The Hertford Bookshelf

Hertford writers may have cut their teeth on essays and problem sheets – but they are now writing across an amazing range of genres, from children’s picture books to literary fiction, from young adult novels to crime, from non-fiction to poetry.

In the Hertford Bookshelf podcast, Professor Emma Smith meets Hertford writers to find out more about their work, their influences, their advice for would-be writers, and their memories of the college. In episode one, Emma Smith meets James Hawes, novelist and micro-historian of The Shortest History of England and The Shortest History of Germany. He talks about agents and editors, his role in the worst film ever made, and playing the French horn on the roof of Hertford’s library.

You can find the full series on or listen on Apple Podcasts below. Click the red buttons to find out more about our vision for Hertford 2030 and our ambitious redevelopment of the college library.

Episode list and release dates

1. James Hawes (Friday 22nd October)

2. Anya Glazer (Friday 5th November)

3. Claire McGowan (Friday 19th November)

4. Louisa Reid (Friday 3rd December)

5. Alex Preston (Friday 17th December)

6. Shahnaz Ahsan (Friday 17th December)