Show Notes for Ep. 22 "Dark Nights of the Soul"

In this vulnerable episode, Mary Anne and Ben share some of their biggest failures in their writing careers. The discussion also encompasses what it’s like to deal with imposter syndrome, while also bearing the weight of creative ambition. 

Recorded 9 August 2020 / Published 13 September 2021


  • 0:00:00: Start of podcast and Mary Anne’s failed novel
  • 0:14:28: On the literary vs. commercial aspects of Mary Anne’s failed novel
  • 0:22:00: If Mary Anne had the chance to rewrite the book, and how sexism played a role in the book’s failure
  • 0:24:11: Ben on his comparisons to Ian M. Banks
  • 0:28:51: Ben on how opression works
  • 0:41:44: Mary Anne on the racism she faced during the production of her failed novel
  • 0:44:31: On teaching children about the traumas of the past
  • 0:50:01: On writing around babies
  • 0:54:04: Intermission and ad for SLF grants
  • 0:55:12: Ben begins his story of failed writing
  • 1:02:25: On imposter syndrome
  • 1:06:51: Ben on anti-semitism
  • 1:16:45: Ben coming back to his story
  • 1:18:41: On how Mary Anne and Ben approach their big ideas
  • 1:27:20: Was Ben’s The Orange a big idea?
  • 1:33:37: The importance of The Hunger Games
  • 1:36:20: Ben on creative ambition
  • 1:42:00: Is there a lack of grand ambition in the field?
  • 1:49:26: Mary Anne on the writing ambition of her students
  • 1:51:22: On having Delany as a teacher at Clarion

Notes and Links