Guardian Journalist, Henry McDonald, Co-Launches the Creative Places & Faces Podcast


A casual Twitter chat between The Guardian journalist and author, Henry McDonald, and Irish author, Jackie De Burca, resulted in the birth of a podcast that investigates the importance of place in the lives and creative output of authors, artists and all types of creators.

Strangford Lough by Ann Smyth – Scenic route from the Studio to home

The launch episode of Creative Places & Faces features an insightful interview with McDonald, that delves into the places that have played significant roles in his creative and personal life. A journey that brings the audience to Belfast, Berlin, Nerja and Hove through this author’s eyes, experiences and creativity. The interview highlights some fascinating connections between Henry’s 2019 gritty Belfast-based novel, Two Souls, and his own creative life and journey.

Asked how he may have been creatively influenced had he been born in Nerja rather than Belfast, McDonald said,

“I think if I had been born there I would be writing about ancient myths, hidden Roman treasure or Moorish ghosts.”

Available from 30th October 2020, this first episode sets the tone of what is to come in the Creative Places & Faces podcast. With a superb line-up of guests from Northern Ireland, including award-winning authors and top journalists, Jan Carson and Malachi O’Doherty, immensely talented artists such as Andrea Spencer, Ann Smyth, Helen Sharkey and Emma Thorpe, Creative Places & Faces aims to open up your perspective. The central theme is always the role of place in our creative lives. A consideration more pertinent now than ever before as many of us face second COVID-19 lockdowns.

Imagine how it would have been to grow up and develop as a writer in Belfast during the inaptly named Troubles. Consider how a shy young woman blossomed into her more creative self by spending time in Portland, Oregon. Picture yourself by the banks of the Ganges helping out a guru after leaving Belfast in the 1970s – how might this experience affect you? Let yourself imagine how some spectacularly beautiful places, including Games of Thrones locations, could trigger your creativity as they have so obviously done for Season One’s stained glass, visual and jewellery artists.

About the Creative Places & Faces Podcast

The Creative Places & Faces Podcast was created by author, Jackie De Burca, after her chat and ongoing collaboration with author and journalist, Henry McDonald. Author of the book, Salvador Dalí at Home, De Burca has long been affected by the places that she has spent time in especially Connemara, Bali, Greece and Spain. While in the process of writing the Dalí book, which explores the impact of place on the great surrealist’s creative output, this came more fully into her awareness.

All of the authors and artists she has interviewed for the first season of Creative Places & Faces have had their own deep experiences of this type that are evident in their works. De Burca feels that regardless of how creative you feel you are (or not) that the podcast could help trigger this heightened sense of connection with place. Creative Places & Faces will feature guests and places from all over the world. The transcripts are available with photos on Travel Inspires.

Subscribe to the Creative Places & Faces Podcast

To subscribe head over to the podcast website and choose your preferred channel:

How to Become Involved

Creatives – if you would like to apply to be featured as a guest or wish to nominate a guest please go to:

Publishing houses, arts organisations and agents – contact Jackie De Burca to discuss collaborations at

Sponsors – support the arts and independent artisans by sponsoring an episode of Creative Places & Faces. Reach an audience of 60,000 plus reap a wide range of benefits like the first episode’s sponsor, Property Insurance Centre.


Media contact

Jackie De Burca


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