We learn the art of poetry this week on the podcast, as Vick sits down with award-winning writer, poet and performer Holly McNish.

Hollie’s five favourite books marvel in the magic of the mundane, question what it would be like to meet death and relish that even in the darkest of times we always have hope.

Alfie Gets in First

by Shirley Hughes

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It makes me sort of also okay with having this the kind of everyday life that might have been seen as kind of too mundane or banal to write about or to be great literature. I think Shirley Hughes takes it. It’s like, No, this is amazing. This is enough. This has everything in it. It has, you know, relationships, it has fear, it has joy. It has the communities, it has the neighbours the streets.

The Mad Women’s Ball

by Victoria Mas

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It was just the injustice of it all really, and I guess the idea that books can teach me something, I think I found there was a lot of female friendship in this book that seemed to well not get the characters through, because you can’t get through being put in an asylum. But it was just the kind of shivers that gave me reading about it. And, and it was like a catapult to questioning everything.

Mrs Death Misses Death

by Salena Godden

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I just love Selena. I’ve seen her perform poetry, so many times I’ve performed with her. And I was so excited that she wrote a novel, and I was hoping it was going to be one of the most like poetic novels in her style of poetry that I’ve ever read. And it was, and it’s one of my favourite books that I’ve ever read.

Say Hello!

by Rachel Isadora

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So this one I picked because I still can’t work out exactly what makes certain books so popular with certain children. So I hadn’t heard of Rachel’s story before and I didn’t actually know that she’d written, she’s done so many children’s books. And I got this one out of the library but then had to buy another one because my kids basically ripped it up. Out of love, like it is so fascinating. And this story I read, just like every day for for weeks and weeks, months and months, so I had to buy a replacement for the library.

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

The Island of Missing Trees

by Elif Shafak

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And I think it was just the idea of how, how important fiction can be for giving you an awareness of people’s lives who have had lives totally different to your own, and how important it is, and how beautiful it is. And and interesting is to read stories that you haven’t lived through at all. So I think I think that’s one of the things that I most love about fiction is that it can put you right into the heart as much as reading a book can have someone else’s experience. I really like books that that you can see so vividly.