Q&A with the founders of the Up North Books podcast

Q&A with the founders of the Up North Books podcast

Last year, Beth Barker and Kate Baguley launched “Up North Books”, a podcast celebrating northern literature, which has so far featured appearances from authors including Jennifer Saint, Stuart Evers and Mim Skinner. They talk to us about the aims and ambitions for the podcast here.

What were you doing before the podcast?

We had both recently graduated from northern universities, with degrees in English Literature. Beth now works as a copywriter at Inspired Copy and Kate is a publishing and marketing assistant at Dark Skies Publishing. We have spent many years juggling full-time work with all of our literary pursuits, including hosting events, bookselling, reviewing and writing ourselves too.

Why did you decide to begin Up North Books?

We met at a publishing event a few years ago and bonded over our shared Fylde Coast roots. After brainstorming the idea of a podcast, we met up for lunch the next week and got the ball rolling! We’re both passionate about all things northern publishing and wanted to find a way to tackle the underrepresentation of the north in the industry. We created Up North Books as a way of showcasing it, all in one little space.

What are your aims with the podcast?

The north has a rich, diverse and incredible pool of talent to offer the publishing industry and we wanted to capture that. Our aim is to spotlight books for anyone looking for northern reads, as well as exploring the experiences of writers from the north. We’re also passionate about independent publishing and have formed some amazing relationships with small northern indies. The north truly is a powerhouse when it comes to literature and the indie scene should take a lot of the credit.

What have been the highlights and challenges of running the podcast?

The highlight for us is definitely chatting with northern authors, especially those we’ve read and loved for years. Our interviews came about organically, but we have loved having the chance to hear their publishing stories and more about their craft. As with everything in the past year, the pandemic was initially a challenge. Recording remotely was difficult to figure out at first, as well as building our bond as co-hosts from afar. Once we got going, learning how to do everything remotely was a godsend for achieving our aim of interviewing authors from all over the north.

What are your plans or hopes for the future?

Our plans for the podcast are pretty simple—we hope to continue to curate a northern bookshelf where people can find trusted reviews, interesting interviews and the latest books from the region. As we’re both very much involved with the publishing industry, we also hope to be part of the evolving literary potential of the north. We know it’s there, as do many northerners, but making the London-centric industry realise it is another challenge. We’ll continue to signpost to events, raise awareness and encourage more northerners to break into publishing as we’ve done.

More information about the Up North Books can be found on the podcast’s Twitter account, @upnorthpod.