5 surprising items our authors can't work without

The Penguin Podcast has asked a host of big names to share the objects that inspired their books. The answers range from the amusing to the downright strange...

To celebrate the podcast's 50th episode, we've rounded up some of our favourites:


1. Anthony Horowitz's skull

Anthony Horowitz has a real human skull sitting on his desk at all times, which he brought into the studio to show us. He keeps it to remind himself to keep going, keep writing, before he turns into a skull himself. 

2. Clare Balding's Olympic torch

The honour of carrying the Olympic Torch for the 2012 Olympic Games is not one that Clare Balding holds lightly, and she brought her torch into the studio. She carried it through Newbury and in the podcast discusses how important that moment was to her.

3. Carlo Rovelli's goat

Carlo Rovelli has a fascinating life story. A self-proclaimed rebel, he spent some of his twenties living with friends in the Italian countryside, and one of these friends was a goat, Lucrezia, who was named after a friend’s girlfriend. Unfortunately he couldn’t bring the actual goat into the studio… 

4. Tom Fletcher's Christmas tree

A dedicated Christmas fan, Tom Fletcher’s first novel is all about the festive season, so what better prop to have near him while he wrote than a little Christmas tree? He used it for that added Christmas spirit so that he could get in the mood for writing a wintry book in the middle of the summer.

5. Helen Fielding's airstream trailer

Where would you imagine Helen Fielding writes her Bridget Jones novels? Not in an airstream trailer, perhaps… In fact, she explains that this is where she writes when she’s in America; it feels like a cave because it’s so closed off, and she can hide away from everyone else when she’s in it.

Stay tuned to hear more about the objects that inspire your favourite authors  - listen out for  Stephen Fry in November.

In the meantime, you can catch up on iTunes, Acast or on Soundcloud.

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