It’s time for my annual round-up post of the past year on Hannah’s Bookshelf, my weekly literature show on North Manchester FM. It’s been a bit of busy year on the show, as I returned to full-length interviews, mostly (but not entirely) done remotely in the virtual studio. I also caught up with some of the show’s previous guests in shorter interviews throughout the year. As well as this, I continued to review fiction and theatre, and put together themed reading lists for my Special Editions. All sorts of stuff, really.
Below is a round-up of everything that happened this year on the show, but I’d like to say a big thanks to North Manchester FM for letting me continue to haunt their airwaves and to Rob Shedwick (aka Digital Front) for being my unofficial producer on the show.
I started the year off with a themed show. This tradition started off as sort of a joke, but it’s become a bit of a habit of mine to begin the year with a post about books from a century ago. So, instead of doing a round-up of books from 2020, I talked about books from 1920. You can see a list of the books I featured on that show here.
It was an absolute pleasure to get back to doing full-length interviews again in January, and the first two guests I welcomed to the show were Anthony Briscoe and Andy Redsmith. I also got chance to catch up with a previous guest on the show, Rachel Mann.
And I also reviewed a couple of books in January. I talked about Love, Sex and Death, a poetry collection by Hallie Fletcher, and Whispers, a novel by Bonné Bartron this month.
February was all about the new guests on Hannah’s Bookshelf. I had four full-length interviews on the show this month. I talked to Beverley Butcher, Julian Edge, Katherine Horrex, and Diarmid MacArthur.
In March, I welcomed Jack Horner and Allison Symes to the show. I also caught up with previous guests Lucy Hounsom and Jeanette Greaves.
In addition this, I reviewed three novels: Key to Yesterday by Jonathan Young and Dennis Houghton, The Searching Dead by Ramsey Campbell and Blood Moon by Catherine Lundoff. And I also talked about Dear People of No Colour, a short film by Esosa Ighodaro (part of the Homemakers from HOME programme).
This month saw the return of the (Not Quite) Live Poetry Special, featuring performances this time from Chris Campbell, Sunita Thind, Elisabeth Horan, Tony Harrison, Hadley-James Hoyles, Martin Elder, Chris Neilson, Dorinda MacDowell, Christopher Monk, Bridie Breen, Kate Wilson and Katherine Horrex. You can see more info about all of these poets here. And also in April, I had a themed show, with a reading list all about fictional Hairdressers and Barbers. You can see a list of the books featured in that episode here, and a playlist of the music I chose to fit with the theme here.
Also in April, I welcomed two new guests to the virtual studio for interview: Simon Michael and Rose Cullen.
In May, I interviewed Jo Weston, Barrie Condon and Ian Taylor. I also spoke with Caroline Kelly about the upcoming Festival of Libraries, and caught up with previous guest Kim Bannerman.
And this month, I reviewed two non-fiction books (All Sorts of Things Might Happen: The Films of Jenny Agutter by Ian Taylor and The Author Who Outsold Dickens: The Life and Work of W.H. Ainsworth by Stephen Carver), a collection of short stories (Whisky for Breakfast by Christopher Mooney) and a film (Godzilla vs Kong).
June began with my Festival of Libraries Special, in which I spoke to a number of the people involved in Manchester City of Literature‘s inaugural Festival of Libraries, including Ivan Wadeson (Executive Director of Manchester City of Literature), Fergus Wilde (librarian at Chetham’s Library), Mike Garry, Rosie Garland, Charlotte Wetton, Lydia Hounat, Anjum Malik, Ruth Yates, Michelle Collier, Ella Otomewo and James Holt. You can see more about the festival and the guests on this special episode here.
I welcomed Bonnie Meekums and Gaynor Jones to the show in June, and caught up with previous guest Barbara Angela Kealy.
Finally, this month saw reviews of two novels on the show: Somebody’s Voice by Ramsey Campbell and Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin.
Lots of interviews this month… I spoke to Tom McColl, Matt Cook, Johnny Mains and Hadley-James Hoyles. And I also caught up with Ramsey Campbell.
Also in July, I reviewed The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada, a book by Angela Buckley, and The Global Playground, a dance performance by Theatre-Rites.
I had one themed show in August, and it was a Mystery Theme to celebrate my birthday! You can see a list of books (and also find out the theme) in this blog post, and you can hear a playlist of the music I featured on the show here.
My first interview of the month was an exciting one, as it was the first live studio interview I’d done since 2019! It was a pleasure to welcome Louise Finnegan to the actual studio! Of course, it was also a pleasure later in the month to welcome Anne Goodwin to the virtual studio, and then to catch up with Jamie Ryder.
I also reviewed two books in August: Keir Starmer: The Unauthorised Biography by Nigel Cawthorne and The Nurse Who Became a Spy: Madge Addy’s War Against Fascism by Chris Hall.
I had two special editions in September. First up, it was my Greater Manchester Fringe Special, featuring a number of the performers, writers and directors taking part in this year’s GM Fringe Festival. There’s info about all the acts that took part in the show here. Later in the month, I did another themed show, and this time the theme was Radio (a bit of an obvious one, really). You can see a list of the books I talked about here, and there’s a playlist of the music from the show here.
In addition to this, I spoke to Christopher Mooney and Alan Bilton.
But wait… there’s more… I had three extra shows in September! On 14th, 21st and 28th September, I hosted three Hannah’s Bookshelf GM Fringe Reviews Specials, featuring reviews of the shows I saw this year at the festival.
Two special editions this month… one was a colourful themed show, all about the colour Red. You can see a list of the books I featured on this show’s list here, and a playlist of the music I played here. The other special edition was my annual Halloween Special, featuring this year’s 3 Minute Scares competition (which was won this year by Rachel Halsall and judged by Ramsey Campbell). As is tradition, I presented the Halloween Special in fancy dress.
Also in October, I interviewed Gill James (another live-in-the-studio interview!) and Lesley Affrossman.
And there was still time for a few reviews. I talked about The Ballad of Maria Marten, a play by Eastern Angles, Sandy, a play by Peripeteia Theatre Company, and Born to the Dark, a novel by Ramsey Campbell.
And more content this month! The second series of Ten Tales: Ghost Stories for North Manchester started in October, with weekly original stories from me every Friday throughout the winter. The stories broadcast in October were Redeem Thy Misspent Time (set in Blackley Village) and Nocturne (set in Crumpsall).
Plenty of interviews this month… I spoke to Paul McQuade, John Darwin and Phillip Carter. And I caught up with old friends of the show Sarra Culleno and Heather Burnside.
Just one review in November, of Safely Gathered In, a short story collection by Sarah Schofield.
And there were four more Ten Tales stories this month as well: The Third Uncle George (set at Blackley Cemetery), The Ice Palace (set in Cheetham Hill), Bradshaw’s Vinegar (set in Moston) and Wireless (set near Heaton Park).
There were two interviews and two reviews in December before things got a bit festive on Hannah’s Bookshelf. I welcomed Sarah Schofield to the show, and I caught up with Christopher Monk. I also reviewed two novels: Being Amani by Annabelle Steele and Loving Country by Julian Edge.
After that, there were two festive specials in December. First, it was my 3 Minute Santas Pre-Christmas Special, featuring a selection of flash fiction from Dorinda Ann MacDowell, Lisa Williams, Fiona Linday, Allison Symes, Rosemary Johnson, Amanda Steel, Andy N, Rosie Cullen, Julian Edge, Martin Elder, Michael Forester and Tony Harrison. And then it was my Christmas Special, in which I talked about a selection of festive books that were published this year. You can see the list of books I featured on the show here.
There were also four more Ten Tales stories in December: Peril in Darkingford (set in Cheetham Hill), Cream Crackers (set in Crumpsall), Nut-Nan in the Hazel (set around Boggart Hole Clough) and the festive finale One Hundred and Thirty Aged Men Sat Down to an Excellent Dinner (set in Prestwich).
Just one show left (sort of) this year… and I hope you’ll tune in!
Coming up at 2pm on Saturday 1st January, it’s the Hannah’s Bookshelf New Year Special. Tune in to hear my personal Apocalypse Books highlights of 2021. As always, you can listen on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).
Happy New Year!