Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

October 6, 2021

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

Join me on Saturday at 2pm for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. This week, I’ll be talking to the wonderful Gill James.

Gill is a writer, publisher and creative writing lecturer. She writes fantasy and science novels for children and young adults, historical novels for women and short fiction for a variety of readers. She works with a small group of other writers, designers and editors on collections of short stories and flash fiction, novels and non-fiction about feisty women, and books for children. She also edits an e-zine, CaféLit, that publishes one story a day to be consumed with an afternoon cuppa. CaféLit supports the Creative Café project, which brings creative practitioners and their supporters together in a café environment.

Gill has published twelve full novels, over a hundred short stories in all sorts of places and several non-fiction books about creative writing and language learning. The publishing imprints for which she edits, and which she manages, Bridge House Publishing, CaféLit, Chapeltown Books and The Red Telephone, have produced over one hundred trade books as well as half a dozen private collections for schools and other organisations. They are currently publishing about twelve books a year. An important project for Gill is The Schellberg Cycle – interlinked novels about young women involved in Nazi Germany, World War II and the Holocaust. Three are published and two are in the process of being published. These grew from a fascinating primary resource and a sabbatical from the University of Salford.

I’ll be talking to Gill about her novels and short stories, and also about her publishing projects and imprints. And, of course, she’ll be sharing her selections for this week’s Apocalypse Books.

Join me 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 26, 2021

3 Minute Scares is back for its sixth sinister year!

 

North Manchester FM’s Halloween creative writing competition is open for submissions for 2021.

 

North Manchester FM‘s Hannah Kate wants your scary stories for Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being broadcast on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 30th October.

We’re delighted to announce that this year’s 3 Minute Scares competition will be judged by horror legend Ramsey Campbell, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout Manchester, the live escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of around 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is. The deadline for entries is Monday 11th October, at midnight.

Last year’s competition was won by Rose Cullen, who impressed the judges with her stylish and darkly humorous tale. Hannah Kate says: ‘Last year saw a bumper crop of entries for the competition, with a really strong shortlist. Rose’s story impressed the judges by how well it handled the short form, but also with the delicious payoff it gave us at the end. The competition crown passed to a worthy winner, but I’m intrigued to see what this year’s entries will bring.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via this link. More information and rules of the competition, including information for people unable to submit a recording, can also be found on the website.

September 25, 2021

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

Join me on Saturday at 2pm on North Manchester FM for more News, Reviews and Short Interviews on Hannah’s Bookshelf. Here’s what’s coming up on this week’s show…

A review of a play by Eastern Angles I’ll be talking about The Ballad of Maria Marten, which I saw at The Lowry on 23rd September.

My final Greater Manchester Fringe review of 2021… I’ll be reviewing Sandy by Peripeteia Theatre Company, which I saw at Salford Arts Theatre on 29th September.

A review of a new book by Ramsey Campbell I’ll be talking about Born to the Dark, the second book in Campbell’s Three Births of Daoloth trilogy, which is out now from Flame Tree Publishing.

And What Are You Reading?… the section of the show where I ask writers about the books they’re reading at the moment. This week I’ve got another selection of reviews and recommendations. And if you’re a writer who’d like to take part, check out this post with details of how to join in!

Plus… you can hear my round-up of news from the World of Words. If you’ve got a news story you’d like to share, please use the News Form to submit it to the show. For review requests, please get in touch via the Contact Form.

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 catch it again here:

September 25, 2021

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf GM Fringe Reviews Special, Tuesday 28 September, 12-1pm

Tune in to North Manchester FM this Tuesday at 12noon for the third and final special edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf! Throughout September, I’ll be reviewing a selection of the shows on this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe festival programme. I’ll be sharing my reviews on North Manchester FM in a series of special episodes of Hannah’s Bookshelf for you.

So here’s what I’ll be talking about this week…

The Formidable Lizzie Boone

I’ll be reviewing Selina Helliwell’s one-woman show, The Formidable Lizzie Boone, which I saw at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on Friday 24th September.

 

 

And I’ll also be giving a round-up of what’s still to come as we enter the final couple of days of this year’s festival!

You can hear the show on Tuesday at 12noon 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 25, 2021

Tune In: A Selection of Radio-Inspired Fiction

On Saturday’s Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM, I chose a theme that… well… I have no idea why I haven’t done before! I decided to take a look at some books about radio, radio presenters and podcasters from a range of different genres. I tried to stick to fiction (or at least narrative non-fiction) rather than non-fiction books about the history of radio – but there are a lot of interesting examples of those, so I might have to save that as a theme for another time.

If you missed the show, you can catch it again on the player at the bottom of this post. But, as promised on the show, here’s a list of the titles featured on this week’s episode…

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (2006)

I thought we should start at the very beginning on today’s show. Although the rest of the books on today’s list are fiction, I began with some creative non-fiction. Larson’s book tells the story of Guglielmo Marconi’s experiments with radio transmission, and we couldn’t have a show about radio without a little bit of Marconi!

Thunderstruck isn’t just Marconi’s story. This is interspersed with the story of Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, who murdered his wife Cora in 1910. The two strands of the story are told separately – as Marconi and Crippen never met – but the exciting thing about the book is the way that the two parallel narratives are brought together in a dramatic conclusion, as Dr Crippen attempts to flee across the Atlantic to evade arrest. My small criticism of the book would be that it is a bit too sympathetic towards Crippen (and worryingly unsympathetic towards his victim), but Thunderstruck is still an excellent book to kick off the list today. The Marconi sections of the story are genuinely fascinating, and the descriptions of his inventions and their implications really underline the excitement around radio’s potential to change the world.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (2016)

On to the fiction now, and jumping ahead to a story from a much later part of the story of radio. As I said at the beginning of the show, the books on today’s list aren’t just about radio presenters but about podcasters as well… I wonder if Marconi foresaw that when he first started experimenting with long-distance transmission?

I have two books featuring podcasters on today’s show. The first is Oseman’s (sort of) coming-of-age YA novel. Radio Silence‘s protagonist is Frances, who is on the verge of taking up a place at university that she has studied very hard to get. But there’s more to Frances than meets the eye, and she’s holding some secrets beneath her studious surface. When she meets Aled, the presenter of her favourite podcast, a friendship blossoms that allows both the characters to gain more confidence in their identities and confront some of their personal demons. The friendship between Frances and Aled is a big draw with this book – it’s a warm and endearing relationship that is very enjoyable to read. Radio Silence also gives a good depiction of the intimacy and immediacy of podcasts, and the characteristic sense of connection that can develop between presenters and their listeners. It’s a far cry from a ship-to-shore message across the Atlantic!

I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan by Alan Partridge (2011)

What can I say about this next book? It wouldn’t be a radio show about fictional radio presenters without an offering from the legend that is Alan Partridge, would it? And given that his creator is a North Manchester lad himself (well, Middleton), it seems more than fitting to turn out attention to Mr Partridge now.

I don’t think I need to say much by way of introduction to the character of Alan Partridge. On the show, I did point out that I hadn’t realized how painfully accurate some of his mannerism are until I was presenting a radio show myself. Trust me, Accidental Partridge is a constant occupational hazard when you’re in the studio. I, Partridge is Alan’s autobiography (written with a little help from Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci, Rob Gibbons and Neil Gibbons), and it does include a lot of material about Alan’s radio career. It’s a genuinely funny book (as you would expect!), and it has a lot of material fans will enjoy. I particularly enjoyed Alan reflecting back on his time at the Linton Travel Tavern, giving an additional perspective on the characters he (and we) met there, and some anecdotes that enhance a rewatch of I’m Alan Partridge. When it comes to fictional radio presenters, there’s no one who can match Alan.

Radio Boy by Christian O’Connell (2017)

From an autobiography written by a fictional radio presenter to a fiction written by a real radio presenter now. Christian O’Connell has worked as a radio DJ for years on a number of stations, and he’s now turned his hand to writing children’s books.

Radio Boy introduces us to Spike Hughes, an eleven-year-old boy with a passion for radio presenting. When Spike’s gig on hospital radio is cancelled, and he misses out on another opportunity, he decides to create his own radio station with a little help from his friends. Radio Boy is a lovely book, with plenty of hijinks (do not try this at home, kids) and friendship. Spike has to overcome a number of obstacles to achieve his dream – not least some tricky relationships with the adults in his life – but his passion and enthusiasm for radio presenting are pretty infectious.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (2016)

We’re back to podcasters now, and returning to a series I’ve spoken about on the show before (very effusively!). The next book on today’s list is the first in Wesolowski’s Six Stories series, a horror/crime series that takes its inspiration from some real-life true crime podcasts.

Our fictional podcaster here is Scott King, a shadowy figure who presents the eponymous show. The fictional Six Stories podcast revisits cold cases and old crimes in an attempt to shed new light on them. The six episodes for each case take a different perspective on events, through interviews and narration from various people involved. At the end of the sixth episode, the listener (in the fictional world) is asked to make their own mind up about what really happened. Six Stories (the book) is told through the podcast itself. Although there are some small narrative additions that frame each chapter, the story is told through the transcript of the podcast. So the six chapters are, in fact, the six episodes. I love this format, and I also love the way the novels in the series bring together cold case crimes with the suggestion of paranormal horror and urban legends. In this first book in the series, the podcaster turns his attention to the case of Tom Jefferies, a teenager who died while on an outdoor pursuits weekend in the North East. Through interviews with friends and acquaintances of Tom’s, as well as witnesses to the events leading up to the boy’s death, the podcast pieces together an unsettling tale of teenage hierachies, imposing landscapes and the suggestion of something much more frightening. I am huge fan of this series, and for that reason Six Stories definitely belongs on today’s list!

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford (2016)

The final book on today’s list takes us back in time – not quite as far as Marconi’s early transmission experiments, but pretty far from the edgy podcasts of Wesolowski’s Scott King! I ended the show this week by talking about some historical fiction, set in 1926 in the early days of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Stratford’s book is the story of Maisie Musgrave, a young woman excited to have landed a job as a secretary at the BBC. Surrounded by the bustle and energy of the new broadcasting corporation, Maisie is fascinated by the world of radio and its brand-new breed of presenters. When she gains a mentor in Hilda Matheson, the director of the Talks programme, Maisie starts to see a future for herself in the wonderful world of radio. But – and there’s always a but, isn’t there? – there are murky things going on behind closed doors, and the more Maisie gets drawn into the world of broadcasting, the more she gets drawn into a rather dark conspiracy. Radio Girls is a real page-turner, and it’s filled with a sense of tangible excitement about the possibilities radio broadcasting has to offer, as well as some charming period detail. It was a great book to end today’s list, as it reminds of the all-important step that turned Marconi’s radio transmissions into a regular programme of radio broadcasts, without which we would never have known the joys of radio shows, podcasts, and Alan Partridge.

For more info about all of these books – and my reasons for choosing them – you can listen to the show again here:

September 19, 2021

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf GM Fringe Reviews Special, Tuesday 21 September, 12-1pm

Tune in to North Manchester FM this Tuesday at 12noon for a special edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf! Throughout September, I’ll be reviewing a selection of the shows on this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe festival programme. I’ll be sharing my reviews on North Manchester FM in a series of special episodes of Hannah’s Bookshelf for you.

So here’s what I’ve been watching this week…

The Comedy of Errors/La Commedia degli Errori

I’ll be reviewing The Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company’s English-Italian version of The Comedy of Errors/La Commedia degli Errori, one of the digital streaming events on this year’s Fringe programme, which I watched on Wednesday 15th September.

 

Feeling Haunted

I’ll be talking about Feeling Haunted by Psycho Garbage, which I saw at the Chapeltown Picture House on Sunday 19th September.

 

 

 

Something Funny with Scott McPherson

And I’ll also be talking about Scott McPherson’s stand-up show, Something Funny, which I saw at the Moston Small Cinema at the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre on Sunday 19th September.

 

 

You can hear my reviews of these shows on Tuesday at 12noon 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 15, 2021

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 18 September, 2-4pm

Join me on Saturday at 2pm on North Manchester FM for more from Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, my guest will be the brill Alan Bilton.

Alan is the author of three dream-like novels, The Sleepwalkers’ Ball (2009), The Known and Unknown Sea (2014) and his latest, The End of the Yellow House, published by Watermark Press. He is also the author of a collection of surreal short stories, Anywhere Out of the World (2016) and books on silent film, contemporary fiction, and the 1920s. He teaches Creative Writing, Literature and Film at Swansea University.

I’ll be talking to Alan about The End of the Yellow House, and his writing in general. And, of course, he’ll be sharing his selections for this week’s Apocalypse Books.

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 catch it again here:

September 13, 2021

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf GM Fringe Reviews Special, Tuesday 14 September, 12-1pm

Tune in to North Manchester FM this Tuesday at 12noon for a special edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf! Throughout September, I’ll be reviewing a selection of the shows on this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe festival programme. I’ll be sharing my reviews on North Manchester FM in a series of special episodes of Hannah’s Bookshelf this month.

So here’s what I’ve been watching this week…

Subdural Hematoma

There’s a second chance to hear my review of Subdural Hematoma by Eleanor May Blackburn, which I saw at Salford Arts Theatre on Friday 3rd September.

 

 

Your Playground Voice is Gone

I’ll be reviewing Your Playground Voice is Gone by Libby Hall, which I saw at Salford Arts Theatre on Saturday 11th September.

 

 

 

Failure Studies

And I’ll also be talking about Failure Studies by Precarious Theatre, which I saw at the King’s Arms Theatre on Sunday 12th September.

 

 

 

You can hear my reviews of these shows on Tuesday at 12noon 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 5, 2021

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 11 September, 2-4pm

Join me on Saturday at 2pm for more from Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. This week, my guest will be the brill Christopher P. Mooney.

Christopher was born in Glasgow in 1978. At various times in his life, he has been a paperboy, a supermarket cashier, a shelf stacker, a barman, a cinema usher, a carpet-fitter’s labourer, a foreign-language assistant and a teacher. He currently lives and writes in someone else’s small flat near London and his debut collection of short transgressive fiction, Whisky for Breakfast, is available now from Bridge House Publishing.

You may remember that I reviewed Whisky for Breakfast on the show back in May this year. This week, I’ll be talking to Christopher about his inspirations and influences for the book, and about transgressive fiction and his writing in general. And, of course, he’ll be sharing his selections for this week’s Apocalypse Books.

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 catch it again here:

September 4, 2021

Hic Dragones: Writing Prompts (Week 2)

Last week, I wrote a second series of writing prompts for Hic Dragones, the dark fiction small press where I’m editor-in-chief. I continued the series this week, posting daily prompts with a slightly more Gothic-inflection on the Digital Periodicals social media.

Digital Periodicals is a series of eBook editions of Victorian penny bloods, remastered and formatted for your reading pleasure by Hic Dragones. You can buy the titles as complete editions, or in instalments for that true penny dreadful experience.

My prompts went out daily on the Digital Periodicals social media, but here they all are in one place.