Invasion of the Pod People
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Nate DiMeo is the voice – and producer – of The Memory Palace, a celebrated storytelling podcast about the past. In each short episode, DiMeo’s evocative, elegiac monologues reach back into history, returning with quiet magic; a flickering of something timeless.
More than many podcasts, The Memory Palace hinges on writing. ‘I'm just looking for some little fleck of something wonderful in the past,’ DiMeo has said of the process. ‘I latch onto that thing that moved me … We know the subject; what's the story? That's the part that takes forever.’
Based in Los Angeles, he’s recently been the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s artist in residence. Other recent writing projects include ghostwriting Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America with the Parks and Recreation writing team, several TV staff writing gigs and a novel in progress.
In a free event at Geelong Regional Library & Heritage Centre, Nate DiMeo will walk us through a handful of prompts which ultimately blossomed into Memory Palace stories – and discuss how he’s built a creative livelihood around his writing. Hosted by Jon Tjhia.
This event is part of The Creative Exchange, presented in partnership with Creative Victoria, the Wheeler Centre and Geelong Regional Libraries.
Nate DiMeo is the creator of The Memory Palace, a storytelling podcast about the past. He was the artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2016–2017. He's been a finalist for both the Peabody Award for excellence in media and the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He's written for television, including the acclaimed comedy, Parks and Recreation. He's reported for National Public Radio in the US. A book collecting stories from The Memory Palace was recently released in translation in Brazil.
Jon Tjhia was the Wheeler Centre’s Senior Digital Editor.
He worked on the Wheeler Centre's multimedia, editorial and digital projects from 2010–2020, including #discuss, the short-form multimedia series Housekeeping, and long-form podcast series Better Off Dead and The Messenger, which won several awards. He's a co-editor and co-founder of the Australian Audio Guide, and has been a member of Audiocraft's programming committee, the Walkley Awards' Radio/Audio Feature judging panel, the New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury and ABC RN's Ian Reed Foundation committee for audio fiction/drama.
Elsewhere, Jon produces the Paper Radio literary fiction and creative non-fiction podcast, makes the occasional radio thing, writes essays and plays music with Speed Painters. In 2016, he was a top-ten finalist in Radiotopia's Podquest competition.
Better Off Dead was named Finalist at New York Festivals Radio Awards 2016. The Messenger was awarded the Grand Trophy and two Gold Medals at New York Festivals Radio Awards 2017; the 2017 UNAA Media Award for Best Radio Documentary; the 2017 Walkley Award for Radio/Audio Feature; and (with Behind the Wire's They Cannot Take the Sky), the 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission Media Award. It was also a finalist at the 2017 Quill Awards, and runner-up for the 2018 Whicker's Documentary Audio Recognition Award.
Previously, as a digital producer at ABC Radio Australia, Jon developed websites in seven languages, interviewed musicians from around the Pacific Islands, and provided multi-platform coverage of that region’s largest music festival, Fest'napuan. He’s occasionally involved in art and sound projects (including a collaborative residency in Wiluna, Western Australia, Eavesdropping at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, and the Soundhouse programme at London's Barbican Centre) and has presented, suggested and advised on sound design and audio storytelling at an armful of festivals, conferences and email threads.
He holds a BA (Cultural Studies) and MMm. The latter is an actual postnominal, although your cooking is indeed good.
In the last few years, podcasts have matured into the storytelling format du jour – with a little help from a certain sensationally popular true crime serial (ahem). Yet the surge of interest and excitement around audio features and podcasts has been gaining momentum for even longer, propelled by a diversity of formats.
Take the narrative artisanship of This American Life or the sonic vivacity of Radiolab; the topical deep dives of Slate’s Culture Gabfest or Phillip Adams’s Late Night Live; the animated storytelling of The Moth or Sum of All Parts; or the intimate conversations found in Death, Sex and Money or WTF with Marc Maron. The influence of these and countless other shows can be felt in today’s most interesting podcasts (insert shameless plug for the Wheeler Centre’s own successful forays into richly-produced feature-making, including Andrew Denton’s Better Off Dead, and The Messenger, here).
Beloved for their sense of proximity, their active listenership, portability and in some cases, ambitiously-crafted audio, podcasts have a unique ability to keep listeners in the company of their own choosing – and to render mundane tasks bearable. And since design show 99% Invisible’s record-breaking Kickstarter campaigns – podcasts have also shown promise in otherwise dim times for media businesses. What’s next for podcasting – and how could it be done better?
In celebration of all things audible, we’re bringing you some of podcasting’s best and brightest to share their thoughts and insights on the art (and business) of listening.