A colourful collage of author headshots seen against a pink and green pattern.

Image: Vicky Ibbetson/Penguin

Each new year brings with it an irresistible opportunity for bookworms: the chance to discover a new voice – and a new favourite book or author. Which is why we’re delighted to have spoken with five authors who are releasing their first novels this year.

They join comedian and episode host Isy Suttie on the Penguin Podcast to discuss their paths to writing, what inspires them and how it feels to be on the cusp of a life-changing moment in their careers.

On this special episode of the podcast we hear from Claire Alexander, discussing her novel Meredith, Alone, about a woman who hasn’t left her house in three years and must confront the outside world she’s been avoiding; Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, author of When We Were Birds, a compelling look at Trinidadian life and death and Jessamine Chan, whose debut The School for Good Mothers offers a searing take on parenting and society’s expectations.

Listen to the full episode of the Penguin Podcast

Also on the podcast are Nikki May, author of the incendiary novel Wahala, about three young women of mixed Nigerian and English heritage embroiled in trouble and Susan Stokes-Chapman, whose book Pandora transports the reader to Georgian London, where conspiracies and love affairs are unravelled with the discovery of a mysterious Greek vase.

In keeping with Penguin Podcast tradition, each author has brought in an object that holds something meaningful for them, and tell us how it has inspired their writing in some way. Tune in to find out more about the authors you’ll be desperate to talk about this year.

You can listen to the whole conversation above – and don't forget to subscribe to the Penguin Podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, to be notified of future episodes.

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