Episode 3

Folklore and circus 'freaks' with Nydia Hetherington

Nydia Hetherington grew up in Leeds in the north of England and moved to London in her twenties to start an acting career. She studied at a renowned French theatre school and went on to create her own theatre company. Her debut novel, A Girl Made of Air, was published in September.

Interview starts at 12 minutes. 

Caitlin recommends

Love Struck by Bronwyn Sell

Perfect for pretending you were allowed to travel to an exotic tropical location for summer this year. 

Michelle recommends

The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr (with an extra cheeky recommendation for Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller)

Perfect for anyone who is fascinated about why we as humans love a good story. 

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Folklore and myths from Nydia’s childhood on the Isle of Man
  • How Nydia developed the novel over 6 years through short pieces while studying creative writing
  • The unusual storytelling format of A Girl Made of Air and how it became an obsession for Nydia
  • How Nydia’s writing was influenced by her experience and life as a performer
  • Pulling back the curtain on the world of circus
  • The research Nydia did into the world of Freak Shows and Coney Island
  • What Coney Island is like now
  • Creating during UK lockdown and feeling distanced from any writing
  • Shielding in the UK lockdown and living with anxiety

Books and other things mentioned

  • The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • Freaks by Tod Browning

Follow Nydia @nydiamadeofair. A Girl Made of Air is available now in the UK and Australia. 

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

*Note: Michelle received a PR copy of A Girl Made of Air from Quercus Books.

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.