura’s choice: Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson

Ali’s choice: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

We mention Tove Jansson’s biography by Boel Westin

I really love Kate DiCamillo’s work, and John Coxon read Flora & Ulysses for the podcast back in November 2021. You can listen again here.

The trailer of The Tale of Despereaux adapted from Kate DiCamillo here

Laura remembers the Japanese cartoons of the Moomins. I love the German stop motion animations. I mention the Moomins on the Riviera film

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and to Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track Bliss. Thank you to the committee for giving me a programme slot, and to the audience for coming along and asking questions! See you at FantasyCon 2023!

Ep 28: Two horse girls’ training montages with Caroline Mersey


Two quick warnings:

  1. This episode contains mentions of sexual assault and abduction. Please proceed with care.
  2. It was recorded over the bank holiday in Brighton. Caroline and I attempted to find a quiet corner of a pub to record in during a day out, and despite fiddling with editing there is background noise.

Caroline’s choice: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Sadly, it seems to be out of print in the UK, and it doesn’t appear to be available as an audio book or in ebook format, which is a real shame.

Ali’s choice: A Wind in Cairo by Judith Tarr. You can find the link to the Kindle edition, the audio book and paperback via Amazon here or a Kobo ebook here.

Caroline mentions Katherine Kerr, author of the Deverry series and more.

Judith Tarr on Tor.com. Her column on what C.S. Lewis gets wrong about horses here.

Enjoy this video of Lipizzaner horses, the breed that Judith Tarr keeps. You can see some of the tricks that Khamsin performs in A Wind in Cairo.

Caroline’s Twitter. Her bio includes links to her blog and Super Relaxed Fantasy Club- enjoy the videos recorded during lockdown here!

Ep 27: The Anti-Reepicheep League with Ang Rosin


The Anti-Reepicheep League shownotes

Ang’s choice: Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Ali’s choice: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

Ang and Ali are book twins

How I imagine Sardines doing his dance

Reepicheep: ugh

Follow Ang on Twitter @ang_grrr

Thank you to everyone who reviewed! I know people reviewed on other platforms and I really appreciate it. If you can’t review on your platform, please do share! It all helps.

Find the BSFA discord here: (play nicely) 

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour-Trails  for production support.

Ep 26: Fairies and witches and toads, oh my!


Show notes ep 26

Fairies and witches and toads, oh my!

Kit’s choice: The Stream that Stood Still by Beverley Nichols (who is a man! And he had quite the life).

Ali’s choice: Otherland by Louie Stowell. Louie’s very funny The Dragon in the Library was one of the books discussed in Episode 1, with Helena McCallum

Kit’s book,  In the Heart of Hidden Things, can be bought as a hardback or ePub. Kindle edition here  and audiobook via Audible here. You can see Jenna Barton’s artwork here.

Other books with terrifying fairy folk: Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men, discussed with Fran Dowd in episode 6, and Peadar O’Guillin’s The Call and The Invasion. Be warned: these are brilliant books, but very much YA. There’s a lot of body horror involved. I talked about them at Dublin WorldCon and you can read my paper here.

You can follow Kit on Twitter here and #askafairysmith here.

Thanks, as always, to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track Bliss.


Ep 25: Timeslips and dreams with Tony Keen


Apologies for the sound: it was incredibly hot in the kitchen in Hove so we recorded with the window open, so there is some traffic noise in the background.

Tony’s choice: Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

Ali’s choice: The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman

Tony mentions the difference in portrayal of Roman slavery in Spartacus and Gladiator; can we only empathise if the protagonist is enslaved unjustly? More information on Spartacus here with links to information about screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who had been blacklisted after appearing before the House of Un-American Activities Committee.

Tony watched this adaptation of Tom’s Midnight Garden; Ali watched this one while at university. There was also a BBC radio dramatization which can be obtained via Audible.

Tony on Twitter: @tonykeen46 and his blog: Memorabilia Antonia.

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails for production assistance and to Jack Sadler-Johnson for the use of his beautiful track, Bliss.

Ep 24: Look into my eyes with Russell Smith


Russell’s book: The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross

Ali’s book: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Catherine Butler wrote a paper about mind control in children’s literature and you can read it here

Russell and I talk about the new series of The Demon Headmaster. You can watch it on BBC iPlayer.

Information about the 1990s series can be found here

There is a second Amari book on the way.

I like the look of this and I saw this on Twitter

Follow Russell at @RASmithPSL, and his blog at https://projectshadowlondon.com/

Ep 23 Sweet Polly Oliver goes Over The Hills: Sharpe and Monstrous Regiment


Spoilers for Monstrous Regiment in this episode! 

Please note that some women who went to war disguised as men lived as men for the rest of their lives (such as James Barry) while others returned to living as women after their service. Sergeant Jackrum may be considered the former; he may have considered himself a trans man, if such terms were available to him in Discworld.

Alistair’s choice: Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwell

Ali’s choice: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

During the discussion, Alistair and I talked about the representation of women by both novels: while there are no women viewpoint characters in Sharpe’s Eagle they are there. It’s incredible to me that women were so close to the front line in the peninsula wars, and in such a variety of roles. As I mentioned in the podcast, Phoebe Hessel’s gravestone is still (just about) legible in the graveyard of St Nicholas of Myrna, Brighton, which is just down the hill from where I live. You can find out more about the “Stepney Amazon” here.

See Alistair’s wonderful kickstarter for dyslexia-friendly books for adults, including Sharpe’s Skirmish by Bernard Cornwell!

Thank you Alistair! Follow Books on the Hill on Twitter: @Booksonthehill

Thanks as always to Steve Vapour Trails and Jack Sadler-Johnson