AudioBook Club: Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows- Not Just Old Biddies (Episode)

This week we’re discussing Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, narrated by Meera Syal.

The story follows a young Punjabi feminist called Nikki, who takes what she believes to be a creative writing job at her local temple. She quickly learns that these women are illiterate and have their own way of learning to read and write. The story then picks up and becomes about loneliness, desire and sexuality within the group. – These are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands, being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories.

Join us for our next live event and taping on Sunday, 28th March at 4:00 pm UK time, where we’ll be getting stuck into Through The Leopards Gaze by Njambi McGrath.

You can register to attend at contentisqueen.org/abc4/ the link is also in the show notes. If you can’t make it feel free to send your thoughts and even your questions to us on Whatsapp at +447715 408831

Warning: There are spoilers in this episode

Full transcript available soon:


 

March AudioBook Club: Through The Leopards Gaze (Event)

March’s pick is ‘Through The Leopard’s Gaze‘ by Njambi McGrath and is one of Jacaranda’s Twenty in 2020. As usual, we’ll be coming together to discuss the book before having a Q&A with a featured guest, who we’ll announce closer to the date.

Author Njambi McGrath will be joining us for a Q&A

REGISTER HERE

Through the Leopard’s Gaze is an amazing memoir chronicling the award-winning comedian’s difficult but inspiring life growing up in Kenya. Her book illuminates family abuse, racism, identity and emotional triumph through the lenses of the author’s personal history and Kenya’s history.

In her captivating memoir Through the Leopard’s Gaze, Njambi McGrath details her life’s harrowing circumstances as a young girl in Kenya, who one fateful night was beaten to a pulp and left for dead. Thirteen-year-old Njambi, fearing her assailant would return to finish her, courageously escaped, walking through the night in the Kenyan countryside, risking wild animals, robbers and murderers, before being picked up by two shabbily dressed but safe men.

She buries the memories of that fateful day and night, and years later, ends up in London with a British husband and children. Then one day, a simple, unassuming wedding invitation arrives in her mailbox, causing her to have to confront the remnants of a past she had thought was behind her. This is a book about survival and courage when all else fails. It’s a searingly honest examination of human cruelty and strength in equal measure.

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Where to get Through The Leopard’s Gaze:

You can get Through The Leopard’s Gaze on Audible here.

Join us on Sunday 28th March at 4:00 pm GMT for our virtual Audiobook Club on Zoom. Come and share your ideas, ask questions, and engage with others in conversation. (And yes, you can attend if you’ve read and not listened to the book too)

You can subscribe and listen to AudioBook Club on Apple Podcasts here

What to expect:

1. To share your ideas, thoughts and opinions.

2. To ask questions.

3. To be respectfully challenged.

4. To listen and be respectful of others.

5. To be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

6. To meet a diverse group of thoughtful, intelligent and different people.

Who’s it for?

People that love audiobooks, podcasts, audio dramas and plays. Content is Queen is a safe space for people from all backgrounds to share their stories, thoughts and ideas through audio.

Our monthly Audiobook club selection will always be reflective of our wider community and values around inclusivity. We encourage listeners of all races, genders, and sexual orientation to join us and be a part of our community.

Additional places to get Through The Leopard’s Gaze:

Through The Leopard’s Gaze is available directly from Jacaranda’s website. You might also purchase/borrow from your local library, audiobooks.com, Libro.fm, and Google Play.

Important note:

The event will be recorded, and the audio will be edited to create a monthly podcast. If you’d like to attend but don’t want to be included in the public release, please let us know at the start of the event.

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AudioBook Club: Queenie- A Quiet Implosion with Shvorne Marks (Episode)

For our second episode of AudioBook Club, we meet up to discuss the Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.

Warning: There are spoilers in this episode

Queenie is the story of the delightfully tragic Queenie Jenkins, one of the twenty-first century’s great fictional creations. Queenie is a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s LOL-funny, dramatic and tender.

We’re joined by 12 Audiobookworms this week who listened to the drama and couldn’t wait to share their thoughts on Queenie with you. The episode features a Q&A and a special appearance from the narrator.

Warning: There are spoilers in this episode if you’d like to jump ahead to the Q&A with Shvorne Marks at 45:15.

Full transcript available below:


Hey, Amber here, producer of AudioBook Club and resident audio bookworm. I’m just here to let you know that this episode contains references to strong language, mature themes and sensitive topics that some listeners may find triggering. If you find yourself in need of help, we provide some support groups you can reach out to in the show notes.

Welcome to AudioBook Club. I’m your host Imriel Morgan. The founder of Content is Queen. AudioBook Club is a monthly event and podcast where we celebrate and discuss black, Asian, queer, and female narratives and literature. Every month we meet with other audiobookworms to discuss an audiobook recommended by you.

But and it’s a big one. You can still attend the live event, even if you’ve read and not listen to the book. We’ll share our live discussion in every episode, followed by an interview and Q and a with a featured guest. If we’re lucky, we’ll have the author by expect to hear from voice activists, directors, editors, and book critics, to join us for our next live event and taping on Sunday, the 28th of February at 4:00 PM UK time where we’ll be getting stuck into erotic stories for Punjabi widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal.

Just well you can register to attend contentisqueen.org/ABC3. The link is also in the show notes. If you can’t make it, feel free to send your thoughts and even your questions to us on WhatsApp on plus four, four double seven one five four zero double eight, three one that’s plus four double seven one five Oh zero double eight, three one also available in the show notes.

Oh, and apologies in advance, but you’ll have to expect some spoilers. So if you haven’t listened, but you plan to, you might want to skip to the halfway mark for the Q&A.

This week we’re discussing Queenie by candies Kati Williams, narrated by Chavonne marks. Queenie is the story of the delightfully tragic Queenie Jenkins. One of the great fictional creations of the 21st century Queenie is a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s laugh out loud, funny, dramatic, and tender. We meet Queenie as her life begins to spiral out of control.

Her Jamaican, British family. Don’t quite get her. Her boyfriend has left her in limbo and her job often leaves her feeling deflated and frustrated. We’ve followed as Queenie desperately tries to navigate her way through changing friendships, rising racial tensions and countless toxic relationships.

Here’s what’s coming up. Our thoughts on the men, at least Guy was what he says on the 10. He was horrendous. He was horrible. And he was so flagrantly vile as a human that you could accept it, but it was the other man that were more acceptable Ted’s looks. The part was actually horrendous that I found way more sinister, how we relate to, to Queenie related to what she was saying.

Cause some situations, but then learn in other situations. And I think that’s what I really liked about Queenie. And you just got so much from it. No matter what your background was, you could just almost relate or learn or just get something from it. It was just really refreshing Chavon, mud spills, the beans.

And I cried in the toilet because I found it so tough. I was just so overwhelmed with it all because to sit in a box for three days and read a book is a challenge for sure, all this and so much more. So let’s get into it. First up, let’s meet this week’s AudioBookworms

I’m Sophie and I work in alumni at Greenwich Uni. I’m Amber and I work alongside Imriel at Content is Queen I’m Ellie and I work in radio. So I make a mixture of documentaries and podcasts. Hello, I’m Viv. I’m a DJ singer-songwriter and a scriptwriter. I am not late. I, um, a Natalie I run events. Hey, I’m Eunice. And I work in international development. I work in the youth offending team, my name’s Anita Powell, and I actually do community work.

Lovely. Thanks everyone for being here. Let’s kick the discussion of showy because there is a lot. Uh, lots to talk about with Queenie, I think,

Can I just start off with what are first impressions of the book were? And that seems like the easiest place to start. I’ll be honest. I was first introduced to Queenie. I had the BBC sounds podcast. I saw something posted on Instagram probably by candies herself, and then I clicked on it and then discovered this podcast.

And I ended up listening to that, to the whole thing in one setting, because it was just something I haven’t heard before, you know, just black, British women, typical lifestyle, just kind of trying to navigate being in a relationship and find her feet in her career and stuff. And it was just a very normal story.

It wasn’t this massively dramatize thing and all this crazy stuff’s happening. It was all very relatable. And I just hadn’t heard anything like it produced by a black, British female. I’m sure there’s stuff out there, but I just hadn’t heard it. So my first impression was, wow, this is cool. I completely agree.

That’s how I felt when I first heard it. I was like, wait, I am Jamaican. And then as she was going through all of this. Mental health trauma, and all of these really crazy relationships, ho phase and all of this stuff going on. And I was like triggered and seen

I will not be revealing all of my sins on this podcast, but I was just like, I feel very seen by this book. And so I completely understand what you mean when you say it was just, it was refreshing to hear that perspective. The thing is, so this claim, I did read this book over a year ago, so I mean, a lot of what I have is this kind of like watch remains.

Like, what I remember is sort of making me feel like the faster I get to my mind was frustration. How some kinds of clients to might slap this down. I just remember feeling frustrated, but then I went out listening to live, speak. So there’s two things I think that I can relate to clean in some ways, but there’s many ways I don’t relate to her.

And I think that it’s slightly different for me being African and having been born and raised there. I left Uganda for the first time when I was 26. And then I went through a transition where you kind of discover your black and then what all that means. And so for me, it was kind of reading what that would have been like having that construct of I’m black and race, being an issue for your child, who then growing up, which is something I didn’t really have an insight into for me.

I was sitting on learning or sort of taking notes because I now have a mixed race, little boy. And I’ve always had this anxiety around, like, I don’t know how to raise your black in this context. Like I know back home where it’s not really a thing. I feel like there’s so many codes and things that to navigate that I don’t really have the tools to help him with.

So I think for me, it was kind of sitting back and almost learning in a way people imagine that if you’re black and female and within that, you automatically relate. But for me, it’s an educational thing. Really. I think that’s really interesting. And it was quite nice to have heard how you responded to it and then unit how you responded to it.

And then I think I’m somewhere in the middle because I’m of Nigerian heritage, but I was born in East London and I’ve grown up in East London. So I haven’t had the exact same experiences as Queenie, but I related to a lot of it. Wasn’t so removed from me. I remember those microaggressions in those spaces, but Oh, okay.

That’s slightly different to how I grew up, but Oh, that’s interesting to learn, but Oh yeah. A hundred percent. I’ve been in that position. And I think that’s what I really liked about Queenie Anna. You just got so much from it. No matter what your background was, you could just almost relate or learn or just get something from it.

It was just really refreshing. I definitely a hundred percent agree with the relate-ability of it. The micro deductions. Again, I felt, I felt understood. They didn’t want to take part in it, but the paper we’re doing a whole, we are diverse initiative and asked if I would be on the supporting images as I am one of four diverse members of staff who don’t work in the service divisions.

When, in my induction, the Spanish HR assistant quite literally said to me, you were very lucky to be working here. There were others like you, except not the same color. You know, there are darker ones, but they’re in it. I open my mouth to respond. They still have no idea what I was going to say. The bedside Asian of black women that come through as a theme, the Angra about gentrification for your queen is eyes.

It was so released, but it wasn’t more higher than it needed to be. We’re fortunate as issues on your freight. It was really relatable. I loved it. Awesome. I was just going to add that. The one thing that I could certainly relate to with my African upbringing was the religion being the solution to everything, you know, that the prayer body I definitely, for those really great points of view.

I am curious to hear how everyone else is feeling. Amber, Ellie, Sophie, please do jump in with your first impressions. I feel like Eunice’s point was really interesting about feeling frustration, because I felt like I really loved Queenie as a character, which then meant when things started going wrong for her.

Like you were really rooting for her the whole way through. And when she made choices that maybe weren’t the right ones, I felt a bit like it was like, you know, you get a real insight. I think it’s a credit to the writing about feeling like you’re hearing your meat dish on what’s going on in her life.

Feeling sometimes helpless that, you know, maybe things aren’t going right for her. I think that frustration is a really key part of the book. As you listen along both like what queen might be doing, but equally like how people are treating her. And it’s really unnecessary. So you can relate to queen is a character, but with her friendship group, as well, most people have a friendship group like that.

Everyone felt like a group chat where you can talk to your friends about your problems. And I feel like you can relate to her friends because most people in their life will have a Queenie who has been through terrible relationships. And you want to give this advice and like Taylor, but I can also see in Queenie’s eyes that it’s hard to take the advice that you get.

So it’s easy to give it, but it’s hard to receive it, pick it up. I agree with if that it was quite normal, If that makes sense. I think her surroundings and stuff was certain that it wasn’t like a book when London’s this, you know, sex and the city kinds of Bridget Jones. Everyone’s got the money. It’s whatever.

Yeah. Like London’s this gorgeous little utopia that everyone lives in. So I quite like that. And also because it’s places that are familiar, I live in Lou Sherman. These are places that I know I get the one, three, six. Um, I, I just found like it was quite normal. Yeah. It was like reading. You may S story and your mates problems.

Cause it was stuff that happens all the time to everyone. And I agreed with you in a sec sometimes that they just want to shake her. But then I more felt just exhausted at the crap she was grabbing fruit. Like as soon as Tom was introduced as like cook, cook, cook, he is at all. So he is problematic AAF. I hate his head on every man.

I just, I just was through it. And I was like, man, Hi, you just need to get rid of these white losers. I hate that they all have read this. Um, it’s the same conversation that you have with mates that you’re just like, you need to do some soul searching and just not accept this crap, but I’ll probably ever run it.

Pop that layer. The devil’s advocate is that a devil’s advocate is honestly just an excuse for being an asshole and saying horrendous things that you do come to believe. And I hate, uh, hate him. All of the men are hot, garbage. I do quite like the granddad though. Love the ground. Does grandad, can we put something on the tele that isn’t news I asked, he finally looked away from the television and stared at me for a million years as you are.

No, I do not like anything that is fictitious. He announced turning the news up and facing the screen again. The only thing we should be watching is what’s happening in new world, around us is a horrible state of affairs. And you young as you are to stop being so ignorant will Fred don’t start now even barista on Jesus’s birthday.

Hadn’t many remote does advocate for going to therapy. Say all man and trash pick was all right. Just don’t keep the water running. Yeah. I did want to touch on the mental health actually, because that was such the mental health aspect of Queenie does. We’re talking about because we could easily latch onto the sex and the men and the relationships, and even the friendships, which I think is also a really big theme, but the mental health aspect, like we definitely get a sense that Queenie is troubled from the very start.

And I think that came through with her nightmares, but I’m curious what everyone else took away from her mental health issues. I think one thing that I think the book did really well was tell this story that if someone’s going through something it’s not necessarily a massive explosion, it can be a very quiet implosion that can actually take place over a number of months.

And I think one of the best ways is when you see her at work, if you actually just pick up all of the work parts, yeah. She talks about her work ethic is going downhill, but it’s not in a way that makes you think it’s going to erupt in the way that it does it over the course of the book. You see things getting slowly worse and worse.

I think it really. Sums up the fact that it doesn’t have to be this massive Raul and everything goes wrong all at once. Actually you can see that over a long period of time, this can happen to somebody, particularly when you’re introduced to her as being someone who clearly has fun with her friends and stuff at the start, and then seeing how she changes.

I think it really shows how over time it can really affect people. He also showed how it can affect people and also how it can affect everyone. Like for me, it made me reflect because like I said, the situation was so quote unquote normal in that a lot of us have experienced working in certain environments.

And you know, she’s really passionate about certain stories. She wants to tell when she’s not allowed to write about them because they’re not palatable. And that in itself, it seems like a small thing to be told. No, don’t write about that, but actually there’s so much going on there. It’s like, don’t tell your story.

No one wants to hear your story, which is actually your pain and your reality as she’s being told. You don’t matter, essentially like people don’t care. And so she has to carry on as normal and keep producing great work, knowing that is the perception. People don’t care about your story. And the patient wants to, to grab some food has now changed because they couldn’t afford the rent.

And it’s like, again, who you are, where you grew up, your home has just been changed like that. And nobody cares. Can’t afford the rent. Okay. Off you go. And it’s all these different ways of being shut down and oppressed, and there’s nothing you can do about it. And then she probably thought she’d found some hope in Tom.

And he mentioned her having walls up, but there’s all this stuff that she can’t talk about because it’s not. Palatable or prior to now where people are speaking a lot more freely at the time when Queenie came out and even before then you had to walk in a certain way to, just to just get through the day, like, as a black person or a person of color, or even sometimes just being women.

Like you have to overlook so many things just to get through the day and she’s been doing that and it’s just constantly knocking her down, knocking her down so you can completely understand why she ends up where she ends up. And it’s just this sort of amalgamation of all these things. And you look at it, it’s like, wow, I carry a lot of stuff.

You carry a lot of this stuff. This isn’t a situation that’s. So far removed from any of us. And actually if we don’t pay attention to what people are going through and have a bit more empathy and just kind of look at the world through other people’s perspectives, we can expect to see this a lot more.

And we shouldn’t be surprised when people do implode. Like what did you think?

Yeah. I think building on that as well, the expectation of being strong as a black woman, that was another addition on top of

and the generational kind of stigma against mental health and fair pay and anything like that was something else that I did say on one side, she’s not saying you don’t matter the places that you care about it up, but on the other side, it’s like, well, you’ve got to get on with it. You’ve got to be strong.

You’re a black woman. That’s what we do. And I think that had a huge part in pushing it down for so long. And like you say, then imploding. Yeah. I actually want to touch on that because like you said earlier, that gradual decline and that then juxtaposed with her having to be strong and put on a brave face.

I lied to her friends about these very, very questionable interactions she’s having with men also speaks to the weird dynamic that she’s got with Sylvie, her mum, which is so subtle for out the book, like it’s there, this lingering, weak timid woman who’s been taken advantage of. And I kind of see. Queenie resisting being anything like her mother and her mother was weak and taken advantage of men.

And she has to be strong because she is not going to be her mother. So I don’t know if anyone else will that parallel, but I thought it was this strange mirroring and almost resistance to how she’d been bought up and almost rejecting the abandonment before it’s even happened. And then that also then relates to the fact that she just could not let go of Tom who was trash, but she just never let go of again, another thing I could relate to really was like that stigma around mental health, particularly like in Uganda, I recently had a conversation with a family member who should have some mental issues.

She’s had a nervous breakdown and she was saying, it’s like, she was so ashamed of it. This book, I think really tried for me, explained a little bit how deeply rooted some of these issues are like her grandmother loved her to death, but was like the person sending away or getting the help she needed. But also on the other hand, how grandparents were like, some people are like totally obsessed with medicine and they had the pill for everything.

And we just have this block, like if you’re sick physically, then run to a doctor, get all the help you can get. But if it’s something mental, then there’s like just a block. And I think this book really tried to go down into the psyche of what happens. And another thing, another way you said Natalie was like the generation of thing and how old is untreated problems?

That in many ways, particularly in Africa, we like to explain things with religion or cost and, you know, you have the single black families class, but when you. Really step to look into some of these things. It’s all this untreated trauma just being passed down and passed out. Reading Queenie actually was when I had this conversation with this family member, I felt like I was so much better equipped to talk about these things and kind of sense, an illness.

You just need to get the help that you need and is subsidized to be ashamed of because sometimes they think you’ve grown up around these things and you’ve never really gone deeper to unravel them and why. And even for me, obviously, I’m sure I’ve absorbed a bit of that from my upbringing on the mental health points.

And also on the subtlety that the book was written. I found so interesting in that it wasn’t parodied how your life fulfilled. Like it’s fallen apart a little bit. It was like quite a slow ban of hair. Starting to have things slept. When I read a book, I get so invested in it that I feel like I’m the main character, like main character energy, you know?

And you relate something so much. You’re so engrossed that you feel like you’re then as I was reading it, I was just constantly exhausted by the crap she was going through. And I was just like, this isn’t necessarily something I’ve experienced apart from the religious aspect and the way her family approach, mental health and stuff.

But I just thought it was quite true to help many people and many young people even now experienced their mental health. So when she just wasn’t really addressing it and addressing the stuff from your past, I just thought, wow, that’s like, I’m from a working class Catholic background that it’s kind of like having mental health problems, the rich people problem.

It’s like not poor people problem. You just get on with it. You don’t really address mental health in the same way, because you’ve got to work. You’ve got to get off. You just got to keep moving because you don’t have those same opportunities. It’s a luxury to take time for yourself. Yeah. But you didn’t have the same opportunities.

So the people, so I think for Queenie. Yeah. Yeah. She didn’t have the same opportunities to the people. So you just have to get on with it. Like you’ve just got to work twice as hard for half as much. And I just thought, yeah, that is so true. And it was so exhausting to read in her perspective. It’s just one thing after another and you’re always so close to something imploding, but she’s just trying to keep it together.

Even though she’s got Gina who doesn’t want to know, and she’s got friends like Cassandra, who’s just infuriating, but everyone’s always got a toxic meat and you’re always apologizing for them. And I just felt like in every aspect, there was someone taking a little piece of art and she was just trying to get on with it the whole time.

And that’s what I really liked about queen is that even though at the end, she did end up addressing those things. I like that it wasn’t parodies. It was just so. Normally, I do wonder though, if she didn’t end up being suspended from work, whether she would still be stuck in the cycle of not addressing anything, still seeing men that aren’t good for her and just stuck in a cycle.

I think that moment of being suspended and having nothing was when she’s like, right. Let’s get this sorted. Yeah. As if like, would that have been her rock bottom? Yeah. I think you just carry on don’t you when you’re swimming and you’re just sort of treading water. You just keep doing that until you hit rock bottom or something forces you out of that state.

You want to touch on the friendships because that was such a big part of this book, the corgis Darcy, Cassandra, and Chesca have all individually surpass themselves when it comes to support recently, mainly just by allowing me to text and text and text though, I was beginning to worry that it was all a bit of a Queenie show at the moment.

I don’t want my friends to think they exist purely to listen to me. Talk about how much of a joke my life is. The corgis Chesca. Is it going to be cold Cassandra while it’s November? So probably Darcy is going to be four degrees. So we should all wrap up. I’ve got a spare pair of gloves if you need them.

Chesca. And the fact that they were so wildly different as a group and forced together. And I really love that. She said, you know, she’s forced these people into a WhatsApp group, but none of them kind of consented to being in, which is just so true of every WhatsApp group I’ve ever been in and created.

But I really, really felt like of all of the bad things happening in Queenie’s life. That support structure. Like, I don’t know if she would have survived without the support of those friends. What were your thoughts? Well, I mean, we’ve forgotten the friendship and this is my interpretation. So people might disagree with me and by the, um, I’m slightly old one just on why I thought what it was also, was it evidence that she also code switched a lot within her life because our frames were so diverse.

I, to presume you said they were kind of forced together in the WhatsApp group. So therefore I kind of fell out in different parts of her life. She makes friends with totally different people and she’s bought them together. So I presume she code switch and has different types of relations, different types of people.

And potentially that could be quite tiring. I find if you, as I said, it could be my interpretation and it could be that people disagree. I actually think I disagree. I agree because the fact that in the WhatsApp group and that became the dominant form of communication with the friends. And I mean, Darcy probably started outside of that because of the workplace.

I actually felt. That she was quite honest, open and direct and used pretty much a consistent voice in that group. So all I take away from her, in those groups where she was so selfish, she had no time for any of her friends. I found that quite passing that was when I found her the most frustrating was with her friends, that she just did not seem to care about anyone or any other thing.

But when she was expressing herself while she was keeping D definitely had a mask up and on and not being entirely truthful with them, I definitely felt like her voice was consistent. But again, did anyone else have a different thought? Well, I definitely thought the corgis was her sort of outlet to vent about whatever she wanted, but I did like how her friends didn’t give her what she wanted.

She didn’t get praise from them all the time. They actually gave her the facts and the realization that actually what you’re doing, isn’t the greatest. And you should. Take a step back and have a neck. I think the only thing that comes to mind when I think about friendship was that the relationship with one of her friends, I’m looking at lending her money and basically, yeah, it was like this weird dynamic where it was like, it felt a bit unhealthy to me.

So I just remember kind of thinking how much or everything else like that. So my kindness also feeds into. Or friendships and kind of who we surround ourselves with. Yeah. Kapha, Cassandra, I’m glad she was reasonably minor. I also think it comes down to how Shavon voiced her because she was just so posh.

There is something quite off-putting about that tone of voice. And we definitely need to ask about the voices and how they were selected when we get to the Q and a, but there was something uniquely unlikeable about Cassandra and that’s definitely how she was written, but also how she sounded. And yeah.

Like you said, you going to start really odd dynamic of lending, Queenie money to kind of get through the day, which was nice. But then it became like co-dependent I don’t know. It was yeah. Cause like a power play. Yeah. Yeah. I got that. I didn’t care for Cassandra at all, but I felt like we need to relationships with Darcy and Chesca they were like genuine friendships.

I felt like they genuinely cared for her. Whereas Cassandra, she used Queenie almost, even when they first met, she was like, we have to stick together and it’s like, okay, great. And then she would lend Queenie money, but then remind her that she’d lent her money. And it just very much came across. Like you’re beneath me almost like we’re friends, but I’m the more powerful friend or you need me or I’m here to help you.

And you just don’t remind people that you help them. If you help them, you help them. But you never. Bring it up because then it’s like, well, did you help them? Or is it some sort of leverage that you’re trying to have over them? You’re damaged goods. I words hit me like Anthony Joshua punch me in the chest.

I sat on the edge of the bed. You’re damaged goods. So you self-destruct Cassandra repeated calmly a good thing. She repeated it too, because I couldn’t believe what I’d had the first time. No wonder Thomas gait, when he did, he was too good for you. As her was continued to strike me, I could feel my heart fragment a little bit more.

You’re so closed off that actual love is out of your reach. So you settle for sex with anyone who fuck you. Your self esteem is a joke. She plays the edge of the tape on the cardboard and extended it, sealing the box. So take care. You can let yourself out. I stood up. What was the point in trying to change your mind?

Good luck with everything greeny. Cassandra said, as I walked out of the room. Oh, and you have my bank account details. I’ll send you your tab. I mean, like, even when some of her parting words to Queenie about sending her the tab, basically for the money that she’d lent, we can get into the guy’s stuff in a minute.

Cause that’s a whole other kettle of fish. But I did feel like the way that it was brought around where at the end, the people who were there to support her were still Darcy. And Chesca really just shows that there were the two like ride or die. Whereas knowing everything that like, she won’t know the full extent of guy, but even what she knew surely that’s enough for you to be like, this guy is really dodgy.

What am I doing? Because he was awful. Let let’s go into shower you because there was so just so many men that was so trash, just so many, but guy was uniquely and distinctly the worst. Um, I think it’s too early for that sort of present guy. I removed my hand from his boxes. I’ll come on. You said it yourself.

It’s Christmas time. How about a quick hand job? He bagged you took so long in the shower last night that I fell asleep before I could give you a festive fuck. A hand job is the least you can do guy. I think we should. I said in a very small voice, maybe wrap things up, hah, God cut me off. Come on. There’s nothing to wrap up.

This is never going to be more than sex. You know that you’re a good girl, but I’m busy. I don’t have time for dating and all that guy, you know, I’m a person, don’t you. I started with thoughts and feelings and, and a big gob, but most of all, a big ass, he was awful. But also, I mean, Ted was Ted was, he was really bad.

I can’t decide who was like, I really struggle. I was like guy because of the violence. Definitely took that up a notch. I will admit in my first listening of Queenie, I definitely got the sense that her and Ted’s. Relationship was more mutual than I thought it was. And then listening the second time, I was like, no, actually this is harassment.

This is plain as day harassment in the workplace. Guy’s an interesting one because he awful, he was so dehumanizing. Oh, you put your camera on for guy

you can just stop me. But yeah, die for me. It said a lot about the state of mind as to allow in that kind of treatment to happen to us. And I’m all for sexual freedom and yes, they’ll do your thing. However, Wayne, which was treated when she was alone with him was atrocious. It was disgusting. And then the way in which she tried the next day to the court is try to almost justify it and make it sound a lot less violent than what it was.

You could see that she in itself was like, Oh, it’s almost did I deserve, but that was month to be treated that way. I was like, no, no one does ask for treat that way. He’s trash. And start looking for trashed ice. What you’ve heard about, about the last trash? I just stuck away. Yeah. It really broke my heart.

They, when they did the date and it was horrendous, but then she wants to cuddle up to his back and get some sort of comfort and then he just pushes her away again. And it’s just my heart. Yeah. It was really heartbreaking. So guy trash, trash, human, horrible. If he says mail, send him to jail, hate him.

However, that least guy was what he says on the tent. You know what I mean? He was horrendous. He was horrible. And he was so flagrantly vial as a human that you could accept it, but it was the other man that were more acceptable. Tom, who she idolized Ted sweet guy looks. The part was actually horrendous that I found way more sinister because after her first time having sex with Gaia, I was like, okay, she’s going to take him to court.

He’s going down for rape. He’s horrible. But she kept going back to him because of her own things. But I think guy was just the big red flag, but I think he made links that, or the people in her life that were getting away with mass art that were smaller, like pink flags, almost red flag, but they were just more, uh, below the radar, which I was, it was a lot more mental, like actual manipulation, which can go with your heart and you don’t realize.

And then also what guidance, when that head go into the sexual health clinical effort, then that bans so racist. Oh, are you being sex trafficked just as she jumped up to leave a male nurse came through the doors and as expected screamed my name through the waiting room coming, coming. I got up in the nurse, smiled at me and walked through the double doors to the assessment rooms.

I followed him in my legs beginning to feel wobbly. When I was taken into a room a little too similar to Lewisham hospital scanning room, I sat in a squeaky plastic chair next to an old Brown desk. The nurse tapped some things in day’s computer. Okay. So I have a few questions. He said it shouldn’t take too long.

I wanted to turn and run back out into the waiting room. It was like this. I realized that I was desperately lacking some sort of maternal figure yeah. In my life. So Queenie your last sexual partner. When was that? Um, two days ago. And was it a casual partner or a long-term partner? Casual. I said I crossed and uncross my legs.

And this partner, where were they from? Were they from Africa? The nurse asked, were they from Africa, higher risk of HIV? The nurse told me, maybe you should explain that. But no, he was Welsh when I heard that, that was the most accurate part of the book. I was like, do they ask you these questions? Yes, they do.

Have you had sex with someone from Africa? I remember being at uni, like, um, I mean he is African, but I think he is born here. So does that count? Like you have to do the mental gymnastics to be like, what are you asking me? But I did appreciate as much as I felt the microaggressions were quite visceral in the sexual health clinic.

I did appreciate that they still were looking out for her safety and health. I think that was a one saving grace is like, these marks are consistent with very violent abuse. Are you sure you’re okay. And there must have been some sort of dissociation on Queenie’s part to just be like, no, no, I’m going to defend this decision.

I, I was okay with this. I can send it to this. And it’s like, did you though love, did you, or are you now consenting to it after the fact, because of all of the shame and the guilt and the fear that you must be feeling now after it’s happened, but yes, let’s go to Ted. Oh, just awful. Total manipulation. Ted placed his hands on my waist and pulled me up and into the left cameras.

I reminded him. What if someone is watching, he stood directly behind me and kiss my neck at them. See, he whispered into my ear, fuck it. I paired melting into him. We got up to Ted’s floor. And as soon as we stepped through the lift doors, he took a sharp right and open the door to the disabled toilets.

After year, he said my heart beginning to beat faster. If I didn’t want this, why was I letting it happen? Surely I wanted this. I just got worse and worse and worse. Every time he came back to Ted somehow got even worse. It really did, as we heard the email exchanges and just how relentless he was and how persistent he was and how much she actually, even though she was going through the mental turmoil of, well, I think this guy’s quite good looking and maybe I would, but that’s all happening mentally.

And I disconnect those two things in my original listening, but then actually now I’m hearing her internal monologue and then you’re hearing her actual interactions with Ted and she never gave any indication that she wanted any part of that man. All of her words and her actions were turning away. Very blatant.

I’m not interested. I can’t do this right now. I’m trying to get back with my boyfriend. And he wasn’t having any of it. And I’m actually quite glad that she kind of got vindicated in the end. So cause at one point she does slightly turn and she’s like, Oh maybe. And then she starts feeling guilty because she feels like she’s cheating on Tom’s that she’s feeling awful about it for that allowing herself to believe there might be something in it.

And then it just gets doubled down by him, big total trash. And then I think, I know we’re about to talk about voices in a minute, but I just think the way that he was voiced on my second listen, I was like, it’s the perfect voice for how much of a slimy snake he is basically. And I really let me, my skin crawl, listening to him talk.

That was really good too. I really love that. He’s just such a, like everyone has met that character in your life. It’s so relatable. If it’s not a blatant note, then men still go for you and still want yeah. Like, it’s just really frustrating to hear that it’s just, even though there’s hints and like, we shouldn’t eat, but yeah.

Sorry. I hate it. I’m getting, I’m getting red in the face. I think he just had the bowls of someone with privilege and that’s what pissed me off. You just did stuff with no form of consequences, getting married when he didn’t want to get married, her brass and Queenie, then putting in a sexual harassment claim against Queenie with no fault of consequence.

Like people just believed in because of who he was. What is that about? Where’s the investigation that’s like where people looking out for Queenie, like what the hell to have the balls to write a letter and think queen is not going to say. And because I am in charge here, I was you little bastard, like wanting forgiveness.

I actually just turning it around with yeah. Udacity is the one word. Describe him that way. You’ve got that audacity, but you need to put it back like a horrible, I need to breathe. We didn’t even touch on Tom and Tom’s family. So Tom is so small. He’s so big in that his presence is felt throughout the whole book, obviously, because she’s pining after him as her ex love.

But I know that we’ve all said that Tom’s highly problematic. I thought the most problematic thing Tom did, which I kind of understood in some ways was just not backup Queenie in front of his family queen Queenie. I paid into the darkness, Tom, this is where you are. It smells awful in here. He said before taking a deep breath.

Sorry. I got angry before. I kept my mouth shut, but you can’t keep doing this Queenie. His tone was disappointed. I know that in your family, everyone is loud and you solve problems by shouting about them. But my family is different. This keeps happening and I don’t know what to do. I can’t protect you when it’s my family.

You think you need protect him from Tom, ran his hands through his hair dramatically. And I rolled my eyes. You know what? My uncles like is from a generation where they said the N word quite a lot. I looked at him and blinked slowly by now. He knew that this man, if you think I’ll agree with you, you’re wrong.

Not that I’m excusing it. He said quickly, but come on, you can’t ruin my mom’s birthday because of it. As someone in an interracial relationship, I actually put that down to the fact that he just did not know how he, this was his first. Not that it’s an excuse. It was just his first. Non white partner, I guess, is how it’s portrayed.

And so him not even having the language or the understanding to stand up to them, probably played a part in that. But I’m curious to know what everyone else thought about. Tom’s dynamic within his family and what could he have done differently? And would you have done it differently if you were in his position?

Keep saying that although people have been doing this work for a long time, there’s been a very clear shift since the Jewish Floyd incident of people speaking, being much more vocal, and that spoke a lot more people, being more vocal about microaggressions and even most recently with, you know, what’s going on with you one day and how she had to deal with someone refusing to pronounce her name properly and thinking that giving her a nickname is acceptable.

And actually there’s so many layers to that. It was a very accurate depiction of what happens when you’re with someone who you care for. So it could be your partner, or we could be like, I’ve been with friends in the workplace before, and someone has made a comment pertaining to race about being black.

And you don’t want to say anything cause it isn’t. I know Queenie’s case was different, but it’s not racist as in, I hate black people, but it’s, there’s something very wrong with what you just said. And we know it because if you were in a different environment, you wouldn’t have said it and your friend wants to stick up for you and you know, their why or whatever, but they don’t want to make it.

Awkward. It was this huge elephant in the room that no one wants to address. And so people don’t address it and afterwards they might comfort you. But what happens is when you don’t address it, the person is still hurt. They don’t get to not address it. They have to deal with that hurt. So Tom didn’t know what to say, cause he’s never had to say anything.

And it’s this thing that we don’t talk about, even when it’s really, really blatant, like whatever his uncle said, but it’s either your discomfort or her severe pain. And in all of these interactions more often than not people choose your severe pain over their discomfort. And that’s what we saw that it doesn’t mean he’s racist or w what the hell is this guy doing?

It’s just, he’s never had to, he’s not had to make those decisions clearly. And I think, yeah, that was my take. Is that what made him increasingly problematic as we had these interactions progress, as she starts to recount these memories with his family, Is that he starts putting the blame on her for bringing it up.

And that’s where I started to take an issue with it because it’s one thing that you feel uncomfortable calling out your family, cause it’s your family and that’s awkward for anyone, but don’t blame Queenie for now defending herself for something that she literally cannot change and you are with her.

So that’s what really got him really got on my nerves about Tom, is that you can’t be getting angry with her for basically being called the N word at a Christmas dinner, or, you know, she’s got too much black on her when it was whites versus dark shirts or something in a game. And she was like, I’m wearing a white dress.

And the uncle’s like, no love you. There’s too much black on you. And I was disgusted. I’m glad she stormed out. And I’m glad that Kate dropped on the floor. Thanks. Yeah. Yeah. I’m happy about it. I was the queen. I, she didn’t, I start to think that Tom was in the changes, farmers perceptions in the slightest, but she just wanted Tom to be there and say something, be there for her without a supervisor that made him, you know, but yeah, it was just.

The shame. Cause you could just see him just reaching out to him across the rib night. Come on, please say something, anything, just say NFN. Mm mm. But then because there was no backup from him, she was then internally making excuses for the racist action that was going on. And was that he did that because I was just a Jake because she didn’t want to express her opinion further.

You did hear that second guessing going on of like, am I overreacting? And I think as black women in the room, I think that’s definitely, probably occurred more than once is like, am I being too much about this? Is this a big deal? Should it be a big deal? And I think that does happen. I think he just made her out to be an angry black woman.

It was just like you cheat, man. What is everyone? Because her reaction wasn’t no reaction. It was a reaction to something that was completely justified and she wouldn’t have reacted like that if he hadn’t of acted like that. So stop him acting like that. And she won’t react. I just thought it was so victim blaming the whole.

Oh, well, Queenie kicks off for every end. And I just thought, well, yeah, cause you did an effort in wrong, so I’ve got you expected today. Do you know what I mean? And it was just stuff, making it look like this Andree black, lazy. Every time she sticks up for herself, because if you’re not going to do it, who else is going to debit?

She needed to take up space. And every time she did, he was like, go back in your box. But every time I was definitely trying to pull her out, like, I want you to talk to me on what used to talk to me. And then every time she did try to say something or express it, it wasn’t the way he wanted it to be expressed.

And so he was just like, no, no, no, you’re doing too much. You’re going too far. I think that’s exactly it. What you just said is often her not expressing herself the way someone else wants her to express herself. And I think that’s so relatable for a lot of us in so many different situations is people say, you know, let us know if you need help or if you’re upset or let us know, let us know.

But then it has to be on. Their terms, otherwise it’s not received. And I think that was an example, obviously she exploded, but she had every right to, yeah. Yeah. Going back on the issue with creamy, starting to question itself, but that’s what racism does. It’s very insidious. And it also makes you second guess yourself.

And I just want to put it out there that as black people or black women, we must remember that we are not the problem. And that’s one thing that we need to. Keep at the forefront. We are not the problem. We’re just having to try to navigate in a world that is just anti-black. Hey, how are you finding audio book clubs so far?

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Now it’s time to introduce someone that can probably answer some of our lingering questions. We have the narrator and actor behind Queenie Chavon. Mark’s here. Welcome to audio book club Shavon. Hi, you have no idea how excited we are to have you here. Could you start off by introducing yourself to us? I am Chabot marks.

I’m an actor, a voiceover artist. A mum. Yeah. So that’s me welcome. Did you tell us how Queenie came to your desk? How did you come across the story? I signed to a new voiceover agent, so I think I’d only been with them maybe half a year or something. And then they sent me Queenie and said candy. Schedulers is like Pedro voice and really wants you to narrate her new book.

And I’d never done an audio book before. Wow. So I was a bit like, okay, I’ll have a read. I look forward to reading it. And then I read the book and I was just like, Oh, my God. It’s brilliant. I, yeah, it would just be the biggest pleasure to read this. Absolutely. Tell her yes, not a problem, but then also this feels like a lot of work, a whole book, not the best reader either.

So how is this going to go down? So, yeah, it was great. She heard my voice rail and just wanting me to do it. So I feel lucky. Yeah. How did it go down? Because there are a lot of characters in this book. How did it go? Um, well, I spoke to candidates a lot beforehand. We sort of made sure we were on the same, the same page with the characters.

And then from there I did a load of prep, read the book quite a few times, sort of approached it. Like I would approach a play because it was my first book I’d ever done. I was just like, Oh gosh. Yeah. How is it going to go down? And then on my first day, like literally within the first couple of, no, it must’ve been like the first hour I was reading it and I went to the loo and I.

Cried in the toilet because I found it so tough. I was like, Oh my God, I can’t do this. This is so hard. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I kinda cried a little bit, not too much because I knew I then had to go back and use my voice. And I didn’t want to sound like I’d been crying, but I was just so overwhelmed with it all because to sit in a box for three days and read a book is a challenge for sure.

But that’s what makes it so great seeing people’s reaction to it. And I’ve had so much love from people listening to it that I guess I should have had more faith in myself. Yes, you should. You absolutely killed it. Like, I don’t think you understand. I don’t have another voice in my head for cleaning other than your voice.

So yeah. Oh, if they decided to remake it or do a film, I would struggle. Oh, wow. No, you’re very welcome. So I’d love to know Shavon as a hobby project, I’ve been making some audiobooks myself yeah. For children. So for my nieces and nephews, and what I find difficult is remembering which voice I’ve used for which character.

And so the park keeper will reappear in the second chapter. And I think, Oh, blimey, was he a northerner? Was he Scottish? What was he? And I obviously I’m making notes and I’m just having fun with it. But did you have to have really detailed descriptions of the kind of voices you gave people that you could then refer to?

Yeah, that was part of the whole sort of overwhelm was it’s like, you’ve got all these voices what’s going to come out. Then they reappear, who were they? What were my choices? So for me, I annotate and I color code everyone. Everyone has their own color and I will choose a specific color for that character and to how it makes me.

Feel. So for example, Paul Darcy was like a soft pink, and then I would just look at that and it would instantly make me feel really dicey. And it would just instantly take me there. Granddad was like this light Brown and it would just make me feel slow and yeah. Have a different weight to my voice. So I would do that and I wouldn’t be able to do it without my little color coding.

And Chesca was like a bright red because she just gave me that sort of call edgy loud. Yeah. And that’s how I would sort of work. That’s so fascinating is that main people you’d see music in condoms. Do you see music and kindness? Do you have synesthesia that amazing gift of seeing? No, I’ve just done it for this, for my book.

So I always do it when, yeah. If I do an audio book now or you just always have just colors for how it makes you, I was just curious. Cause I love the way you link the colors with the way you imagined the character. So I was just curious what color. What kind of guy was, I think guy was actually just a blue it’s because he comes in quite late, but you start to run out of colors.

Also guy was written. I think he was, well, that is correct. We were told he was Welsh, but I don’t believe he actually had a Welsh accident. See, I wasn’t going to do that. Uh, so I was like, yes. So can’t do that. Can’t do that one. We’ll try to do this. So yeah, guy, well, she wasn’t actually well in the audio, but Tom spoiler sticks with me more out of the boys.

Cause I just remember it being quite whiny. That is so accurate. So you’re so annoying. Be quiet. It sounded like he was moaning. Yeah, Tom did have a very distinctive voice and it was a wine is definitely the best description for that. I think Candy’s when we were talking about it, she was like, think Simon from the in-between us, Natalie, please do ask your question.

Go ahead. I wanted to know what your process was. I’d be through. When you read the book first, you have that perception of the character in your head. Is it hard to not go into it? Start in the audio book with that preconception in your head. So like you say, you’re, Tom was already Waianae, but the characters such as tad, for example, he didn’t seem that offensive in the buddy name, but then he progressed into an harassing horrible, not very nice man, but his boys didn’t come across like that.

You did a brilliant job at not giving those preconceptions, but is it difficult to do that? I don’t think so. In the sense of, you know, I was reading like 400 page book and the only way for me to get through. It was like, literally just to take every page as it came. So I wasn’t really thinking about the end result of those characters.

I was just trying to stay present with it. And I had the first read, which I got to enjoy. And then I went back, go through, make notes, like highlight certain things that you don’t find out till later, but you might have to bring in earlier on, I just approach it like a script. I just wanted to ask him, I think it was, Revlamid a comment earlier that at some point reading a book, she was exhausted.

And I was just wondering for you, as you are going through this, did sort of the material and handling some of the challenges that Katie was going through. How was that for you? Like going on that emotional journey with her, was that really difficult or exhausting for you? Yeah, I think that was tough because I love queen and I think she’s beautifully flawed and was going through.

So much. And also, I mean, just doing a book is exhausting anyway, so that comes with it. But yeah, I think her whole journey and the decisions, her choices, it is exhausting, but in a great way, because I felt like I knew her. I felt like she was around a character. So. She was great to read. Viv. Do you wanna ask your question?

So this is more of a voiceover technical question. Like I mentioned at the start that I’m working on an audio fiction podcast and we’ve just wrapped up the pilot. And initially I voiced all the characters and so I voiced the different guys and the girls and everything, and then I got money to voice it with the house, do say it to voice it using actors.

But one of the things my character does is she breaks the fourth wall quite a lot. So I talk to the listeners and then I go back into the story and I was just after any kind of tips, because you’ll hear what my character is thinking, but then she maybe describes what she can see in front of you. So she’s talking to you now.

So I kind of have to switch between who I’m talking to. And I just wondered if you had any tips for that. It might be easier for you to explain queening a rating and then going into dialogue. Like how did you find that switch? Well, I still highlight. All of Queenie’s speaking lines is different to her just being alone and talking to us, the reader that is, we need voice when she’s talking to someone is slightly different.

How I do that? Is another story. Um, but I definitely, it feels when she’s alone, there’s more honesty. And I guess it’s just more internal. It’s more just to herself. And there may be even just technically on the market goes and little bit quieter. Yeah. Or maybe she speaks a little bit faster because she’s just mumbling to herself.

She doesn’t have to articulate every word. I definitely think you need to make a differentiation between the two. Well, from your response, even though you, I can see like, Hmm, what did I do there? And that does give me some comfort, but because that’s how I felt. And at times I would maybe. Try and look slightly left to give the sound of her voice, like a different sort of texture and also make it a little bit quieter in some places.

But I didn’t know if there was maybe a trick to switching between the two, because there is a subtle change. Like there is a difference between describing the character stores that internal monologue, but obviously you want your listener to hear it and then talking to your listener. So I guess maybe I’m on the right track, but I’m sure you are.

And I think actually I’m thinking about like candies with our writing. I think she made that really easy for me, but Queenie’s internal to audience, voice. I think it was actually quite different to how she spoke to everyone else. We got to know a lot more of Queenie. I think then the people around us sort of knew.

Yeah, I definitely felt like the distinction listening as the third party audience member, I felt the difference was in the speed and the volume, I guess, would be the easiest way to describe it. The cadence and the pacing was just ever so slightly different, which meant that we could differentiate between.

Queenie talking to us and Queenie talking to the corgis and Queenie, generally narrating Brixton, for example, you definitely did it that way. Whether you were consciously thinking about it. Yeah. It’s very comfortable. It will go to Sophie then Elliot, then Shaza aye. I wanted to ask, so obviously you’ve record set over three days and that must have been seven tenths.

Cause you were really in the thick of it. After I finished reading something or whatever, I feel like I have a bit of like a book hanging over. When you’re trying to piece out, what’s real, what’s not from your own life because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing. So did you find anything that really stuck with you that you were like, I just can’t stop thinking about this part from that three days of if Devon the book, was there any that just stuck in you and it changed your perception or something that you just couldn’t detangle from?

Well, I mean, personally on one note is Queenie with her therapy and going to therapy. I think that stuck with me. I took some quotes from that by me, actually sort of going internal and thinking about. My own mental health and how I felt. And from then I actually went and saw a therapist for myself. But I think as a character, because it was quite intense, I did try and shake a lot of it off because she goes on such a journey, such a roller coaster, but also at the end then as well, it’s not that things are solved or anything, but the ending feels like there’s a lot of hope for queen in the future for our next journey, I guess.

Good followup question to that was how were you taking care of yourself during the more intense readings of the book? Because there is quite graphic descriptions of sexual assault and microaggressions and racism in your black women as well. You know, how were you looking after yourself and making sure that you weren’t internalizing some of the harm that Queenie was experiencing as a character in all honesty?

I don’t know if I was. Fair enough. Yeah. I don’t know if I was even, you know what I said with the tears that could have been a multitude of things and not just me doing this and feeling overwhelmed, but yeah, I sort of as well, I spent so much time prepping to do this book. Like I said, I read it so many times I’ve gone through it so much.

Like, because I knew it was going to be great. I was like, I cannot mess this up. So I really put in the hours and I think it was just all a release as well. Thank you for your honesty on that, because sometimes that’s just the truth. We don’t, we don’t do what we need to do. It sounds like really intense three days because of what you doing in that time, Scott, and because of the story, but there’s also lots of moments of joy in that book, I think.

And I wondered what parts you either had a lot of fun doing the voices for, or if there was a character where you really enjoyed doing the voice. So it kind of lifted you through some of the heavier stuff. I would say Cheska I loved reading her. I went through my script, my annotated script, and I came across her, I think is when we first meet her.

When she’s telling Queenie about her day, when she’s met this guy and she goes on the date and he takes you to that Thai restaurant and she’s in a nice dress in crystal palace. She wants to be in the West end and she’s got on Ella Bhutanese and that, and I was just reading it and I then started to read it out loud.

And then I started to reading it. I remember having so much fun with that. She was just jokes all the time. So yeah. I loved reading for her. I loved reading, uh, bits of ideas. Oh yeah. Cause he’s just ridiculous. Yeah, exactly. It was just so ridiculous, but I enjoyed that. So yeah, I definitely had a lot of fun as well with some of these characters and also being her being a grandma was.

Really fun and reminded me of my grant. Both of my grants sort of merged together. Actually, there was a lot of joy for sure. It was far from doom and gloom. Wonderful. Charlotte, let’s go to your question just based on the conversations, heart inevitable. It’s inevitable that Queenie went through a hell of a large, met a lot of poor decisions in that.

So does she have a happy ending? I would say there’s light at the end of the tunnel that she’s about to go through another tunnel is how I sort of feel it. It’s not all joyous, but it feels like there’s contentment and she sort of more in tune with who she is. She’s learnt a lot about us when the book ends and where it ends and how it does, you know, as you closed that chapter and you finished voicing it, where did you yourself think Queenie would go?

Where do you see Queenie now after this is all finished? Cause I know you said that there would be a light before another tunnel. What do you see her next year being?

Oh, gosh. I mean, I don’t know if I don’t know. And also can I just point out, I read this over two years ago. It was a lot, I think it’s speaking to candies and her being, I think she, yeah, sorry. I don’t want to say too much.

Okay. Scoop that we’re not quite going to get!

I just wanted to know who your favorite character wants to voice and if it was Queenie, was there another one that was your favourite? Actually, I was going to say Chesca because as I said before, I did really enjoy voicing her, but I also really enjoyed her art.

Maggie. Maggie was funny. I really loved her. I sort of based her on Kim from EastEnders. Yes. I see that. So, you know, just for that instant, like intubate character, I would think of her. Yeah. She just gave me jokes. Really? Thanks,

Camilla go for it. I just wanted to say a huge, thank you for sharing all these thoughts about how you approach the project and listening to you talking and all of you describing the book and the characters.

I’m not really excited and I’m going to listen to it rather than read it because now that I’ve met, you should have one. I feel like I’ve been given a sort of backstage pass. It’s just a real privilege to be able to hear about the story from someone who’s clearly absorbed it and you know, the story so well.

So I’m going to feel like you’re reading it to me. So that’s you place? I thank you so much for sharing. Definitely. Listen, thank you all so much for coming along. This has been a phenomenal discussion. There is still just so much. We didn’t even get to even begin to unpack with Queenie and that’s just the way of any book I imagined.

But this one in particular, I think, was very relatable in so many different ways and it was just a phenomenal read.

We’ve come to the end of the show. What new thing have you taken away from Queenie? It’s an incredible story, right? Are you ready to have a go and become an audio bookworm? You know, that you can, and that does include if you’ve read and not listened to the book. Our next event is on Sunday, the 28th, February at 4:00 PM, where we’ll be discussing the erotics.

Stories pull Punjabi widows by Bali core, just well narrated by merit sigh out suggested by this week’s AudioBookworm Eunice you can register contentisqueen.org/ABC3, or find everything you need in the show notes. Our events also always happen on the last Sunday of every month. If you can’t make this one, you can probably make the next one.

If you’ve can’t bear to wait a month for your next audiobook, fix, check out. You heard it here first, a recommendation show that helps you find a new audiobook. Podcasts or drama to listen to on audible, you can subscribe and listen to it on your favourite podcast player today.

Thank you to all of our excellent audiobookworms and our special guest shovel marks. This was a Content is Queen production posted by Imriel Morgan produced by Amber Miller and Imriel Morgan. The featured guest was Shvorne Marks. The clips used are from Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, courtesy of Orion publishing the music and sound effects are sourced from epidemic sound until next time.

See you soon.

Founding Studio Memberships Launch

As you may already know, we have two London podcast studios -one in Peckham Rye and the other in Somerset House in Central London.

We’re excited to announce that we’re scrapping our monthly recording caps for new studio members. We want our studios to be a place you come and create your masterpiece. We want you to feel free and get into your flow state and like you have time to complete your podcast, book your guests and get your re-recordings in whenever works for you.

So when you sign up as a Founding Studio Member, you can:

  1. Book your recordings at any of our two studios.
  2. Stress-free reschedulings for guest recordings. Just rebook as and when you need to.
  3. We’re opening up our best-selling Editing Studio for members. Get up to 6 hours per month of podcast editing. (We’ve worked on podcasts from Amazon, Audible, The FA, Grierson Trust, BIFA and more).
  4. Get the visuals to match the audio with HD Video recordings coming to both studios in April.
  5. Access The Club, our member’s group where you can connect, create and collaborate with other members and us.
  6. Get early access to our beta Video and Design studio ahead of our launch in June.

You’re probably thinking:

  1. Sounds great! Where do I sign up? Go here
    OR
  2. ‘How are you able to do this?’ and ‘What’s the catch?’- Read on.

I was blessed with having a production team dedicated to my podcast’s success when I started podcasting. This meant my only real concern was making sure the content was pure fire. The beauty of having support is that you gain clarity, and you can commit to your vision. I thought about how you might not have this privilege, and the world is then deprived of your unique perspective or story. The idea that access to resources or tools could be a barrier makes me genuinely angry and upset. I want a future where we build empathy and compassion through storytelling, and we can’t build that without you.

So I started looking at my workflow and what’s helped me stay consistent and experience growth. I also asked myself: ‘What’ and ‘How’ questions like the below:

  • What if I could have it all?
  • What if I could record professionally recording, create video content, hire an editor and a video editor?
  • What could that look like?
  • What would that cost?
  • How much can I afford?
  • How much time will that save me?
  • How can I make this possible?

I was drawing up proposals and planned to make this a reality for myself and other ambitious podcasters like me. Then I was lucky enough to be approached by the brilliant folx at Audible, got in touch and asked if they could support this vision. After months of experimenting and tinkering, we can finally launch this programme and see how it’s received.

Trust me; nothing kills a podcast faster than mediocre growth or burnout from an overwhelming workload. 

But yes, there is a catch! 

We can only provide 27 Founding Membership places at £199 per month as we roll out new features and offers (e.g. masterclasses, filming, editing, design etc.) over the next 3 months. 

We’re looking for Founding Studio Members who are ambitious, imaginative and who can commit for at least 3 months and who’d benefit from the saving, one-to-one production and promotional support between now and the June 1st price increase to £599 per month.

*IF* you fit the bill, you can sign up to be a Founding Studio Member here.

February AudioBook Club: Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows

This February, we’re listening to Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

We’ll be coming together to discuss the book before having a Q&A with a featured guest who we’ll announce closer to the date.

Every woman has a secret life…

When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals.

Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty – these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands, being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the class’s illicit nature may place them all in danger.

East meets West and tradition clashes with modernity in a thought-provoking cross-cultural novel that might make you look again at the women in your life.

Where to get Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows:

You can get Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows on Audible here.

Join us on Sunday 28th February at 4:00 pm GMT for our virtual Audiobook Club on Zoom. Come and share your ideas, ask questions, and engage with others in conversation. (And yes, you can attend if you’ve read and not listened to the book too)

You can subscribe and listen to the AudioBook Club podcast on Apple Podcasts here or your favourite podcast player.

REGISTER HERE

What to expect:

1. To share your ideas, thoughts and opinions.

2. To ask questions.

3. To be respectfully challenged.

4. To listen and be respectful of others.

5. To be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

6. To meet a diverse group of thoughtful, intelligent and different people.

Who’s it for?

People that love audiobooks, podcasts, audio dramas and plays. Content is Queen is a safe space for people from all backgrounds to share their stories, thoughts and ideas through audio. Our monthly Audiobook club selection will always be reflective of our wider community and values around inclusivity. We encourage listeners of all races, genders, and sexual orientation to join us and be a part of our community.

Important note:

The event will be recorded, and the audio will be edited to create a monthly podcast. If you’d like to attend but don’t want to be included in the public release, please let us know at the start of the event.

REGISTER HERE

Micro-grants for Podcasters Programme

***Applications are now closed***

If you’d like to find out about more grant opportunities then please complete the form below.

We’re super excited to help aspiring and existing podcasters fulfil their goals with our micro-grants programme. The grants’ purpose is to support creators that might otherwise find it difficult to create their podcast. You can use this grant to pay for artwork, editors, equipment, music, pilots, actors, producers, social media support, advertising, etc. as long as you can demonstrate that it helps your podcast you can apply.

Each successful podcaster will be awarded a micro-grant of either £250, £500, or £1000 as a one-off contribution to their proposed podcast project. In addition to the grant, Content is Queen will be offering up to 6 hours of production support to grantees if they need it.

We hope that access to the grants inspires ideas, innovation and creativity.

Who can apply: 

  • UK-based individuals only
  • New or existing podcasters
  • Disabled people
  • Racialised people/persons
  • Anyone that identifies as LGBTQIA
  • Those from low-income backgrounds
  • Must be aged over 18

Who can’t apply for a grant:

  • Registered businesses, organisations, schools or charities –talk to us.

Additional Terms

  1. Successful applicants will need to produce a summary budget of how the grant was spent.
  2. Successful applicants will need to produce evidence of how the grant supported the podcast by 18:00 31st August 2021 (evidence includes, an audio file of the episode, artwork, social media ad reports, a recorded pilot, equipment receipts etc.)
  3. Successful applicants must be able to supply a UK Bank account in the applicants name.

Applications close on Sunday 21st February 2021, 23:59 GMT.

Successful applicants will be notified by Sunday  31st March 2021 

***Applications are now closed***

(Having trouble viewing the form? Click here)

AudioBook Club: Hell Cats- Impossible To Restrain (Episode)

For our debut episode of AudioBook Club, we meet up to discuss the Audible Original Drama Hell Cats written by Carina Rodney and directed by Kate Saxon.

Warning: There are spoilers in this episode

(Skip to the interview at 22:22 to avoid them)

Hell Cats tells the story of two fearless female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Their adventures on the high seas quickly see them embroiled in a queer love affair while being hunted by their mounting list of enemies. 

Our Audiobookworms are audio professionals Ellie and Amber who listened to the drama and couldn’t wait to share their thoughts on Hell Cats with you. The episode features listener questions and a special appearance from the show’s writer Carina Rodney.

Join us for our next live event and taping on Sunday, January 24th at 4:00 pm GMT where we’ll be getting stuck into Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams!

You can register to attend at contentisqueen.org/abc2/ the link is also in the show notes. If you can’t make it feel free to send your thoughts and questions about Queenie to us on Whatsapp on +447715 408831

Full transcript available below.


Imriel: Welcome to AudioBook Club. I’m your host Imriel Morgan, the founder of Content is Queen.

AudioBook Club is a monthly event and podcast where we celebrate and discuss Black, Asian, Queer and Female narratives in literature. Every month we meet with other audiobookworms to discuss an audiobook recommended by you. But, and it’s a big one! You can still attend the live event even if you’ve read and not listened to the book. We’ll share our live discussion in every episode, followed by an interview and Q&A with a featured guest. If we’re lucky, we’ll have the author but expect to hear from voice actors, directors, editors and even book critics.

Join us for our next live event and taping on Sunday, January 24th at 4pm GMT, where we’ll be getting stuck into Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, you can register to attend at contentisqueen.org/ABC2. The link is also in the show notes. If you can’t make it feel free to send your thoughts and even your questions to us on WhatsApp via +447715 408831 or 07715 408831 and apologies in advance but you’ll have to expect some spoilers. So if you haven’t listened to the book, but you plan to you might want to switch off now. (Music)

This week we’re discussing the Audible Original podcast and audio drama Hell Cats written by Carina Rodney. Hell Cats tells the story of two fearless female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Their adventures on the high seas quickly see them embroiled in a queer love affair all while being hunted by their mounting list of enemies.

Here’s what you can expect to hear in the show. (page turn sound FX)

Our love for the music:

Amber: I did like the whole running theme of a sea shanty going through and like the songs. (page turn sound FX)

Imriel: Our thoughts on the violence:

Imriel: I was bloodthirsty, and I was ready for him to die. I would love to see this on stage. (page turn sound FX)

Imriel: Revelations from our featured guests Carina Rodney:

Carina: They would spend a fortune when they came into port like the equivalent of thousands of pounds and a night out, and they would be completely pimped out with gold and jewels. (page turn sound FX)

Imriel All this and so much more. (Music)

First up, let’s meet this week’s audiobookworms, all aboard! (Music sting)

Imriel: With me, on today’s AudioBook Club who are keen to talk about everything Hell Cats it’s Ellie and Amber. Please introduce yourself.

Ellie: Hi, I’m Ellie, and I work in radio.

Amber: Hi, I’m Amber, and I edit podcasts.

Imriel: Brilliant. How appropriate that you’re both here. (Music)

Imriel: Can you describe the experience of listening to Hell Cats?

Ellie: Yeah, so, I just really enjoyed it. I knew within the first few minutes of listening to it that actually, it was something that was very different to the other sort of audiobooks that I had listened to you recently. And very quickly, I realised it was something that I wanted to give more concentration to. So it wasn’t just going to be a background lesson, it was going to be something that I really concentrated on. And I think that’s down to the way that it really throws you into it. And the really great scripting, and performances that really draw you in.

Imriel: I agree, I definitely felt that way it is definitely one that you have to concentrate on. Throughout. There’s just no way you could just be doing something else because you feel like you’re missing crucial plot points. And the first episode because it drops you right in the centre of everything. From the sound design to the background story of the two women. You’re just like, What is going on? Sorry, what did I just miss? And then I found myself having to skip back. So I think I listened to episode one or started episode one at least three times. Because I was just like, wait a second, I was too distracted. And so in the end, I gave up on multitasking and just engaged with it as a drama that I had to kind of sit and watch without actually watching anything.

Ellie: Yeah, I think also, there’s so many characters. It’s a really full world. So it’s like you said, the thing is if you’re not concentrating and then they introduce a new character, then you find yourself being like, Oh my God, Who is this? (-Imriel: Exactly) And then actually it turns out they’re really important, and you’re having to go back.

Imriel: Yeah. What about you, Amber?

Amber: Yeah, I think it lived up to all my expectations. I liked how you were saying it’s very immersive and it’s very cinematic. I really like audio dramas. And I see this as more of an audio drama than it is an audiobook because there’s so much going on. You’ve got so much soundscape and everything like that, and you’re already thrown into it.

Hell Cats Clip: On this day of October 20 1720. By Command of Governor Woodes Rogers of New Providence, a reward is offered for the capture of Captain Jack Rackham. And his grace of Hell Cats Anne Bonny and Mary Read for piracy and looting. His Hell Cats we don’t belong to Jack or any man bloody cheek. I thought Hell Cats had quite the ring to it, perhaps and how much is the good governor offering for our capture 500 guineas for both of us and Jack the governor has dragged him into he cannot be seen to be chasing after only women. It will take more than posters and reward chasing cowards to bring Anne Bonny and Mary Read to hell. I will face down the bastard to drag us back. I will not play their part again. Never. Those petticoats are long since burnt!

Come Anne, my best girl drink and sing with me for soon we sail. To us, Mary. To us! Anne Bonny and Mary Read. The Hell Cats! (Singing sea shanty)

Amber: I also like how even though there’s like 50 -Is it 52 characters? Or something like that. (-Imriel: I think it’s 56) But you are able to distinguish every character it’s easy to follow in that sense. Like I wasn’t lost by everyone entering.

Imriel: Yeah, I thought that was a good point, actually, because the accents are varied. So you’ve got like Jamaican, American, British, Irish, and different regions of the UK thrown together into this. So it does feel quite distinct so you can follow along. I think I’d probably struggled with the lesser characters voices. So like, yeah, the French actors I was like, I’m a French? Are they? (laughter) I’m not sure that sounds a bit hammy. But the French actors that came about when and pretends to be a ghost, who’s killed a man in a boat, but it’s really a mannequin. And the French (-Amber: the pig’s heart?) Yeah. And the French sailors are just like, no, we’re not going to this haunted boat. We don’t want to die. But those are probably the only like dodgy accents, but they were still distinct enough for me to know that these are different people.

Ellie: I thought the main cast was amazing, though.

Imriel: Yes.

Amber: Oh, yeah, (-Imriel: Oh God)

Ellie: Although we kind of -did we disagree, and well, I think I really like Jack Rackham. But you didn’t like him as much as I did?

Imriel: No, well, you told me you fancied him a bit?

Ellie: Did I say that? I did -I just really thought the voice actor really embodied how I pictured Jack Rackham being.

Hell Cats Clip: Will you be needing this? Or do you intend to throw both your shoes at the richest man in New Providence? And who are you? Captain Jack Rackham At your service, Anne Bonny. Bloody things have been killing me all night. He can keep ’em he paid for them. Chidley Bayard is a man who will have his pound of flesh. He bought my clothes; only my body is my own to give. I pity the man who sees both spirit and beauty and a woman and only values the quality that fades with time. Well, you are a rare breed, Jack. Allow me to escort you home before Governor Woodes Rodgers changes his mind about punishing you. You cannot walk back in bare feet. Fine. But I’m warning you. You keep your hands to yourself. As you wish, on the promise that you will meet me tomorrow. And will you be amusing company, Jack? Oh yeah, always, it’s why I get invited to such fine parties.

Ellie: And one of my favourite clips in the whole book basically is because of his character.

Amber: I think Jonathan Bailey, who plays Jack Rackham, is a great actor in general. I don’t know if you’ve seen Crashing?

Imriel: I have not

Ellie: no I haven’t

Amber: he’s been in a couple Channel 4 sitcoms. Crashing was with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and his whole persona in that show too. was very Jack Rackham

Imriel: Oh, wow.

Ellie: I mean if Jack Rackham was like do you want to sail away with me? I don’t know that I would say no?

Imriel: Oh, now see! How was I incorrect in this assumption?

Imriel: I was not taken in by Jack at all. I don’t think I had like (-Ellie: you didn’t want to do an Anne Bonny). No, I just (-Ellie: runaway). Honestly, I don’t know that I even had erm… I guess this kind of moves us quite nicely into characters anyway, because I’m not sure I actually liked any of the characters that much. I kind of really liked the story as a whole. I’d say if I had to pick a favourite pick, Pierre.

Ellie: Yeah, it’s like a secondary character.

Imriel: Yeah, don’t be rude. Pierre was moving that plotline along thank you very much. He kept that thing pacey.

Ellie: That story would have ended quite quickly.

Imriel: Plus, I think the actor that plays him Fisayo, he’s bloody brilliant. I was just like, you know what? There’s a gay black man in the middle of this white as hell Providence town. The only other black characters that feature are Jamaican, who I also loved by the way. I was like this is hilarious.

Hell Cat Clip: Can I help you, my dear? I was just looking. Pierre Bouspeut designer and seller of the fine and feminine at your service. I’m Anne Bonny newly arrived in New Providence. Oh, a newlywed, a runaway. Both. Exciting! And has your new husband giving you gold to spend—a little. Ohh a little can go a long way with such good raw materials. I want a bold look. I feel that is fitting in a town like this. And for the wife of a pirate. You are right, my dear. New Providence is a place for boldness and for pirates and those who love them. What do you think of our wild town? I think is wonderfully alive. I see we are going to get on well. Let me show you what we have that will set off that rich red hair of yours.

Imriel: I just thought he just moved it along and kept it funny and light. So when it got really heavy and when Anne got, just a bit too bratty. And I really disliked her.

Ellie: She is deeply unlikable.

Imriel: Yeah, very much so.

Amber: Oh, I really, I really hated her.

Imriel: It would be nice if someone liked her.

Amber: I hated that everyone died and she stayed alive.

Imriel: Yeah, I was really bitter about it. I wanted Mary to stay.

Ellie: I know. I know. Although I sort of had the ending ruined for me. So I listened to this on Audible, and I went into the Audible page, and I saw a clue. Like they had the characters and then the dates they were alive so that I obviously was like, well, all of these people have died at the same time, and Anne hasn’t. But I got a pretty good idea of I didn’t know how it was gonna happen. But I’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s about to happen here.

Imriel: It’s such a bittersweet ending because I’m glad someone made it to tell the tale, obviously, because surely she is the reason why we might know about this today.

It did sound like she disappeared. I love the idea of her just going off to like a little hut in Ireland or something and just living out her days.

Amber: I hope she did. Because why would she put herself in all that danger again with two kids?

Because she can’t be tamed?

Hell Cat Clip: Who are you? A friend of this child’s mother?

She is a foundling with no kin. That is not true.

This child is the daughter of a great pirate queen. Mary Read Captain of the Vanity. What is your name? Molly.

Molly Parkin.

Well, Molly, I am taking this child. As I promised Mary, her daughter would be raised with love. And Mary and I always kept our promises to each other.

Imriel: But do you think she should have taken Mary’s child?

Ellie: Yeah, but I don’t know if that’s real.

Imriel: Or do you know, we should ask,

Ellie: I have to ask,

Imriel: Does she really take the child? I don’t know. I really had a moment when she encountered the kid. And I mean, on the one hand, I got it in that the child’s father doesn’t love her or he does love her. But his wife doesn’t so she’s probably going to suffer.

Amber: I thought it was very mirroring of Anne’s upbringing. Yeah,

Imriel: Unnecessarily so right. But I still don’t feel that child would have been in better care with and I’m just saying, I’m putting that out there.

Amber: Do you know how old and was at the pinnacle of this all happening?

Ellie: No

Imriel: No, we don’t. But I can’t imagine that any of them would have been that old. I imagine them all being late teens early 20s because people died really young back then. And they lived on the high seas. Maybe that’s just me making bad assumptions about pirates (laughter)

Ellie: What about Mary/Mark.

Imriel: See, I liked Mary/Mark. I feel like out of respect to their identity. We should probably default to calling him Mark because they are transgender. Oh, he is transgender.

Amber: Would they be non-binary in the fact that they’re just happy in themselves?

Imriel: That’s true.

Hell Cat Clips: No need to lie to me. It does not feel like a lie. You’re a woman. I have never truly thought of myself as female or male just myself in a place in between. (Page turn FX)

Feel my heartbeat in inside my shirt. You are Yes. Me too? How can you feel that way? For me? If you are a woman, it is not right. It is not natural and what is true is not inside these clothes is in my heart and my head that is where my truth lives.

Ellie: hmm. I mostly really liked it. I mean, the whole point is that they’re super loyal. Right? And then sometimes that was frustrating when they were being loyal to who was very clearly the wrong person to be loyal to

Imriel: Oliver Marlow could die.

Ellie: Yeah, and from the beginning, I was like this guy is not it. (Imriel- Not it at all) Then he betrayed her and all this shocking surprise, and I was like he

Imriel: was a coward.

Ellie: This guy’s a snake. (-Imriel: Yeah)

Amber: I think it’s just it was just one thing after another for them though. (-Ellie: Yeah). Early life was horrendous, becomes a powder monkey, that’s horrendous army’s horrendous. meet someone lovely. They die horrendous. And it’s just continuing. Don’t get a break.

Imriel: Yeah, I really liked them as a character there. I thought overall; they were just fair; you could just tell they have a good moral compass. They know what they want.

They were always the one who was so in control and always even-tempered. And is it audio drama progresses, you start to see that slip. So things like whipping the old naval captain,

Imriel: hmm yes, goodness me the violence in this…

Ellie: And then them getting absolutely plastered, and being found to the most dodgy pub. And yeah, I think it’s a really interesting thing that you see at the beginning, they seem so put together, and you know, Anne’s the one who’s out of control and then actually, you see what happens towards the end, you know, they’re the one who’s really lost in comparison.

Imriel: That’s a really good point because I never really thought about that at all. It’s this kind of slow demise, and the interception of that was becoming a pirate falling in love with Anne. And then I never quite got whether there was like a hole Anne, Jack, Mary situation I always got the sense it was Anne and Mary and Anne and Jack, and that was always kept separate. And then Oliver Marlow comes along what does make sense for their character was protection, seeing someone vulnerable and possibly connecting with that vulnerability, and not wanting to see someone who doesn’t deserve to be harmed. And I guess that’s what connected her to Oliver Marlowe, but he was just not the one. Leave him alone. Why are you marrying him? Stop, stop this.

Ellie: And the fact like they got into like a duel for Oliver. This guy’s not worth losing your life over.

Imriel: Do you know what I mean. Let him fight his own battles.

Amber: The pinnacle of their downfall was all because of a man, really.

Imriel: Yeah, I guess. Yeah, I guess that really speaks to the common story of women, because they end up pregnant. Well, the hormones of pregnancy make you more; generally, women tend to become more protective or instinctive around their newborn or their future unborn child. So that kind of slipping element could also be down to the fact that actually, their life has changed in a way that was completely out of their control. Do you know I mean? I don’t want it to sound like women lose their mind when they get pregnant. Cuz I don’t think that’s the case. I just think that there is a distinct change that comes about and for someone like Mark who has control who is always even-tempered, as you said Ellie, that change in their body is just going to be now everyone will know I’m a woman. What does this mean for me? And in the time like that, where it just wasn’t even safe. I really felt I really felt for them. There was just no letting up in this story. Like no one got away except for freaking Anne, what the hell!

Ellie: I just was like well yead well she’s got a rich dad so…

Imriel: Exactly.

Amber: How money controls everything. Literally, money saved your life.

Imriel: Yeah, I did want to ask because we all listen to this on Audible. How thrown were you by the photographic portrayals, Audible uses versus the voice actors?

Ellie: Yeah, it’s completely different.

Imriel: They’re like different humans, are they composites?

Ellie: Why would you not just use the voice actors?

Imriel I was really confused by that

Ellie: Do you want to know something really embarrassing. I remember thinking, looking at the photo and being like, wow, it’s amazing that they got voice actors that actually look like how the characters are described. Like, oh these are just essentially models to go with the piece.

Imriel: Which is such a strange thing to do. Or is that? I don’t know.

Ellie: I don’t know if it’s common practice or not, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t just use them, I guess. I don’t know if you’re a voice actor. Maybe you’re like me, I’m a producer, and I hate being on mic, maybe it’s like if you’re a voice actor. You’re like, No, I didn’t want to the whole point is… Although you said, that guy was on TV.

Amber: Yeah, all of them were.

Imriel: All of them are actors

Amber: Mark/Mary is (-Imriel: Erin Doherty), Princess Anne in The Crown.

Ellie: Yeah. So yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know why you wouldn’t just use them.

Imriel: Yeah. And they’re in all the promo. It was a very odd choice. And it really threw me off because I kept picturing the characters but then I heard Erin Doherty as Mark/Mary, and then I was like, wait, but that’s Princess Anne from The Crown. Wait, but princess Anne is really posh, and they’re really common. I don’t understand. My mind was literally just blown all over the place. Could you guys see this being a film or play?

Together: Yeah

Imriel: Like a really visual piece

Ellie: God, it’d be so fun as a play.

Imriel: I would love to see how they would create that

Ellie: You could do loads of staging

Imriel: Oh, it would make such a good panto. But you know, an adult one.

Ellie: It really would be great in the theatre. I would happily go and see that.

Imriel: Yeah.

Amber: I also love to talking about it being as a play. I did like the whole running theme of the sea shanty going through and the songs which would be good.

Imriel: Yeah. Yeah, that is a good point. Actually, because Carina is a stage writer, she definitely would have had that in mind as she’s pulling this together. Like, it does feel very theatrical. (Page turn FX)

Imriel: The moments that really stood out For me the most was when Anne is trying to look for Mary, and she’s with that captain, I think it’s Bayard. And then he tries. And she’s stealing from him. And then he basically captures her and pins her down. And then it gets really violent very, very quickly. And then the moment when Mark starts killing that guy, and he clearly kicks him in the head. (-Amber: Yeah it’s really brutal) It sounded so graphic. (Hell Cat Clip)

And I was just like the violence. I would love to see this on stage. Like, those are the moments I was just like, I want to see it. I want to see the blood spray.

Ellie: Amber’s like I like the sea shanties and Imriel’s, like, Murder!

Amber: There’s me being all romantic and poetic.

Imriel: Every time I think of Hell Cats, that’s the moment that I come back to how graphic the sound design was, with some of those violent moments. The sound design was phenomenal throughout. But there was just something very like visceral. Maybe it’s because it’s violence against women. We had just listened to ‘Men Who Hate Women’ by Laura Bates. And here are these guys who are being predators and taking ownership of women’s bodies. And then the women exact their revenge, and I was just bloodthirsty, and I was ready for him to die. (Laughter)

Amber: How would you? How would you shorten it down then to play? Because I think that’s what’s so great about having it is a series like this, it can go into depth, like it can carry on and be as long as it wants. And I don’t think there were any bits where it was -it wasn’t needed. I enjoyed everything.

Imriel: Yeah, that’s a good question. Really, good question.

Ellie: You could cut out one of the attempts of Anne’s husband.

Imriel: Yeah, James Bonny

Ellie: He was relentless, which I think is obviously it’s hard because you want to get that across. But also, I did find myself on the final attempt being like, again! (laugher)

Imriel: He’s like Robocop or The Terminator.

Ellie: Yeah, exactly.

Amber: With that character, he was so… it was like his masculinity was being threatened or something like that. And his only way of being a man was having his wife, and this is my possession. Because I think every time that someone else speaks to them, no one likes him because he’s (-Imriel: a coward) He’s not a pirate. But he doesn’t do good at the same time. He’s just a right, wuss really, and so Anne was his only way of really being the man that he is

Hell Cat Clip: Under the law of the land. She is my property and belongs to me.

Imriel: Yeah, that thing that gave him his confidence

Ellie: I loved the drama of him not being a pirate. (Music)

Imriel: Hey, How are you finding AudioBook Club so far? Do You think you want to jump in and get involved? Head to contentisqueen.org/news to attend our next event and taping. Or send us your thoughts, questions and suggestions on Whatsapp via +447715 408831

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If you love audiobooks as much as we do and can never decide what to listen to next, check out the You Heard it Here First podcast. Where you’ll get honest reviews of audiobooks, podcasts and dramas available on Audible you can subscribe today on your favourite podcast player.

Imriel: Now it’s time to introduce someone that can probably answer all of our unanswered questions. We have Hell Cats writer Carina Rodney joining us. Welcome to AudioBook Club Carina.

Carina: Nice to meet you. It’s good to be here.

Imriel: It’s such an honour to have you here. We’ve been gushing over the drama and have so many questions for you. Could you start off by introducing yourself to us?

Carina: Hi, I’m Carina Rodney, and I’m a writer.

Imriel: We’re really excited. We’ve just been having a very voracious chat about all the things we loved about it. I don’t think any of us had anything we didn’t love. Really. We’re just like, how the hell did you pull this off? We’re quite keen to get our questions in. And I have a couple of questions from people that couldn’t make it. With us today. We have Amber and Ellie, both who work in audio. I am Imriel. And I also work in audio. So naturally, we have formed the AudioBook Club. Because we are audiobookworms, I guess like to just kick things off; it’d be good to know how you came across the story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read or Mark Read in the first place? And then what inspired you to create an audio drama and podcast from it instead of your natural habitat, which is on the stage and in visuals?

Carina: Well, I came across some years ago. I can’t remember how I think I just read a story about them. And I was so fascinated by them. And then I was part of a writing group that was about northern voices and northern stories. And I thought I’m gonna write this as my you know, pitch episode. So I wrote a pilot -a TV pilot for Anne and Mary which was very different from the opening episode for audio. And we all got a chance to pitch to the Head of Drama at the BBC. Yeah, before we went in, he sort of announced that he didn’t want anything on water. She was really expensive. And then I had to go and pitch to him when everyone else has kitchen sink dramas. Yeah, my opening scene was three ships in the Caribbean. (Laughter) It was the most excruciating, like 15 minutes. Yeah, it was awful. As I just kept them, and I kept adding to my file of them and thinking, I’ll never be able to do this.

Imriel: You are a writer. And you also do stuff for stage as well. So would there have been a difference in the way that you had put this together, knowing that it’s now going for audio as opposed to a visual medium?

Carina: Oh, completely. I revisited it from the start. It was the page one rewrite on the episode I had done. And Audible allows you to move very swiftly without worrying about locations and settings having to physically change. So it gives you a much broader scope to tell a story. And you don’t have to be doing that budget in the back of your head about how often you’re moving things or physically moving your characters. You can be there in like the click of a finger just take them somewhere completely different.

Imriel: Yeah, that’s kind of the joy of audio, isn’t it? Yeah, no one can see what you’re doing. So you can basically fake it a bit. Guys, did you have any questions for Carina that you wanted to throw out into the mix?

Ellie: Yeah, I’ve got one. So I think one of the things that we’ve spoken about that we really loved about this is how rich it is with all the characters. And it really creates a world that really immerses you. And I was saying just before you joined that; it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to an audiobook that captivated me as much as that. And I’m wondering when it comes to taking this idea that you have how do you build a world that is so full of detail with different characters and different voices? How do you achieve that?

Carina: I think Audible were brilliant with me because they never put any limitations on. And I never asked how many actors I was allowed. So I actually wrote more, they sort of doubled or tripled upon parts. And I was so lucky; I kind of got to do that. So I always had my main characters. All the main characters are historical characters that were connected to the Anna and Mary story. So James, and the governor, and Jack and Pierre, and then had to have enough of a pirate ship that when they split their teams, Anne and Mary went off on their own, they had enough pirates to work that, and Jack did. So I sort of built from the top down, but also thinking about what these additional characters represented are reflected about a very diverse community that would have existed at that time in those places. And I was lucky that Audible didn’t just say, you’re only allowed, 10 people.

Imriel: What has been the reaction like for you to the book? -What do you call it? Do you call it a podcast?

Carina: An audio drama

Imriel: Yeah, we’ve been calling it (laughs)

Carina: You know, you’re not supposed to look at your reviews, but I have obsessively, of course, every morning. (laughter) And it’s been so lovely to see people really engaging with the story and feeling sort of immersed in it. I, of course, completely resent the four people who gave it one star because they couldn’t download it.

Imriel: That is so classic Audible reviewer.

Ellie: Isn’t it classic.

Carina: ‘I  couldn’t get it to work on my phone’ one star for everything (laughter). I really shouldn’t fixate on that, but I am fixated on the unfairness of it. So it’s been wonderful. There’s been a lot of responses to people with those amazing statues from Amanda Cotton, which are just so beautiful. I can’t wait to see them. Yeah, I have been really enjoying the reviews in a sort of shameless, like obsessive way.

Imriel: That’s brilliant. (Laughter)

Carina: I can’t say otherwise

Ellie: I mean, it’s a story you’ve held on to for ages, and it’s finally out in the world. So I guess, do you feel you’ve released it? And you can move on to other things now? Or do you? Is there more of that story that you want to tell? Are you able to let it go basically?

Carina: I don’t know if I can let it go? I would love to see it. I would love to see it on the screen as well. I know audio gave me absolute freedom in how I could imagine it I was never reined in once, and they just let me do it exactly how I wanted which I can’t imagine any other medium giving me that freedom by what quite like to see it. And I feel happy thinking about what would happen to their daughters? You know what, what would Anne be up to in London, but what about their daughters and then I was thinking highway women would their daughters be that. Maybe I could just do it by generations, so I never have to let them go.

Ellie: What’s a modern-day? (Laughter)

Carina: Anne, would it go quietly off I don’t think. So her famous line about you know, ‘if you fought like a man, you wouldn’t have to hang like a dog’ was recorded in the details about the court case. And it was actually Captain Barnet who did capture them. And it was absolutely true that they fought for an hour while the men were drunk in the holes.

Imriel: Wow, we were just talking about that scene. The violence was just so yummy and gross at the same time, but mostly yummy. (Laughter) I love that. We have a question from a lady who wanted to attend but couldn’t her name’s Abigail. She said when you heard your script performed? How did it compare to the way it sounded in your head during the writing process?

Carina: Well, first of all, I had such a brilliant director in Kate Saxon and such an amazing cast. I thought they’d been given an impossible task because they had to record it in 10 working days.

Imriel: Oh, my God.

Ellie: Wow.

Carina: Because -and 56 actors because of lockdown. The Audible studios weren’t open. So they had to, they had a two-week gap in the only lockdown studios in London. And they could only have I think it was five or six at a time in individual booths. So they could only see each other on the screen. So they weren’t- I thought how are they going to buzz off each other and play off each other.  And so when I heard it, I just couldn’t believe what a brilliant job they’ve done. I mean 10 days, I was just like this 10 hours. There was 10 hours originally a script. And they were recording like an hour a day.

Imriel: Oh, my God. I’m actually like, dumbfounded.

Ellie: That’s amazing.

Imriel: That is insane.

Carina: So what that’s you know, all kudos to Kate and the cast because they were fantastic. And the production team, but I just was how are they gonna do this?

Imriel: That is wild. I had no idea it was produced in such a short period of time. Oh, that’s awesome. (Page turn FX) I love Pierre Pierre was my favourite character. I live for him and the Caribbean lady who testifies at the end against them.

I found a newspaper article. Yeah. testimony in a court transcript. I mean, they did rob her canoe. (-All together: Wow/ now way). Yeah, she was one of the few actually completely verified sources and witness statements. And she was so annoyed and feisty. I thought, Oh, my goodness, she’s gonna be brilliant. She’s actually caught recorded, saying, ‘Well, how did you know there were women if there were dresses, man’, and she was just like ‘by the largeness of their breasts, of course’. (Laughter)

Amber: Amazing.

(Music Sting)

Imriel: I think this leads nicely onto one of the questions a listener submitted.

Listener question: Hey, I’m Quan, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. It’s such a cool concept. So thank you for creating this space. I did have a question because I loved that you included the black characters, Pierre and I think her name is Dorothy, are they real? And if they are real, are based on real people. How did you come up with this? How did you find them? I want to know more. Thanks again.

Carina: Pierre was only briefly referenced as a character in the historical records I could find as probably Jack’s lover, who was a part-time pimp but also a tailor and had this amazing dress shop. And, and I thought well, he sounds fantastic. So I just built him from the ground up. But Governor Woodes Rogers is really well referenced. There’s different accounts of Jame’s but the fact that he was a pirate who really wasn’t or had taken the pardon, or had squealed and other pirates. So there’s quite a lot out there some of the stories that are their conflict, but even some of the minor characters like Dorothy Thomas in the court trial, I mean, her testimony’s recorded. So there are actually direct quotes some of them have that were attributed to the people. So I was just about reading really everything I could find and then thinking about what serves the story that I wanted to tell what I could build on what I could imagine and develop. So it became mine. It’s not a documentary. I always start with characters that I find interesting. And then thinking about how they react when you put them in certain situations. If your characters are interesting enough, you can put them anywhere, and they’ll give you a story.

Amber: Yeah, that’s what I wanted to ask is how much of it is fact and how much of it is fiction? Because you’re saying that they’ve gone through all these wild stories? Are the majority of them true?

Carina: When you start buying things online and buying books about the reading accounts, you realise everything’s come from the general history of pirates, which was an account of famous pirates that was written published two years after Anne and Mary’s trial. And variations of that story has just been retold, but the problem is beyond a few facts is we don’t know how much of that account is absolutely historically accurate. So we know they existed. We know about the trial, we know they dressed as men, we know they fought always to the death together to protect each other. And then there’s variations of that. So I found the historical records, I could access some things through the Kew archives, read everything I could and then thought, well, no one’s got a definitive account. So what’s the story I want to tell? It says I suppose, in the same way, stories told of the Peaky Blinders or Robin Hood, that we know that things are grounded in fact, but even what’s considered fact, and truth is, often can be hearsay. So there’s no, for instance, records of Mary’s army time that I could find is only referenced that she served in the army, and has been told and passed down that she did. And of course, with them being women, perhaps their stories weren’t recorded and told or written in the same detail, but quite a lot is known about them. And specifically, the trial,

Imriel: Your retelling will also be part of the archive or the capsule, that is their story as well.

Carina: I think I could imagine I mean, they would spend a fortune when they came into a part like the equivalent of thousands of pounds on a night out, and there would be completely pimped out with gold and jewels, and their own image was everything. And I just think it must be wild New Providence said there were more pirates and non-pirates. and a at one point Blackbeard before Governor Woodes Rogers appears, Blackbeard ruled that he was a sort of unofficial ruler. And they could spend the equivalent of 20 years wages for a normal person in a night in port. And I just think I could just imagine them strutting about. And image was everything, and status was everything and respect was everything. And the thought of these two working-class women. Well, I know Anne ended up with the money, but she’s from a poor background, originally -inhabiting that world and ruling it and ruling their own ship is very appealing.

Imriel: Oh, that’s so cool. I didn’t realise it was that well detailed. I thought it was bits of missing history and newspaper excerpts here and hearsay there. But it’s quite cool that there was actually like some solid material to build off of as the foundation. (Page turn FX)

Imriel: I do want to talk about Kate Saxon, the director. What was it like working with audio producers, audio directors, and did you find that was quite a collaborative production were you quite hands-on and involved throughout the whole production process?

Carina: It was, I did some writing sort of on my own. The support was there when I needed it. And for the notes at the end. And then Kate came in after the show had been written. And she’s very dynamic, a very creative director. And she did an incredible job. And she worked very closely with casting and with the producer, and with me on tweaks and the rewrites that needed to be done quite close to the bone. And I really felt she brought her own energy to it. And she suited the show because it is very plot-driven. It is fast-moving, there’s no narrator it just moves with the characters. And it was great having a female director as well on board, and we’ve carried on discussions afterwards, Kate and I and I’d love to work with her again. We’re hoping to work together again on something.

Imriel: what scoop I’m so excited to see what that is. (Music Sting)

Imriel: The sound design is something we’ve been commenting on Amber, you mentioned the shanties and the songs. I mean, I think it was right up there and went beyond the plot being fantastic. And the writing and the directing me and fantastic. The sound design also just was the icing on this very epic tiered cake. And it really dropped you in it was super immersive. And what also was just the cherry on top of these shanties and the songs that appear throughout the series. And I want to note, how did you go about writing and selecting the music? Was that always at the forefront of your mind that there has to be this musical element in the story?

Carina: I was lucky that the cast was such brilliant singers. I mean, Michelle and Erin have beautiful voices. But I saw sort of sea shanties that I hoped reflected the tone of particular scenes and then Matthew (Slater) kind of reset them because they didn’t match the music exactly. And he is so talented, and they wrote an original score to weave through the story. But the shanties are sort of their time as well. Hmm.

Imriel: Did you have to research pirate shanties?

Carina: I did. I research all sorts of strange things. So yeah, I did a lot of listening to shanties as well. And Matthew just built on what I put into the script and improved it and told his own story through music, which is so beautiful. It’s such a blessing. I feel so privileged to have that as an element of the story.

Imriel: Yeah, it’s really nice. It was a really small but touching feature that put you right, right on the ship decks and made you feel like you’re part of this world. Do you have a favourite scene or a moment in the story now that it’s come to life?

Carina: I’ve never really thought about a favourite scene. I do like the scenes when it’s Anne and Mary together. And there’s a scene where they go to a ball. And they’re both dressed up Mary is very reluctantly dressed as a woman. And seeing them in these different environments. And then instead of blending in the environment is just kind of crushed by them. They’re unable to behave sensibly, though, logically, in some ways, they just set off with the best intentions, and their wild temperaments just run away with them. So many scenes, when I see them respond into any environment that’s trying to crush them. They just fight back. They’re impossible to restrain. And I love that about them.

Imriel: Yeah, they’re so naughty, the two of them especially that Anne. Oh, my God.

Carina: I know she’s really infuriating, but I love her.

Imriel: Speaking of Anne, when we were discussing the podcast, you know, I think collectively none of us were particularly fans of Anne Bonny. We’ve got a really great question here from a listener called Micha. So let’s hear what she had to say.

Listener Question: Hello, my name is Micha. I really loved the story, especially the feisty representation of Anne. But I still feel there’s not enough of those types of character in literature. Although I have seen some change with characters like Villanelle in Killing Eve and Aunt Lydia in Handmaid’s Tale, I’d love to know how you feel about as a character and her role as an antihero?

Carina: Well, strangely, Anne’s the one that everyone kind of knows about, if you know about these two women, and Mary gets sidelined has not been as glamorous or as exciting, but Mary is the one you want in your corner. She’s a good person stubborn, pigheaded sometimes, but good. But Anne, I love writing with her and being with her as a character because she was endlessly creating drama and more problems. But as a person, she would, she would drive you mad. And I think as a friend, he would have to love her to have her as a friend. And I think Mary does deeply love her.

Ellie:She kind of strikes me as the kind of person where if you did go out with her, you’d take her eyes off of 30 seconds, and you turn around she’d be fighting with the bouncer.

Carina: Yeah, because she’s impossibly selfish, and she’s impulsive. And she’s spoiled, and none of which are nice traits. But I find her really compelling but not a particularly rounded person. You know, she’s not a nice woman. But that’s a good thing, I think as well.

Imriel: I really like Mary/Marks character and, and their development throughout the story is just so remarkable and so fascinating, even down to the kind of marrying Oliver

Carina: The unworthy Oliver.

Imriel: Yeah, it was really wonderful to see the character development there, because there was something clearly they both had these really conflicting things inside themselves, or at least society was forcing them to be conflicted around their identity, and how they portrayed themselves. And yet, I think Mary’s choice to marry Oliver through this almost protective paternal instinct towards him, which just really solidified her character in that way and her confidence in her character to be like; I am your protector, you are giving off like these more, quote-unquote, feminine traits of needing to be protected. And I thought that was just like a really interesting dynamic. I don’t know if that was the intention. But that’s how I, I saw and heard and looked at their relationship and their dynamic even though he ended up being a massive tool.

Carina: Ah, he did end up being a massive tool, and it is in the record that’s told of them from the time that she did fall in love with him. Some people say he’s a doctor there was one record as an artist, which I went with. And that she did fight that duel that she won by shocking that man by revealing her breasts at the last minute. And then he kind of just disappeared from the story, and I was interested in what happened and what that represented. And it’s for Mary. I think that rejection is not to do with particularly him being a man, but she did protect him. She did the right thing. She risked her life for him, and the fact of being overlooked or rejected. I think she struggles with rejection Mary, but it is a protective thing. She knows she’s stronger than him. She knows she’s the better fighter she knows he’s only safe connected to her. And then the fact that he hasn’t been honest with her. Honesty is such the line in the sand for Mary you know she demands honesty. She can’t bear to be lied to or liars. Yeah, but he is an unworthy man for her, I think.

Imriel: That is exactly what the word is. He is truly unworthy. I was so annoyed with him throughout. I was like, Oh my god, Mary, what are you doing? Stop! (Music sting)

Imriel: Let’s go to Khalid for his question. (Music sting)

Listener Question: Hi, Carina, my name is Khalid. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I just wanted to talk a bit about James Bonny, who I guess quite frankly, becomes the ultimate villain in Hell Cats, but he’s, like a secondary character. So was that always your intention with him?

Carina: I quite liked James. I think he’s a fraud. And I think he’s weak in some ways, but he has some measure of Anne as well. And he can be very charming, and he can be very manipulative. And I like staying with him so much that in the end, my producer was saying ‘why have you brought him back again, he’s in another scene. He needs to die soon. You keep bringing him back.’ But I enjoyed him. I enjoyed how he played off with Anne; he’s a match for her. They’re both selfish. They’re both people who care about fulfilling their own needs. And he has the better of her sometimes. So I like James, I never wanted to get rid of him. I’ve hope I’ve left it slightly open. I think he might even come back. I’d like him to come back.

Imriel: Is that a hint at another potential series in the future?

Carina: I would love to I have written in a way that I’ve left that room for me to come back. And I’d love to I’d like to stay with them and stay with some of these characters.

Imriel: Brilliant. We’ve got a question here from Joseph. Let’s see what he wants to know.

Listener Question: Hi, Carina, I’m Joseph. Now that it’s all finished, and you’ve listened to the final product? Has your relationship changed with any of the characters?

Carina: No, I do feel more frustrated with Anne. I’m a bit like a protective mother with Anne. I’m always like making excuses for her. But I could hear myself thinking, ‘what are you doing? Shut up, stop it.’ And I made her to do all those things. So I don’t know what I was playing at. But I think I found the scenes from the movie with Anne and Mary, where there was tenderness between them and those private moments. And I actually found it very moving when they were in prison as well.

Imriel: Yeah, that’s when I probably came to like on them (-Carina: Yes), is that there’s a tenderness and a vulnerability that I think really shone through when they were both in prison, knowing that she really couldn’t get them out of that situation in the way that she wanted to. I think that’s when she really came into her own. And you could see some of that humanity that may have been lacking before.

Carina: And she didn’t admit it. I mean, Mary admitted it when she said I’m poor, and I’m going to die here. And I thought she knows and dressing up in a stupid dress isn’t going to change it and isn’t going to be true to who they are. And I think Anne is in so much denial that when you see that denial crack a little and you think she’s gonna be lost without Mary.

Imriel: I feel like it’d be remiss not to touch on the kind of queer narrative that runs throughout this story. It would have been a surprise for many people listening who wouldn’t have expected that at all? And was the inclusion of that that queer narrative that maybe possibly transgender, non-binary, these identities coming through? Was that a deliberate choice to include and to include it so prominently in their story?

Carina: Well, it was a has always been a part of their narrative, it was even referenced at the time their sort of  unnatural relationship, and the fact that they also had male lovers and the fact that Jack had male lovers. And I found that interesting now in terms of the ongoing discussions about gender representation, and how inspiring I suppose to have two people whose message which  is not a message I’m trying to ram home here. – But to be free to represent your sexuality, your gender, your preferences in a way that feels true to you, regardless of society, and to live your true life, and whether you have to create a separate world or you did this like they did on the sea, as well, where they could set their own rules, and live their life truly how they wanted to do I find quite inspirational. I mean, as I was doing the research, I discovered things like there was a contract that existed called a [Matelotage]. And it was a marriage contract between pirates. dominantly male pirates, like a marriage ceremony, and it meant that if you died in action, or as part of the ship, your rewards are your treasure. So whatever you own could be transferred to your partner, your male partner and I just think, you know, we’re having these discussions now about people and how they live in a way that’s authentic and true to them. And that is seen as sometimes as problematic. And this was going on hundreds of years ago. You know, and I think the message Anne and Mary, Jack and Pierre have is to be unapologetically yourself fiercely yourself to own that. And to hell with everyone else.

Imriel: Exactly.

Ellie: We were saying actually when we’d love to sit on the stage.

Amber: If you did see it on the big screen. Do you have any dream actors that you can see playing Anne and Mary?

Carina: You know,I’m so fixated on the audio cast? I haven’t really considered it Do you?

Imriel: I do. I think Elliott page formerly known as Ellen Page would be a great Mark and Mary. And I also think Rose Leslie, who was in Game of Thrones would be a really good Anne. I think she’s just got the face and the features for it.

Carina: Perfect. There was a perfect choices.

Imriel: I found myself constantly just looking up from listening, and being like, Where’s the screen because drama is unfolding, and I want to see what it is. But it’s obviously playing in my head, and it was just completely trippy, but it’s also such a testament to the sound design and how it was directed and put together. Do we need the visuals to take away from our imagination? (Page turn FX) There was a question that did come up in our discussion was, you know, did Anne take off with Mary’s child into the sunset? And what happened to the children?

Carina: Well, nobody knows. So there’s a grave for Mary, but no one knows if it’s actually her grave in Jamaica. And the rumours were always that Anna got away because of her father probably turned up and rescued her. They just disappeared from the record so even though they were both meant to stay until they had their babies and then behind there’s no record of that happening this record sort of been sentenced and records of them being pregnant, and then they both just disappear. (-Imriel: so crazy) Well, the rumour is that well people presume that Mary died in prison because of the grave marker which is quite nearby and Anne there’s no record at all. (Imriel: It’s just insane). And I just thought you know; she’s got to get out she’s got to take a least Mary’s girl.

Yeah, she probably is on the high seas again.

It looks like we’ve come to the end of the show! How do you feel? Have we made you want to go back to the beginning of Hell Cats and start the adventure all over again?! I know I’ve gone back to listen to Dorothy Thomas’ testimony a few times!   Don’t forget that you can become an Audiobook worm (-and yes! That does include if you’ve read and NOT listened to the book). Our next event is on Sunday 24th January at 4.00 pm, where we will be discussing Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams.

You can register at contentisqueen.org/abc2 or find everything you need in the show notes.  If you can’t bear to wait a month for your next audiobook fix, check out You Heard it Here First the podcast that helps you find your next listen on Audible. You can subscribe and listen to it on your favourite podcast player. 

Thank you to our Audiobook worms Ellie and Amber and our special guest Carina Rodney.

This was a Content is Queen Production.

Hosted by Imriel Morgan.

Produced by Amber Miller and Imriel Morgan.

The Featured guest was Carina Rodney.

The clips used are from the Audible Original Podcast Hell Cats.

The music and sound effects are sourced from Epidemic Sound.

See you next month.

5 podcasts you need to listen to this January

There’s something about working in podcasting that often means that you don’t actually get much time to listen.  That being said all this extra time we’ve spent cooped up in the house has meant that we’ve had nothing but time to listen, scroll, listen and scroll some more. That’s why my new year’s resolution is to commit to at least 5 new podcasts a month!

Here are 5 podcasts that we’ll be tuning into this January:

  1. Shade Podcast ArtworkShade Podcast- Lou Mensah
    I’m excited about this podcast because I want to see the conversation about race progress and develop further. Shade’s host Lou Mensah will be discussing ‘Black Images Matter’ with Black Lives Matter activists, artists and editors from Time and iD. Shade engages a wide community of creatives across disciplines, who have challenged existing narratives on representation & identity within their work.


  2. Black Ballad The Survival GuideThe Survival Guide- Black Ballad
    I’ve been a Founding Member or Black Ballad and have been fortunate to call the Editor in Chief Jendella Benson and Founder Tobi Oredein friends. In their first podcast series, host Jendella brings her passion for motherhood to the fore. The Survival Guide delivers honest conversations with Black British women about what motherhood looks like for them and how they survive and thrive being black women in Britain today.


  3. On Reflection BeautyOn Reflection- Funmi Fetto
    I’ve followed Funmi on Instagram for a while now and somehow missed she had a podcast. Her podcast ‘On Reflection’ is all about the global beauty landscape. I’ve been fortunate to hear Funmi speak a couple of times and always enjoyed how personable, warm and approachable she is. Her podcast delivers all of this and more. It’s a magazine-style podcast that often includes various segments and more than one voice, making it feel pacey and exciting.


  4. AudioBook Club- Content is Queen
    Shameless plug, but as the makers of this podcast we couldn’t avoid bigging it up! Days and days of work have gone into making this podcast, and we’re so proud of it. It’s definitely a podcast for book lovers who feel a bit left out of wider book chats. Audiobook Club is a monthly event and podcast where we celebrate Black, Asian, Queer and female narratives in literature. Every month we meet with other Audiobookworms to discuss an Audiobook recommended by you.


  5. Hello Seven- Rachel Rodgers
    This podcast recommendation came from Maisie Hill (author of Period Power), and I’m excited to binge the hell out of it. It’s hosted by Rachel Rodgers who’s on a mission to become a millionaire. Who doesn’t want this??? On the podcast, Rachel speaks to women who have hit those magical 7 figures. They share mistakes, key moments, and challenges that got them there. I’m excited to listen because I’m ready to make some money 🤑.


    Let us know what podcasts you’ll be checking out this month by tweeting us @ContentisQn.

Wanna Be Listener Survey

Wanna Be will be entering its fourth season this March, and we’d like to know what you think of the podcast so far. We’re looking to make a few radical changes to the podcast to serve you better. We’re giving away £5.00 Amazon vouchers* to 50 randomly selected participants. There are 16 questions on the survey in total it takes on average two and a half minutes to complete.

Please be honest and open with your feedback.

START THE SURVEY

Here’s a list of things you can buy on Amazon right now for that coveted £5!

Kindle Books (most of these were 99p at the time of publishing):

  1. Natives- Akala
  2. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty- Florence Given
  3. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time- Jeff Sutherland
  4. The Vanishing Half- Brit Bennett
  5. The Art Of Saying NO- Damon Zahariades

Other things you can get for a fiver on Amazon:

  1. Mini elephant candle holders with candles
  2. Custom eye masks
  3. An Aromatherapy Sleep Roller
  4. A microwave cleaning tool
  5. Joe Wicks Lean in 15 workouts (DVD or Prime)

*There are a few terms and conditions that apply to the prize:

  1. You must have listened to the Wanna Be podcast in the last 2 years.
  2. You’ll need to complete all mandatory questions in the survey to be eligible to win.
  3. We may use your responses anonymously in our marketing.
  4. Only 50 vouchers will be given out to eligible survey participants winners are selected at random.
  5. You need to provide your name and email address for the prize to be fulfilled.
  6. You’ll receive your voucher within 14 days of completion if you’re eligible for a voucher.
  7. The prize offer will expire at 5:00 pm GMT Friday 22nd January.
  8. The survey will remain open until January 31st, 2020.

START THE SURVEY

January Audiobook Club: Queenie

For our second Audiobook Club instalment, we’re listening to Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie Jenkins can’t cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long-term boyfriend, Tom. That’s definitely just a break, though. Definitely not a breakup. Stuck between a boss who doesn’t seem to see her and a family who don’t seem to listen (if it’s not Jesus or water rates, they’re not interested) and trying to fit in two worlds that don’t really understand her, it’s no wonder she’s struggling. 

Join us on Sunday 24th January at 4:00 pm GMT for our virtual Audiobook Club on Zoom. Come and share your ideas, ask questions, and engage with others in conversation. 

REGISTER HERE

What to expect:

1. To share your ideas, thoughts and opinions.

2. To ask questions.

3. To be respectfully challenged.

4. To listen and be respectful of others.

5. To be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

6. To meet a diverse group of thoughtful, intelligent and different people.

Who’s it for?

People that love audiobooks, podcasts, audio dramas and plays. Content is Queen is a safe space for people from all backgrounds to share their stories, thoughts and ideas through audio. Our monthly Audiobook club selection will always be reflective of our wider community and values around inclusivity. We encourage listeners of all races, genders, and sexual orientation to join us and be a part of our community.

Important note:

The event will be recorded and the audio will be edited to create a monthly podcast. If you’d like to attend but don’t want to be included in the public release please let us know at the start of the event.

REGISTER HERE