One of my favorite ways to indulge my inner reader and writer without actually reading or writing is by listening to podcasts about reading and writing. And these days, there are some pretty kickass ones, featuring your favorite authors talking about story, craft, writing as both art and business, and sharing sometimes profound insights about their often long and windy roads to the place where they get to make up stuff for a living. But there are a lot of YA-related podcasts out there. Not sure where to start? These six awesome podcasts about YA fiction are a sure bet to get you going.
The Podcast: First Draft Pod
Starring: Journalist and author Sarah Enni, whose debut Tell Me Everything hits shelves February 26
Think: Sarah’s all about the writer’s journey – from where they were born and raised to what made them choose the path to publication.
Recent Guests: Courtney Summers, Emily X.R. Pan, Somaiya Daud
Stellar Quote: “I never thought I was going to be a writer. I mean, I loved writing stories. My mom would tell me about the stories I would write, and all of those things, but I was really a reader. Always been a reader. And going back and rereading things, especially things that didn’t hold up where I was like, ‘Ugh, this is not as good as I remembered it to be!’ And when I couldn’t find myself in those fantastical stories that I just loved, I was like, I need to try to write these stories. And write myself into existence. And write for the little seven, eight, nine, ten-year-old that I was.” –Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles
The Podcast: Write Or Die Podcast
Starring: Claribel Ortega, founder of GifGrrl and author of the upcoming middle grade Ghost Squad
Think: Chatty, funny talks with writers—and a touch of idol worship, too, because can you blame her?
Recent Guests: Daniel José Older, Mark Oshiro, Zóraida Cordova
Stellar Quote: “I wrote Harry Potter fan fiction. That’s a little known fact that I have never shared anywhere. I’m not going to tell you what site I used. But I just wrote all these different stories about my favorite characters in the Harry Potter universe. And I put them up on this site for strangers to read. And the reviews just kept coming in and they were good! And they were from complete strangers. This was not my mom going online and leaving a hundred reviews. And my book was voted the best book of the year on that website. This was telling me that I did the right thing by turning away from medical school and focusing on my writing. It’s still online! But I think that experience definitely helped me.” –Julie Dao, author of Forest of A Thousand Lanterns
The Podcast: BN Teen Blog Podcast
Starring: B&N Teen editor Melissa Albert, bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
Think: A bit more cerebral than the usual gushy YA chatter, Melissa’s all about insightful craft and life qs.
Recent Guests: Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir, Gayle Forman, Courtney Summers
Stellar Quote: “I found an old diary a couple of years ago from when I was eight that said I wanted to be a writer. But I didn’t really start writing until my senior year of college. I was a diary keeper. But I didn’t have a style. It was mostly, ‘Here’s what happened today and here’s what I’m mad about.’ But in college, it was a boy. It was unrequited love. My senior year of college, I had to take an elective outside my major. I thought I’d take creative writing because I was tired of math, and I thought it would be easy because I was completely obnoxious. And it was not easy. It was a really hard class. I wrote a lot of unrequited love poetry about this boy, and my professor took me aside one day and she said: ‘You’re going to get over this boy. And you have potential.’ That really stuck with me. So I was out of love with this boy by the end of the class, but completely in love with writing.” –Nicola Yoon, author of The Sun Is Also A Star
The Podcast: Minorities in Publishing
Starring: Jennifer Baker, author and editor of the recent anthology Everyday People
Think: Thoughtful, insightful conversations about publishing (YA and otherwise!) and the place people of color hold in it—with YA champions like editor Zareen Jaffery and Scholastic powerhouse Preeti Chhibber chiming in.
Recent Guests: Lilliam Rivera, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, Nic Stone
Stellar Quote: “I knew the [National Book Award] longlist was coming out that morning, and I didn’t know when, and I’m always interested to see who’s in it, but I was at work. I work at a college. And I was making copies of handouts for my students, and then I got back to my office and had a voicemail from a 212 number, which I never have. And then an email from my publicist saying: “Check your voicemail.” So they had sent me on speakerphone everyone in the office yelling into the phone. And it was all very exciting. And then I kind of walked around in a bit of a fog. I didn’t want to grab some random student and be like ‘Hey you, you’ll never believe it.’ I had to go and continue making copies and teach class that day.” –National Book Award nominee Samantha Mabry, author of A Fierce and Subtle Poison
The Podcast: 88 Cups of Tea
Starring: Former Gossip Girl star Yin Chang
Think: Actress turned writer Chang absorbs all things craft and process as she digs in deep into her own version of the artist’s way.
Recent Guests: Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Ayedemi, and an amazing three-hour chat with Victoria Schwab
Stellar Quote: “I think it’s important to walk through the world unafraid. Life is so short. The last thing you want to do is look back regretfully and say, ‘I should have said, I should have written, I should have taken that chance, I should have stood up.’ Whatever it is, there’s no getting back the thing that you let go of or the thing you were too afraid to embrace. In terms of writing, I know that I’m not going to write something everybody loves. That’s not why I write. I write because I want to love my writing. I write because this story means something deep to me. That’s what matters. I don’t let myself be silenced.” –Jacqueline Woodson, author of Harbor Me
The Podcast: This Creative Life
Starring: Sara Zarr, author of Gem & Dixie, How to Save a Life, and others
Think: The grandmother of all YA podcasts, Zarr’s now-defunct but still so very worthy podcast was the first of its kind (running from 2012 to 2015), featuring meandering, insightful conversations about creativity, books, and balance.
Recent Guests: Stephanie Perkins, Gene Luen Yang, Gayle Forman
Stellar Quote: “Meeting the people I met in my MFA and having my work critiqued at a certain level of seriousness was important to me—but I know plenty of people who haven’t done an MFA and done just fine. For me, it was sort of seminal. I’ve been writing since I was little—notebooks full of picture books since I was a kid. But I never thought of it as a viable career option. We didn’t have many writers coming through Richmond, Virginia. So it didn’t feel realistic. But even in college when I first had that thought that I could be a writer, I applied for my MFA, for editorial jobs, for a Ph.D program at Penn in literature. I just wanted to be a part of children’s books.” –Jenny Han, author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before