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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Untitled Dad Project: Converting pain and unanswered questions into art

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

A writer’s meta-narrative quest to reckon with her Dad Character after his untimely death, find a meaningful resolution, and finally tell her own story. ⁣

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

A Prologue


Audio diary


Writer Jan Kastner

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:


Approximate length of episodes:

Varies; 30-60 minutes

Curricular ties:

None, unless you're teaching college writing or something similar.

Similar recommended pods:

This is like an extended version of the stories told on Family Secrets; most of those guests are also authors/memoirists. For other wild family secrets, check out The Secret Room.

Podcast Librarian’s Review: If you love hearing real stories about the secrets that families keep from themselves and others, then you’ll want to binge UDP. Host Janielle (Jan) is a writer who grew up without a dad and with many questions surrounding that fact. Later in life, she managed to track down and have some interactions with her biological father, but then he died suddenly (this is not a spoiler; it’s presented almost right away). Seeking closure, Jan spent 4 years trying to find out who her dad really was and why he didn’t stay to raise her. This story has many of the wild plot lines of a soap opera without the cheesy acting. For example, her dad never told any of his friends that he had a daughter, which made her appearance at his funeral pretty awkward for everyone. In different episodes, Janielle tries to make sense of her father’s life (and absence from her life) by speaking with experts like a screenwriter and a death educator. One of the very sweet parts about this podcast is Jan’s friend/co-host/producer Carson who helps her work through new information and stop spiraling out when Jan starts feeling too much guilt, anger, or grief. I like that Jan doesn’t try to neatly wrap up the loose ends in the conclusion because that just wouldn’t be authentic—but the ending gives enough closure to feel realistic and optimistic. With only 10 episodes (and some mini extra episodes), the series is a relatively quick listen. If you like writing/the creative process, podcasts like Family Secrets, or just need a long-form podcast that isn’t about crime, then UDP is a great listen. ⁣

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