Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

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August 31, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 3 September, 2-4pm

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Join me on Saturday at 2pm on North Manchester FM for Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week’s guest is the brilliant Seamus Kelly. Regular listeners might remember that Seamus was one of the poets who appeared on my Live Poetry Special in July (part of the station’s Live Music Day).

Seamus is a poet living in the north of England with deep roots in the west of Ireland. He is a rare combination of scientist and artist who can sometimes be prone to thinking too much. In his recent first collection of poetry, Thinking Too Much, Seamus invites the reader to think about life, family, nature, politics, justice peace and society. There are moving memories, human stories, powerful images and touches of humour. Seamus has been described by prominent Yorkshire poet, James Nash, as a writer of passionate precision and great humanity.

I’ll be chatting to Seamus about his poetry and writing. And, of course, he’ll be sharing his selections for Apocalypse Books.

Catch us on Saturday and 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

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August 23, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 27 August, 2-4pm

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Tune in to North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, my guests will be the lovely George Melling (Th’Owd Chap) and Sharon Lowe. If you listened to my live poetry show (part of the NMFM Live Music Day) in July, then you’ll have had a bit of a taste of George and Sharon’s poetry. I’m really pleased to be welcoming them back as guests on my regular show.

George Melling, performing pensioner poet from Wigan, has performed at many North West venues and headlined at several. He’s breaking into the Yorkshire spoken word scene later this year as guest poet, and he’s brought out a charity CD of his poetry set to music with proceeds going to Wigan and Leigh Hospice. George lives with Buttons the cat and his ukelele.

Writer, jobbing actor, singer, uke player, freelance artist, teacher and community activist, Sharon Lowe has been on the spoken word and performance poetry scene for a few years following getting the buzz while organising the Leigh & Wigan Words Together Literary Festival in 2012/13. A steampunk enthusiast, she is a regular around Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire performance events and enjoys working in community arts. She co-founded the community theatre company, Anteros, in 2015 and is a volunteer organiser of the Wigan Diggers’ Festival taking place in Wigan every September.

I’ll be chatting to George and Sharon about their work and, of course, they’ll be sharing their selections for Apocalypse Books.

Catch us on Saturday at 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online if you’re further afield.

Missed the show? You can catch it again here:

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August 17, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 20 August, 2-4pm

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Join me on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. This week’s guest is the lovely William Michael Neary (Mick).

Mick is a poet who writes lyrical poetry, covering a range of topics including cheese, life in general, football, nature, WW1, anti fracking, the steel industry, romance and religion. A number of his poems have been set to music by singer-songwriters and musicians. His latest booklet (containing 31 of his poems) is Poetry… Yours Sincerely Mr Neary. You might remember Mick from the poetry show I hosted during the station’s Live Music Day in July, when he performed a few of his poems live on the air.

A number of Mick’s poems have been set to music by singer-songwriters – including Baxter Rhodes and Jamie Squire – and one of those musicians (the lovely Tom Metcalfe) will be on Saturday’s show, performing his version of ‘Just Lads’.

I’ll be talking to Mick about his writing, and about poetry in general. And, of course, he and Tom will be sharing their selections for Apocalypse Books.

Tune in on Saturday at 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

Missed the show? You can catch it again here:

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August 15, 2016

Hannah’s Bookshelf – Birthday Edition

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It was my birthday on Saturday, so I thought it would be kind of cool to devote this week’s Hannah’s Bookshelf to some of the books that were published the year I was born. Saturday’s show featured some of my favourite books that came out in 1978 (yeah… I know… I’ve given away my age there). You can catch the show again on the player below, but as promised here’s a rundown of the books I talked about on air.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye

the far pavilions

M.M. Kaye’s epic novel is set in nineteenth-century India, and it tells the story of Ashton Pelham-Martyn (Ash), a young English boy who is orphaned and entrusted into the care of his Hindu nanny Sita. However, with the Sepoy Rebellion putting the young boy in peril, Sita decides to disguise him and pass him off as Ashok, a native Indian child. For years, Sita and Ash live in Gulkote, serving in the palace of Lalji, the crown prince. It’s here that Ash meets the lonely Princess Anjuli, and begins a friendship that will one day blossom into love. When Sita reveals the truth about Ash’s parentage, the boy must return to England and learn to be a proper ‘sahib’ – will he ever return to keep his promise to Anjuli?

As I said on the show, this book isn’t my usual genre of choice, but I thought it deserved a mention on the show. It was recommended to me by the same person who got us all hooked on The Thorn Birds (which I featured on my ‘guilty pleasures’ show) when I was at university.

The World According to Garp by John Irving

world according to garp

I’m rather fond of John Irving’s novels – though, again, they’re not really my usual type of novel. I’m not sure if it’s the chattiness of them, or the way they follow characters through years and years of their lives, but there’s something about them that I really enjoy. The World According to Garp is one of Irving’s best-known novels, particularly since it was adapted into a film starring Robin Williams and Glenn Close in 1982.

The book chronicles the life of T.S. Garp, a man with no father (his mother did something rather bad to a brain damaged soldier – a ‘technical sergeant’ – in order to get pregnant without the assistance of a man) and with a penchant for amateur wrestling and fiction writing. Garp marries Helen, but their relationship is troubled by infidelity and tragedy. Alongside this, we also travel the bumpy road of Garp’s writing career (as in some of Irving’s other works, there are some embedded stories-within-the-story that are a real joy to read). When Garp’s mother Jenny writes her autobiography and becomes a feminist icon, the cast of Garp’s life expands to include a variety of larger-than-life (though tragic and sympathetic) characters.

The World According to Garp is a great place to start with Irving’s work. If you enjoy his writing style, I’d also recommend A Son of the Circus, A Widow for One Year and Until I Find You (though The Cider House Rules and The Hotel New Hampshire are also good choices).

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

the snowman

What can I say about this next selection? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t need much of an introduction. Briggs’s classic is so well-known, not least because of the 1982 cartoon adaptation that is shown on TV every Christmas.

Illustrated entirely with pencil crayons and containing no words, The Snowman was intended to be an antidote to the ‘muck, slime and words’ of Briggs’s previous work, Fungus the Bogeyman. Although the adaptation transposes the adventure to Christmas Eve (and includes a trip to see Father Christmas), the book isn’t so specific about its setting. Also, though the cartoon named the little boy as ‘James’, he is anonymous in Briggs’s work. In a way, the lack of specifics only makes the book seem more universal – making the ending even more poignant.

A Sleeping Life by Ruth Rendell

a sleeping life

I talk about detective fiction a lot on the show, but it tends to be more Golden Age crime than modern stuff. So it’s really cool to include a book by the woman who (in my opinion) inherited the title of ‘Queen of Crime’ from Agatha Christie. A Sleeping Life is the tenth Inspector Wexford novel by Rendell, and features a nice little puzzle (where the detectives must work out who the victim is, as much as who the culprit is) that wouldn’t be out of place in a Golden Age novel.

Rhoda Comfrey is found dead in a country lane after visiting her dying father. However, when Wexford and Burden begin to investigate, they can find no trace of the woman in London, despite the fact that she has supposedly lived there for twenty years. A fancy wallet found with the victim leads them to the victim’s second cousin, a writer named Grenville West, but Ms Comfrey remains strangely elusive.

In many ways, Wexford and Burden are the descendants of older literary detectives (Holmes and Watson, Poirot and Hastings), but I do enjoy the ways in which Rendell has updated her detective. Perhaps the most interesting alteration to the template is that Wexford is a father – not to a son and heir, like Margery Allingham’s Campion, but to daughters. Wexford’s daughter Sylvia features quite prominently in A Sleeping Life, allowing Rendell to play with questions of marriage and ‘women’s lib’ in ways that are interesting – if a little dated now.

Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

hotel transylvania

Of course, I had to include a vampire on the list somewhere. 1978 saw the publication of the first of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Saint-Germain novels. Her aristocratic, cultured, seductive and charming vampire begins his adventures in 1743 in the Parisian court of Louis XV. At turns a horror novel and a romance, Hotel Transylvania sees our vampiric hero attempting to save the lovely – but naive – Madelaine de Montalia from a bunch of despicable Satanists.

There are quite a lot of books in the Saint-Germain series, set in different time periods. Also in the series are Blood Games (set in Rome, 60-70AD), Tempting Fate (set in Rome and England, in 1917-1928), Come Twilight (which takes place across the 7th-12th centuries in Spain) and Night Blooming (set in the court of Charlemagne). While you can read the novels in the order they were published, or you can follow the historical chronology of Saint-Germain’s (after)life, the titles work as standalone books, so you really can read them in any order. I’d recommend starting with Hotel Transylvania though, as it’s a great introduction to the immortal Saint-Germain.

The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch

the sea the sea

On past shows, I’ve been a little bit scathing (perhaps unfairly) of literary fiction. On the whole, I’d describe myself as being more of a genre fan. However, there is a big exception to this – I’m rather partial to the work of Iris Murdoch. So it was nice to end the show with the 1978 Booker Prize Winner The Sea, the Sea.

The novel is narrated by Charles Arrowby, an arrogant and unlikeable playwright who has moved to a remote house on the edge of the North Sea in order to write his memoirs. In fact, the novel is written in the form of Arrowby’s journal, giving us a thoroughly self-centred, introspective and unreliable narrator. Despite supposedly getting away from the world, Arrowby manages to choose a retreat right next to the home of his teenage love, Hartley. Increasingly obsessed by the memory of their relationship, Arrowby becomes convinced that Hartley needs to be rescued from an unhappy and abusive marriage. But what is it exactly that Arrowby is idealizing?

Some critics are keen to divide Murdoch’s books into ‘early’ and ‘later’, with the latter category coming in for harsher criticism. I don’t see the divide so clearly myself, and I have favourites from among her earlier books (The Sandcastle and A Severed Head) but also from among her later output (The Philosopher’s Pupil).

And that brought me to the end of my birthday edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf. To hear more about these books and my reasons for choosing them, you can listen to the show here:

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August 3, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 6 August, 2-4pm

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Join me on Saturday, 2-4pm, for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. This week, my guests will be the brilliant Martin Gittins and Bob Ashworth (aka Bunting and Frolics).

Bob and Martin were active individually on the local folk music scene for many years, but then they came together to form the duo ‘Bunting and Frolics’, cleverly doubling their repertoire to a stunning seven (7) songs! As Bunting and Frolics they have been getting away with their so-called ‘act’ for over two decades, thus proving that you CAN fool all of the people all of the time!

For many years Martin ran a successful folk club at The Star Inn, Salford, and, at the same time, Bob ran a failing second-hand stall on Conran Street Market. Lately, they have been involved in various projects commemorating the Peterloo Massacre, including a performance piece entitled ‘Peterloo – Soldiers On The Rampage’, in which they are joined by the writer of the work local folk leg-end Geoff Higginbottom.

Martin has a deep interest in local history, whilst Bob has a deep interest in gin.

We’ll be talking about local history and the Peterloo Massacre (including this year’s commemoration events), and (if I’m very lucky) Bunting and Frolics will be playing a few songs on the show. And of course, I’ll be asking Bob and Martin to share their selections for Apocalypse Books.

Tune in on Saturday at 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area), or listen online (if you’re further afield).

Missed the show? You can catch it again here:

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July 27, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 30 July, 2-4pm

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Join me on Saturday, 2-4pm, for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. This week I’m welcoming back a guest who appeared on the show in April – the amazing Gwyneth Jones – we had so much fun on the first show, we decided to do it again!

Gwyneth Jones was born in Manchester, educated by the long-suffering nuns of the Sacred Heart, Blackley and at Notre Dame Grammar School, Cheetham Hill. She is the author of many fantasy, horror novels and ghost stories for teenagers using the name Ann Halam, and several well regarded sf and fantasy novels and stories for adults: notably the Bold As Love series, and the Aleutian Trilogy. She has won the Arthur C. Clarke award (for Bold As Love); the Children of the Night award (for The Fear Man, as Ann Halam); the Tiptree award (for White Queen), two World Fantasy awards (for the story “The Grass Princess”, and for the collection Seven Tales and a Fable), the Philip K Dick award (for Life) and the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim award. She lives in Brighton with her husband, four intelligent goldfish and two cats called Ginger and Milo; she likes old movies, practicing yoga, and staring out of the window.

Gwyneth was my guest on Hannah’s Bookshelf on 16 April, and you can see more about that show here. This week, we’re going to be chatting more about Gwyneth’s work, and talking about books, Europe and rock ‘n’ roll (including the playlists Gwyneth wrote for the Bold as Love series).

Catch the show on Saturday at 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

Missed the show? You can listen to it again here:

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July 21, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf Live Poetry Special, Saturday 23 July, 2-3pm

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Update: if you missed today’s show, you can catch it again on the player below!

This Saturday, North Manchester 106.6FM is hosted a live music day (in partnership with ALL FM). The event kicks off at 10am, when the Lord Mayor of Manchester will be in attendance. Throughout the day, there will be live on air performances from local bands and performers, as well as public performances in the foyer of the Manchester Communication Academy (free and open to anyone who wants to pop along). Check out the full schedule on the station’s website.

As part of this day of live performances, there’ll be a special Hannah’s Bookshelf as well. I’ll be on air 2-3pm, introducing live performances by some brilliant local poets. Here’s who’ll be on the show:

Joy France is fresh back from performing poetry at the Isle of Wight Music Festival and still giddy with excitement. Most days you’ll find her on the 3rd floor at Afflecks in the Northern Quarter where she’s set up an unusual space in her role as Creative-in-Residence.

Live Music Joy

Seamus Kelly is a poet living in the north of England with deep roots in the west of Ireland. In his recent first collection of poetry, Thinking too Much, Seamus invites the reader to think about life, family, nature, politics, justice peace and society.

Live Music Seamus

Andy N is a writer, poet and sometimes ambient musician from Manchester. To date, he has published two solo books Return to Kemptown (2010) and The End of Summer (2015) with a third From the Diabetic Ward pencilled in for 2017 from Goya Press, and two split books A Means to an End (2011) with Jeff Dawson and Europa (2014) with Nick Armbrister.

Live Music Andy

William Michael Neary writes lyrical poems that cover topics including: cheese, life in general, football, nature, WW1, anti fracking, the steel industry, romance and religion. His latest booklet of 31 poems is entitled Poetry… Yours sincerely Mr Neary.

Live Music Mick

Sharon Lowe has been on the spoken word and performance poetry scene for a few years following getting the buzz while organising the Leigh & Wigan Words Together Literary Festival in 2012/13. She co-founded the community theatre company, Anteros, in 2015 and is a volunteer organiser of the Wigan Diggers’ Festival taking place in Wigan every September.

Live Music Sharon

George Melling, performing pensioner poet from Wigan, has performed at many North West venues and headlined at several. He’s breaking into the Yorkshire spoken word scene later this year as guest poet. He’s also brought out a charity CD of his poetry set to music with proceeds going to Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

Live Music George

George’s CD is available to buy direct from Wigan and Leigh Hospice, or from any of the 13 Hospice charity shops. You can also get a copy from Joy France at her creative space in Affleck’s Palace. There’s more info about the CD here.

Tune in to the show at 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area), or listen online (if you’re further afield). And if you fancy popping along to the Manchester Communication Academy on Silchester Drive, we’d love to see you there.

Missed the show? You can catch it again here:

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July 14, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 16 July, 2-4pm

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Join me on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester 106.6FM. My guest this will be the fantastic Lee Jackson.

Lee Jackson is obsessed with the social history of Victorian London. He has an encyclopaedic website, has published seven historical crime novels, including A Metropolitan Murder (Arrow: 2004), and non-fiction, most recently Dirty Old London (Yale: 2014), about the Victorians’ desperate struggle to deal with filth and pollution.

I’ll be chatting to Lee about history, the Victorians and writing in general. And, of course, he’ll be sharing his selections for Apocalypse Books.

Tune on Saturday at 2pm on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

Missed the show? You can listen again here:

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July 6, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 9 July, 2-4pm

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Join me at 2pm on Saturday for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester 106.6FM. This week, my guest will be the fantastic Amanda Steel.

Amanda is from Yorkshire, but now lives in Manchester. After studying some Open University creative writing courses, she was inspired to pursue her lifelong love of writing. She has published various work on Amazon. Her recent work includes the first two books in the trilogy Hope and Magic and her short novel After The Zombies, which is set in Manchester. She is currently working on a full length novel following on from this. Amanda has also had a short story accepted for the forthcoming Graveyard Anthology by Sez Publishing. The best place to find her on is Twitter.

I’ll be chatting to Amanda about her work and, of course, she’ll be sharing her selections for Apocalypse Books.

Catch us at 2pm on Saturday on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

Missed the show? You can listen again here: