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Handpicking the best audio storytelling from around the world.

Please email listening recommendations to us at pods@rnz.co.nz and you can find more information about all the shows we feature here.
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12:15pm The podcasting poet: 'Have You Heard George's Podcast?' How can you use the podcast as a vehicle for social change? That's the question George Mpanga aka George The Poet poses in his unique and genre-defying 'Have You Heard George's Podcast?' Blurring the lines between music, social commentary, poetry, journalism and fiction, the show's just cleaned up at the British Podcast Awards, winning 5 golds including Podcast of The Year. George is 28 years old, he's born and raised in London of Ugandan heritage. He studied at Cambridge University and one of his spoken word poems introduced the BBC's coverage of the Royal Wedding last year. But he started thinking about the long-form possibilities of podcasts and spent months and months in the studio with his collaborator and co-producer Benbrick crafting 8 episodes of the show. And crafting is the right word. It weaves together specially composed music, multiple voices, time shifts, and immersive sound design. You hardly even notice that George is writing everything in rhyming couplets! The show takes on some meaty topics too- policing, institutional racism, teacher shortages, the role of music, and in a memorable episode, the Grenfell Tower fire. We play extracts from three episodes;  'Popcorn', 'A Grenfell Story' and 'Press Play', all written by George The Poet and produced by George and Benbrick.

12:25pm Breathing new life into old books: 'Backlisted' Backlisted' takes forgotten and neglected books chosen by a guest and talks about them; reading extracts, putting them into context and giving them new life for a modern reader. It's a bit like a clever book club where everyone does all the reading! The show's hosted by Andy Miller- who chronicled his quest to read 50 great books in 'The Year of Reading Dangerously'- and by the publisher and author John Mitchinson, who spent lots of time here in New Zealand growing up. We speak to John about how the podcast's getting people to read and buy more books, and play an extract from the episode about Angus Wilson's novel 'Hemlock and After', featuring guest Dickon Edwards. 

12:40pm 'Conversations With People Who Hate Me': online haters meet their targets "A sissy", "nauseating", and "a flaming homo"; these are not the worst online insults that people have directed at the actor and activist Dylan Marron. In 'Conversations With People Who Hate Me' he speaks directly to the people making these kind of comments. The conversations don't always go smoothly, there are plenty of awkward, uncomfortable moments that Dylan has to gently steer through, but most episodes end with a resolution of sorts (even if that's just an acknowledgement that each side understands the other better). Four years ago, Colleen tweeted "I'm not sure I hate any celebrity the way I hate Amanda Palmer". So of course Dylan engineers a conversation between Colleen and Amanda, a popular musician and writer who you might know from her band The Dresden Dolls. Episode 27 of 'Conversations with People Who Hate Me' is called 'I Hate Amanda Palmer', is created and hosted by Dylan Marron, and is a Night Vale Presents production.

12:50pm 'Words To That Effect': a brainy look at some big ideas 'Words To That Effect' is a brainy show looking at how some big ideas enter the popular imagination through books and film. Zombies, overpopulation, steampunk and imaginary countries are just some of the topics covered by the Irish writer and researcher Conor Reid. We share an episode called 'Dinosaurs: Palaeontology To Pyjamas' that grabbed our attention recently. 'Words To That Effect' is produced and presented by Conor Reid.
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