Podcast Profile: Page Turners

Podcast Profile: Page Turners

Could you tell us more about Page Turners and what inspired you to launch this podcast?
I’ve been interviewing authors for radio since 2001. Even back then, I was hoping for a platform to store those interviews and make them accessible to book lovers or fans of the writers I chatted with. Up until 2022, these author chats didn’t have a program name. They were just aired as and when. When COVID-19 struck, my author interviews were temporarily shelved to make way for more COVID-awareness programming. But once things got back to normal, I proposed to my boss that it was time to celebrate the joys of reading – because books kept many of us company during lonely lockdowns and Work-From-Home days (and nights). She said "yes" and Page Turners, the radio program and podcast, was born in July 2022. I’ll be reaching the 100th episode in just over four months.

Considering the current landscape, how would you describe the book industry, and what trends do you anticipate over the next five years?
I’ve a relative who just quit working in publishing because he observed fewer people truly cared about reading and feared the book world would simply shrink. I don’t see it that way. Books will always prove much-needed portals that’ll take us on memorable journeys. In the next half decade I reckon even more authors from Singapore, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia will get global recognition and critical acclaim. And then: book-to-streaming deals!

Are there any specific kind of books or genres you hope to focus more of in 2024? What are your plans for the podcast?
I’m open to almost all genres. That’s Page Turners for you - as one week I’ll be speaking with a business leader and the next, a cookbook author and after that, a prizewinning novelist. I hope to speak with more graphic novel creators and comic book writers or illustrators.

What kind of pitches / angles do you hope to receive more and conversely, less of for your podcast?
I’m open to any pitch: from an established big boy publisher to a first-time author who has just put out their own book. I just wish I was a faster reader and that there was more time to fit in more books in a month!

Through your interactions with authors on Page Turners, can you give a piece of advice or insight for aspiring authors that has resonated with you?
Many of the authors told me they don’t wait for inspiration to strike before the words start flowing. They consciously make a commitment each day, or every other day, to plonk themselves in front of that laptop and get some sentences out. Eventually, they’ll get into the groove – whether it’s a couple more chapters in the bag or even just a few paragraphs. They have to keep working actively on that manuscript to keep the narrative ‘alive’. These authors also have deadlines set by their publishers, so some have no choice but to stick to that daily commitment!

If you could have a conversation with any author, who would it be and why?
It used to be Malaysian cartoonist and writer Lat, but that dream has already been fulfilled as I interviewed him in late 2023. I would love to chat with Catherine Lim because as a teenager reading her short story compilations, her tales transported me into worlds or lives that on the surface looked mundane and ordinary – but upon peeling back the layers, many of her characters were tortured souls living in quiet desperation; oftentimes on the brink of madness. As a former film student, I wanted to bring her characters to life on TV or film. As a radio broadcast journalist, I’d like to talk to her about these unforgettable characters and why she made them that way.

What is a favourite book of yours you wish to give to your fellow colleagues / friends?
If they’re into biographies, then I’d recommend ‘Touching From a Distance’ by Deborah Curtis. It’s about the short life of Ian Curtis, the late frontman of British band Joy Division. It was written by his wife, Deborah. If it’s a classic, then it would be ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding. If they’re leaning towards graphic novels, then check out the Hellboy series by Mike Mignola. Or if they prefer Japanese manga, then the Oishinbo food series gets a big thumbs up from me.

Answers submitted by Melanie Oliveiro, Podcast Host / Producer of Page Turners.

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