Skip to content

Cheryl Akle’s Top Podcast Picks of 2017

December 19, 2017

Don Watson imageSince releasing the Better Reading Podcast: the Stories Behind the Story  in April we’ve recorded 79 fabulous podcasts. I’ve spoken to authors, politicians, activists, comedians, and more, and every single conversation has stayed with me. A couple from this year have stood out as highlights. These are my favourite podcasts we’ve recorded this year, and I’m sure we’ll record even more great conversations in 2018.

Don Watson

Over the years Don Watson has written on politics and politicians in Australia and the USA. I remember selling copies of Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating in my bookstore days. But Watson has grown far beyond his early days as a political speech writer to become one of Australia’s most thoughtful and listened-to voices in contemporary society. Listen to this podcast and you’ll find out exactly why.

Duration: 32 mins.

Listen on, or Stitcher.

Ben McKelvey and Eddie Robertson

I remember being totally mesmerised during this podcast. It’s the true story of the life and death of Cameron Baird, VC, MG, told by Eddie Robertson (former soldier) and Ben Mckelvey, freelance writer. Baird perished in Afghanistan, 2013, and Robertson reflected throughout our conversation on Baird’s bravery, and what his sacrifice meant for soldiers today.

Duration: 37 mins.

Listen on iTunes,, or Stitcher.

Ailsa Piper

Ailsa must be one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. She’s an effortless storyteller, full of wisdom and heart and life. Despite being touched by the tragic passing of her husband, Ailsa remains an optimistic, charming, and resilient chameleon, who writes, directs, performs, and . . . honestly it’s hard to think of something she hasn’t done. Fun fact: she is a narrator of audiobooks and narrated Hope Farm by Peggy Drew and The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood!

Duration: 31 mins.

Listen on iTunes,, or Stitcher.

George Saunders

At the Sydney Writers’ Festival, I sat down with George Saunders (well before he had won the Man Booker for Lincoln in the Bardo!) and spoke about American politics, despicable presidents – ahem, Mr Trump – and why we should not be fearful; we should hope instead. A brilliant man who absolutely shines throughout this interview.

Duration: 18 mins.

Listen on iTunes,, or Stitcher.

Candice Fox

She is a young, switched-on, and incredibly successful Aussie crime writer. I’ve always wondered what makes crime writers tick and whether they’re messed up, how they get their ideas (however gruesome or heartless they may be), but the real gem in this podcast was Candice opening up about her turbulent, frenetic personal life. By the end of it I had learned so much more about the woman behind the words.


Listen on iTunes,, or Stitcher.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *