Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester


October 25, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 29 October, 2-4pm


Listen to North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm for the Hannah’s Bookshelf Halloween Special. This week, I’ll be joined in the spooky studio by the fangtastic Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn. You may remember that Sorcha appeared on the show way back in January 2015… well I’ve persuaded her to come back on the show for my Halloween edition.

Sorcha is a lecturer in Contemporary American Literature and Film Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. As well as lecturing on a wide range of books and films, Sorcha has published articles on horror and the Gothic. She is the editor of The Worlds of Back to the Future: Critical Essays on the Films (published by McFarland in 2010) and Clive Barker: Dark Imaginer (coming 2017 from Manchester University Press), and is currently working on a book entitled Postmodern Vampires: Film, Fiction and Popular Culture.

Sorcha and I will be talking about our favourite creepy subjects (of course), but we’ll also be counting down the Top 5 stories in the 3 Minute Scares competition. In the second hour of the show, we will be revealing the winner – Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith!

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).


radio 1

October 18, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 22 October, 2-4pm


Tune in to North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, my guest will be the fantastic Tony Earnshaw.

Tony has interviewed hundreds of film personalities while writing for such diverse publications as Fangoria, Cinema Retro, Sight & Sound, Impact, Diabolique, Starburst, Film Review and Scarlet Street. He is the author of An Actor and a Rare One – Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, Beating the Devil – The Making of Night of the Demon, Made in Yorkshire (with Jim Moran), The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark (ed.), Studies in the Horror Film: Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot (ed.), Under Milk Wood Revisited: The Wales of Dylan Thomas (with Mark Davis) and – most recently –  FANTASTIQUE – Interviews with Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Filmmakers (ed.). His debut piece of horror fiction, ‘Flies’, appeared in The 11th Black Book of Horror, published by Mortbury Press in 2015. He is currently studying for a Masters at Sheffield Hallam University.

I’ll be talking to Tony about his work and writing, and, of course, he’ll be sharing his selections for Apocalypse Books in the second hour of the show.

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 catch it again here:

radio 1

October 10, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 15 October, 2-4pm


Tune in to North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, I’ll be welcoming Andy N back to the show. You may remember that Andy was one of the poets who performed on my Live Poetry Special in July, as part of the station’s Live Music Day.

Andy is a 44 year old writer, performer, creative writing workshop tutor and sometimes experimental musician from Manchester. He has been published in numerous books and magazines and has been performing in some form or the other since 2006 and regularly since 2008. He was also vocalist and keyboardist in the spoken word collective ‘A Means to an End’, and his new spoken word/music band Passover will be touring at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017. He is also the editor-in-chief of Spoken Label, a new spoken word based interview podcast label featuring podcasts with all kinds of writers and artists. Andy’s books include Return to Kempton (2010), The End of Summer (2015) and From the Diabetic Ward (2017/18).

I’ll be chatting to Andy about his poetry and performance – and, of course, he’ll be sharing his selections for Apocalypse Books in the second hour of the show.

Catch Hannah’s Bookshelf 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:

radio 1

October 6, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 8 October, 2-4pm

radio 2

Tune in to North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, I’m welcoming back the lovely Nancy Schumann. You may recall that Nancy was a guest way back in the early days of the show, so it’s an absolute pleasure to invite her back for another chat.

Nancy is a researcher and writer, and has been researching, reading and writing female vampires for several years. She is the author of Take a Bite, an analysis of female vampires from the Romantic era through to the postmodern, and of poetry and short stories (written in both English and German).

We’ll be talking about Nancy’s writing and – appropriate as we begin the countdown to Halloween – we’ll be chatting a bit about vampires. As Nancy has already made some selections for Apocalypse Books, we’re going to do something a bit different in the second hour of the show – but you’ll have to tune in to find out!

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:

October 2, 2016

Coming Soon – Faust


On 28th October, Digital Periodicals (the Victorian Gothic department of Hic Dragones) will be launching the first issue of George Reynolds’s 1847 penny dreadful Faust. The eBook serial will be published in 12 fortnightly instalments, each costing just £1. This freshly transcribed and fully illustrated serial is the only modern edition of Reynolds’ action-packed tale of deadly sin, imperilled virtue and political intrigue.

To have everything your heart desires – what price would you pay?

From the author of Mysteries of London and Wagner the Wehrwolf comes a unique take on the legendary story of Faust. In the 1490s, amidst the secretive tribunals and power games of Europe, an impoverished student enters into a pact that will twist his mind and shatter his spirit. The promise of power, wealth and vengeance comes at a terrifying cost – but can true love conquer the demon’s hold? and what fate awaits a man who would sell his very soul?

Find out more on the Hic Dragones website.

And check out the brand new Faust trailer (with music by the fantastic Digital Front)!

radio 1

September 29, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 1 October, 2-4pm

radio 2

Tune in to North Manchester FM this Saturday (2-4pm) for Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, my guest will be the fantastic Catherine Spooner.

Catherine is a Reader in Literature and Culture in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and co-president of the International Gothic Association. She has published widely on Gothic literature, film and popular culture with a particular interest in fashion. She is the author of Fashioning Gothic Bodies (Manchester University Press 2004), Contemporary Gothic (Reaktion 2006) and the forthcoming Post-Millennial Gothic: Comedy, Romance and the Rise of Happy Gothic (Bloomsbury 2017). She has also co-edited several books including, most recently, Return to Twin Peaks (Palgrave 2015). She is currently researching the cultural afterlife of the Lancashire Witches and a Gothic cultural history of the white dress.

I’ll be talking to Catherine about all things Gothic and, of course, she’ll be sharing her selections for Apocalypse Books.

Catch us this Saturday, 2-4pm, 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:

radio 1

September 21, 2016

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 24 September, 2-4pm

radio 2

Join me on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester 106.6FM. This week, I’ll be welcoming back the lovely Joy France for some poetry and conversation. You may remember that Joy was one of the poets who performed on my Live Poetry Special (part of the station’s Live Music Day in July).

Joy is a poet who loves being part of the current vibrant Spoken Word scene. She also takes her words to unusual places and has fun challenging many of the misconceptions people have about poetry. Earlier this year, she performed her poetry at the Isle of Wight Music Festival and is still giddy with excitement. Most days you’ll find her on the 3rd floor at Afflecks (Palace) in the Northern Quarter where she has set up an unusual space in her role as Creative-in-Residence.

I’ll be talking to Joy about her residency, her writing and poetry in general. And, as always, she’ll be sharing her 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:


September 11, 2016

Some Literary Nights at the Museum

british museum

This week’s edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf (on North Manchester FM) was all about books set in museums – inspired by the book I’m currently reading (and more on that shortly). You can listen to the show on the player at the bottom of this post, but as promised here are the details of the books I talked about on the show. (As an aside, I am quite in love with museums – so much so, in fact, me and my husband got married in one. You can read about our special Night at the Museum in this post on our travel blog.)

Murder in the Museum by John Rowland (1938)

murder in the museum

This is the book I’m currently reading, and the inspiration for this week’s theme. Rowland’s novel is one of the British Library Crime Classics series. Way back in 2015, on the first ever episode of Hannah’s Bookshelf, I talked about Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon, which was the first of the series that I read. For my birthday this year, my parents-in-law bought me three more books in the series (how well they know me!): Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon, The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay and Murder in the Museum. My mother-in-law also picked up a secondhand copy of The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude recently, so I’m saving The Santa Klaus Murder and The Cornish Coast Murder for when we take our annual pre-Christmas trip to Cornwall in December.

Murder in the Museum begins in the reading room of the British Museum. As the book was written before the British Library Act 1972, the British Museum and the British Library are still the same entity and so ‘museum’ and ‘library’ are used interchangeably. The novel’s ‘affable chap’ and (very) amateur sleuth Henry Fairhurst is engaging in a little light people-watching, when he witnesses a man drop dead. The victim is Julius Arnell, a professor of Elizabethan drama. Inspector Shelley and Sergeant Cunningham arrive to investigate, but it’s not long before another murder occurs. Murder in the Museum is a pretty light example of Golden Age detective fiction, but it’s wonderfully evocative and enjoyable. There are some great descriptions of the museum reading room. I particularly like the depiction of the reading room at night, which I read on the show. (Murder in the Museum also includes the most wonderfully Golden Age murder weapon I’ve ever come across!)

As an aside, the British Museum Reading Room has featured in a number of other notable works of fiction. For example, it is the setting for the opening of M.R. James’s short story ‘Casting the Runes’, which was adapted into the 1957 film Night of the Demon.

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (1995)


A different type of book now – and a slightly different type of museum as well. Preston and Child’s book begins in 1987 and Dr Julian Whittlesey’s research expedition to the Amazon Basin. Whittlesey is seaching for the lost Kothoga tribe in order to learn about their culture and, specifically, their demonic lizard god Mbwun. When Whittlesey’s partner is killed, the scientist realizes that something is stalking him through the jungle…

We pick up the story in 1994, at a fictionalized version of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. A major exhibition is about to be launched, but plans are thrown into disarray when the bodies of two boys are found in the museum. The museum directors are keen to cover things up, but NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta, researcher Margo Green and journalist Bill Smithbank Jr. are on the case of the ‘Museum Monster’. They are joined by FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, making this the first of 16 novels by Preston and Child to feature their idiosyncratic FBI specialist. A sequel to RelicReliquary – was published in 1995, and a film adaptation – The Relic – was produced in 1997. Disappointingly for fans of Preston and Child’s novels, the character of Pendergast was left out of the film entirely, with his investigative role passed entirely to D’Agosta.

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk (2008)

museum of innocence

While most of this week’s show was devoted to books inspired by museums, I thought it was only fair to include a museum inspired by a book (or rather, a museum created in tandem with a book). Nobel laureate Pamuk’s 2008 novel is set in Istanbul between 1975 and 1984, and it tells the story of Kemal Basmaci. Kemal begins the novel engaged to Sibel (a woman from his ‘own class’), but he becomes infatuated with his teenage cousin Füsun, who works in a clothes shop. At first the infatuation seems mutual, and they begin an affair. Things change after Füsun attends Kemal’s engagement party, as the young woman moves to another part of the city with her family. When Kemal eventually tracks her down, his attraction becomes obsession. Although Füsun is now married, Kemal befriends her family and attends dinner at her house most nights. Over the years, he steals thousands of mundane items from Füsun’s home (include a salt shaker she’s used and cigarette ends) and hoards them as a sort of personal museum to the object of his obsession.

In 2012, Pamuk established the Museum of Innocence in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. Although the book and the museum were created in tandem, Pamuk has stated that they can also be enjoyed independently. The Istanbul museum presents the things that the novel’s characters wore, used and collected (including the salt shakers and cigarette butts), as well as a collection of maps and photographs of Istanbul at the time the novel is set.

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit (1907)

enchanted castle

Okay… so this next example isn’t quite a museum, but I really wanted to talk about it (and hey! it’s my show)…

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – also known as Dinosaur Court – are a series of sculptures that were commissioned in 1852 and unveiled in 1854. Designed and sculpted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (under the scientific direction of Richard Owen, palaeontologist), they are the world’s first ever dinosaur sculptures. The story behind these sculptures is really fascinating, and very revealing of how the public’s love of dinosaurs was born. Sadly, palaeontology moved pretty quickly in those early days, and Hawkins’s sculptures were considered laughably inaccurate within decades of their installation. They fell into disrepair by the twentieth century, until some restoration work in 1952 began to revive their fortunes. Luckily for us, the sculptures were truly saved in 2002, with a full renovation and restoration project.

Dinosaur Court features in quite a few books (particularly children’s books), so I had to decide which one to feature on the show. I decided to go with Nesbit’s The Enchanted Castle, because… well… it’s E. Nesbit, and she’s awesome. We begin the book with three children (Gerald, Kathleen and Jimmy), who are spending their summer holidays near Castle Yardling. They play a game of Let’s Pretend and believe that they’ve found the castle’s enchanted princess. Of course, typical of Nesbit’s fantasy novels, the castle’s magic isn’t quite what they think it is – and it’s not quite as much fun as the kids expected. Although The Enchanted Castle is a bit of a change from Nesbit’s previous novel (The Railway Children), there’s plenty of her trademark commentary on down-to-earth economic concerns and the limitations of fantasy/magic.

Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood (1979)

life before man

And I continued with the dinosaurs in my next selection. Life Before Man is Atwood’s fourth novel, and it’s about Elizabeth and Nate, an unhappily married couple who are staying together for the sake of their children. Both Elizabeth and Nate have been unfaithful, and the novel begins with Nate having been dumped by his most recent girlfriend and Elizabeth grieving after her lover’s suicide.

Elizabeth is the director of a (fictional) museum of natural history. Also employed at the museum is Lesje, a palaeontologist fascinated by dinosaurs and by ‘life before man’. Nate begins a slow-burn relationship with Lesje, who stands in sharp contrast to Elizabeth (the former is an ‘innocent’, while the latter is poised, cynical and self-aware). As the three people struggle to relate to one another, and as relationships shift and change between them, the idea of ‘life before man’ shadows them, serving as both a hopeful hint of something different and a cynical reminder of the ultimate pointlessness of their petty issues. It’s a mark of how accomplished Atwood is as a writer that these ideas work so well together, and that the continuous shadow of extinction that hangs over the novel’s protagonists never quite becomes morbid or nihilistic.

Kraken by China Miéville (2010)


The final book on today’s show is a real favourite of mine. Kraken was the first China Miéville novel I read, and I was hooked from the very first descriptions of the Natural History Museum. It’s a richly entertaining book, which is steeped in Miéville’s characteristic ‘Weird London’ elements, as well as plenty of ‘real-life’ touchstones to keep you feeling like this might – just might – actually be reality.

We’re in London’s Natural History Museum for this final selection, and one of the museum’s iconic artefacts is at the centre of the plot. It’s ‘Archie’ – the museum’s rare Architeuthis dux (giant squid) specimin – who is the ‘kraken’ of the title. The books begins with museum employee Billy Harrow leading a tour of the Darwin Centre… but as the visitors eagerly await a glimpse of Archie, Billy realizes to his horror that the giant squid has been stolen. What follows is part urban fantasy, part thriller, part detective story. Billy is aided (sort of) by Krakenist cult member Dane, as well as the FSRC (Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crimes Unit – or ‘the bloody cult squad’, as they introduce themselves) and the ‘Londonmancers’ (holders of the knowledge of London’s magic). In the search for the giant squid, Billy is pitted against The Tattoo (a gangleader who happens to be a sentient tattoo), Goss and Subby (centuries-old assassins with a truly bizarre method of dispatching their targets – and, I think, my favourite characters in the book), and numerous other cults, sects and organizations (such as the ‘Chaos Nazis’). But which of these groups took the giant squid? And has it got anything to do with the apocalypse? And, if the answer to the previous question is ‘yes’, then just which apocalypse will it be?

If you’d like to read a bit more about the Natural History Museum (and a little bit more about Archie), there’s a post on our travel blog that might be of interest.

To hear more about all of these books, and my reasons for choosing them, you can catch the show again here:

radio 1

August 31, 2016

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

radio 2

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).

Missed the show? You can listen again here: