American Dirt author the first guest of new book-based podcast Natter


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

American Dirt author the first guest of new book-based podcast Natter American Dirt author the first guest of new book-based podcast Natter

Books, authors and the stories behind them have inspired Natter, a new podcast from writers Michelle McDonagh and Kate Durrant.

Best-selling novelist, Michelle, who is originally from Galway, and award-winning short story writer and broadcaster, Kate, both live in Blarney, County Cork. They met there, became friends and devised the idea of this podcast series, “for lovers of a good old natter”, having felt there was a gap in the market for “an honest, ‘no notions’ podcast about books, people and stories”, as they explain.

“Ireland is a nation of storytellers, and Natter is all about telling some of these stories. The stories we read, the stories we write. We all have our own stories, told and untold, and we all love to hear other peoples too,” says Kate.

Michelle, a former Connacht Tribune journalist, whose latest novel, Somebody Knows, has just been published by Hachette, agrees.

‘We felt there was a gap in the podcast market for a down-to-earth, chatty books podcast. More people than ever are listening to podcasts, more people than ever are buying books and more people than ever are looking for escapism.”

Natter is being launched in association with booksellers Bookstation, and that company’s Head of Marketing, Alan Johnston, says the partnership makes sense because “the Natter podcast reflects our view that reading and enjoying books is for everyone. We can see that Kate and Michelle’s down-to-earth style and their choice of books and guests will make for great listening”.

Hoping to appeal to an audience beyond Ireland, Kate and Michelle’s first guest was Jeanine Cummins, author of the 2020 global bestseller, American Dirt.

Described as ‘The Grapes of Wrath for our times’, American Dirt sold for a seven-figure sum after a bidding war and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as a book club pick. It sold more than three million copies in 37 languages, but this dream-come-true quickly became a nightmare for Jeanine as she was accused of cultural exploitation.

Her beloved father had died after its publication and while she was devastated at his death, she was glad he wasn’t around to see her endure that experience, which she’s described as ‘the stuff that suicides are made of’’.

Now happily out the other side, Jeanine was delighted to tell Kate and Michelle about her new book.

“For a long time, I didn’t know how to write another book after the American Dirt trauma. It took me a very long time to learn how to trust myself again, to find that voice and trust it, but I’m really pleased with the book that I’ve written and I’m excited about it,” Jeanine says on Natter

Other authors interviewed for the first series include Siobhán MacGowan, Andrea Mara and Edel Coffey.

The interview with Jeanine Cummins is available to listen to now, as is their second one with Andrea Mara, who is currently taking Ireland and the UK by storm with her latest thriller, Someone in the Attic.

Natter is available on Apple, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts, while Michelle and Kate are on Instagram @natterthepod.  For more information on Bookstation, go to

Pictured: Galway woman Michelle McDonagh, who now lives in Blarney, devised and hosts Natter with fellow writer and broadcaster Kate Durrant


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