Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

September 17, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 17 September, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 on North Manchester FM for another Helping of History. On this week’s show, I’ve decided to return to one of the stories from last week’s Three Tales of Old Alkrington show, as I’m not sure I completely did it justice.

On last week’s show, I told the story of a mob of fortune-tellers and mediums that descended on Alkrington in January 1842. Mostly, I was interested in the Manchester Courier‘s investigation into the techniques employed by these suspicious characters. However, this meant I didn’t get chance to talk much about the incident that provoked this sudden craze: the singular disappearance of the old man from Jumbo. And that seems unfair.

On this week’s show, I’m going to return to this story and share a bit more information about this sad story. It doesn’t have a happy ending, so I thought it would be fitting to share the conclusion. I don’t know a lot about the missing man, but I’ll be talking about what I’ve found out about him and the world of Jumbo (later Middleton Junction) where he lived.

In addition to this, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers (where you can find out about ‘The Chocolate Code’).

Catch the show on Tuesday at 12 on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

September 15, 2019

Beware! A Selection of my Favourite Bad Luck Books

On this Saturday’s Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM I was thinking about bad luck. The show was pre-recorded the previous day… which was Friday the 13th. So I guess that got me think about superstitions and luck. Instead of just talking about generally unlucky literary characters, I thought I’d take a look at a selection of books featuring omens of bad luck (albeit in different ways!).

As promised on the show, here’s the list of books I chose. Do you disagree with my choices? Have I missed your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

The Short Voyage of the Albert Ross by Jan Mark (1980)

So, I decided to start with a maritime superstition about bad luck – and one of the best known ones – the albatross as a harbinger of bad luck at sea. The obvious choice here would have been Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and that nearly was the first book on my list. But I decided to swap it for a rather different book – in fact, the book that taught me the word ‘albatross’ (and the associated superstition) in the first place.

The Short Voyage of the Albert Ross, like many of Mark’s books, takes a sensitive and nuanced look at the way friendships develop (and end) when we’re children. Steven – an imaginative boy who enjoys exploring – and his next-door-but-one neighbour John discover a raft down by the river. The book’s blurb will tell you that John is a bully, and that Steven has to learn how to stand up to him, but Mark’s story is really much more complex than this. This is a story about what happens when you get a little tiny bit older, and your former friendships start to change. The raft – named ‘Albert Ross’ due to Steven mishearing John’s explanation of an ‘albatross’ – is actually the last thing that the two boys share, and their plan to take it for a ‘short voyage’ is a captivating, and occasionally rather tense, tale of accepting different priorities and personalities. The ending is perhaps not what you’d expect, but it’s a satisfying and realistic conclusion to a thoughtful story. I was very fond of this book as a child, but sadly it’s not that well-known now. Perhaps it’s time for a Jan Mark revival? (I included another book by Mark, one of my other childhood favourites – The Dead Letter Box – on my Friends Special back in 2018.)

Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1936)

Obviously, as I recorded the show on Friday 13th, I wanted to include a book that references one of the many superstitions that surround the number 13. In particular, I was thinking about the superstition that having thirteen guests at dinner or a party brings bad luck (especially to the thirteenth person to sit down). The obvious choice for me here would be Agatha Christie’s Thirteen at Dinner (US title), Or Lord Edgware Dies (as it’s known in the UK), but I’d already included that one on my Fictional Comedians show back in August. Fortunately, the British Library Crime Classics series has another excellent candidate for this list…

Thirteen Guests is a country-house mystery by J. Jefferson Farjeon (author of Mystery in White, the book that really cemented the popularity of the BL Crime Classics back in 2014). Like a lot of the series, the joy of Thirteen Guests lies in the evocation of time, place and atmosphere – though there’s a pretty good mystery at the heart of this one as well. The novel takes place at a hunting party at Bragley Court, the home of Lord Aveling. There are to be twelve guests attending, who make up a bizarrely diverse crowd including a gregarious widow, a gossip columnist, a ‘lady novelist’, a painter and a sausage magnate. There’s also a strange couple – the Chaters – that none of the other guests seem to know. However, the party is expanded unexpectedly to include a man called John Foss. Foss injured his ankle at the train station and was brought to Bragley Court to recuperate. He is the ominous thirteenth guest, forced to watch the strange goings-on unfold from an invalid bed in one of the sitting rooms. But does Foss have his own secrets? (Probably, as everyone in Thirteen Guests has at least one secret!) Farjeon’s novel is a bit of a slow-burn, more preoccupied with afternoon teas and seemingly inconsequential social interactions, but as the strange incidents escalate and Inspector Kendall is called in the investigate, a curious puzzle emerges to be solved.

Too Many Magpies by Elizabeth Baines (2009)

I chose this next title because it (sort of) hits two superstitions in one. Of course, I wanted to include a book that features magpies, but Baines’s book is also published by Salt, which can (if spilt) be another bad luck omen. I should say that I do not advise throwing any Salt books over your left shoulder though! It’s much better if you just read them!

Too Many Magpies is a novella narrated by a unnamed young woman. The narrator is married to a scientist who prides himself on being logical and rational, and she has two young sons under five. The woman and her husband plan to contol their children’s ‘futures’ through ‘scientific’ principles (e.g. restricting sugar intake and growing their own vegetables) – though the logic and rationality of some of their choices in questionable. This life is unsettled by the arrival of a charismatic but mysterious stranger, and the narrator begins to fall for the new arrival. But Too Many Magpies is not a simple romance story; instead, it focuses on the effect this new relationship has on the narrator and, more strikingly, on her children (particularly her eldest son, Danny, who has been acting very strangely). It’s a haunting book, heavy with a sense of forboding. Who is this stranger? why is everyone acting so weirdly? is this post-natal depression? or is the world really coming to an end? and why are there so many magpies?

The Likeness by Tana French (2008)

Another omen of bad luck for this next one… the doppelgänger. The idea of running into someone who looks just like you (but isn’t related to you) is unsettling enough, but superstition has it’s even worse than that: if you see your double (sometimes imagined as a spectral double or apparition), it’s a harbinger of death. A number of writers have tackled this idea in fiction – from the philosophical to the Gothic to more science fiction takes – but I’m going to go with a detective novel for this list.

As I’ve mentioned on the show before, I really like Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. The first book in the series, In the Woods, was on my reading list for my Friends Special back in January 2018. As became standard with the series, the book that followed picked up one of the secondary characters from In the Woods and made them the protagonist. The Likeness is Cassie Maddox’s story, and it begins with the discovery of a body that bears an uncanny resemblance to the detective. Weirder still, the body is identified as Lexie Madison… only Lexie Madison doesn’t exist. It was a fake identity created for Cassie Maddox when she worked undercover. Cassie’s mentor, Frank Mackey, persuades the detective to go undercover as Lexie Madison again – this time to solve the murder and find out the truth about the doppelgänger. The investigation takes Cassie into a close-knit circle of friends, and the boundaries of identity begin to blur. The Likeness is a compelling and unexpected story that’s much more than a murder mystery, and it’s an excellent follow-up to In the Woods. Frank Mackey, Cassie’s unorthodox mentor, will get his own outing as a protagonist in the next book in the Dublin Murder Squad series: Faithful Place.

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate (2009)

So, I started the show by talking about the numerous bad luck superstitions that sailors have. But now it’s time to turn to another rather superstitious profession… actors. Perhaps the best-known theatrical superstition is the interdiction against mentioning Macbeth backstage (you must always call it the Scottish Play and use nicknames for the characters). I considered including Shakespeare’s play itself on today’s list, but that seemed a bit obvious. I chose instead to go with a book that offers a creative reimagining of the Scottish Play.

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove was Lauren Kate’s debut novel, though it got a bit more attention after the publication of Fallen, the first book in her YA fallen angels series. When I first read The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove, I didn’t know that it had any relationship to Macbeth – it isn’t something that’s spelt out in the blurb or marketing – though I really should have paid attention to the chapter titles, as they are all quotes from Shakespeare’s play! However, after a couple of chapters, I had the funny feeling that there was something very familiar about this YA story about high school rivalries… Natalie Hargrove is determined to become the Palmetto Princess (a kind of prom queen award at her school) with her boyfriend, Mike King, as her Prince. When Justin Balmer (J.B.) looks like he’s going to get in the way, Natalie persuades Mike to play a pran on him… and things start to get a bit dark. With some lovely nods to Shakespeare’s original, though given an American high school flavour (I particularly enjoyed the first dialogue we get from the ‘Juniors’, a group of New-Agey girls who hang out in the school toilets and offer some… erm… commentary on Natalie’s predicament), this is an imaginative and rather clever, but not straightforward, retelling of Shakespeare’s story. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the books has some twists and turns related to Natalie’s backstory that raise it to another level and adds a bit of punch to the ending.

Chain Letter by Christopher Pike (1986)

And finally, as someone who was a kid in the 80s, I thought I’d go a bit retro with my last choice. Although my last themed show was all about fictional letter-writing, there was one ominous type of letter that I didn’t include on that list… the chain letter. Although chain letters adapted to fit new technologies (faxes, emails, social media), the old-school handwritten, hand-posted correspondence has a peculiar potency as bringer of bad (or good) luck.

And today’s list ends with Christopher Pike’s teen horror novel: Chain Letter. It’s the story of a group of seven friends, one of whom receives an unsettling letter signed ‘Your Caretaker’ that demands the completion of inexplicable and dangerous tasks. The letter’s recipient must watch for a personal ad in the local newspaper that will explain their task, and once they’ve completed it, they have to pass the letter on to another member of the group. Okay, so not exactly a standard chain letter… but it’s pretty bad luck nonetheless! In Chapter 3 we get a bit of background explanation: the seven friends, Alison, Fran, Brenda, Kipp, Tony, Joan and Neil, did something bad last summer. And now, it seems, someone knows what they did last summer. In the early chapters, it almost feels like the chain letter isn’t such a bad thing. Some of the early tasks are easily completed (even resulting in good luck for some of them), and there doesn’t seem to be any real negative consequences when one of them, Kipp, decides to ignore the letter and not do his first task. But, as you might expect, things ramp up a level… and then another level… and it looks like some of the seven might not make it through alive. Admittedly, this isn’t so much a book about ‘bad luck’ as it is about karmic comeuppance (they really did so something bad last summer), but there are some great bits of suspense and uneasy horror, as the protagonists realize that the ‘Caretaker’ is watching them.

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

September 15, 2019

3 Minute Scares is back for its fourth frightful year!

North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants your scary stories for Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 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 26th October.

This year’s 3 Minute Scares competition will be judged by novelist Andy Remic and Emily Oldfield of HAUNT Manchester, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout Manchester, the real-life 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 Thursday 17th October, at midnight.

Last year’s competition was won by Keri Moriarty, who impressed the judges with a stylish but unsettling tale. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘Keri’s winning story was really well-written – she got so much atmosphere into such a short space of time. Each year, I’m impressed with the different ways writers handle the constraints of telling a story in just three minutes. There’s a lot of talent out there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people across our region submit for this year’s competition.’

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

September 15, 2019

Clayton Hall: A Patchwork Poem

As part of my role as writer-in-residence at Clayton Hall, I was at this year’s Heritage Open Day, writing flash fiction inspired by the hall (and by prompts supplied by visitors to the hall’s open day). I’ll be posting about this – and sharing some of the finished pieces – later, but it occured to me that I never posted anything about last year’s Heritage Open Day at the hall and the ‘patchwork poetry’ activity I ran at the event.

I wanted to create a poem using snippets and scraps provided by visitors to the hall. I asked people to leave me a word, a phrase, or even a line of poetry, that captured their visit to Clayton Hall.

Afterwards, I took these patches and sewed them together to make a poem for Clayton Hall, stitching together all the little scraps of poetry created by the visitors and volunteers at the Hall. And here’s the finished patchwork creation…

Jewel in the City

A Patchwork Poem by Hannah Kate and the Heritage Open Day visitors

We didn’t know it was here,
this window on the past, this hidden gem,
a black-and-white house, a new discovery,
unexpected, evocative, unique.

Its walls hold an intriguing story –
wattle and goose feather, daub and manure,
a library, a moat, a Memory Lane,
fustian and philanthropy,
gentlemen merchants, hard-working volunteers,
a living history, fascinating, friendly and warm.

The past is brought to life here
and we learn something new of our town,
homely heritage, Humphrey Chetham,
cracked timbers and elbow grease.
We feel at home with this Old Lady,
this Tudor rose in the city,
this beautiful Manchester gem.

September 10, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 10 September, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 on North Manchester FM for another Helping of History. And it’s time for another of my ‘Three Tales…’ shows!

As I’ve done ‘Three Tales’ of Old Crumpsall, Cheetham Hill, Collyhurst and Chadderton, I’ve run out of ‘Cs’ now! But fortunately there are still loads more places to choose from! This week’s show will have Three Tales of Old Alkrington. I’m going to go right back to 1842 to start with, before moving through to the early twentieth century. I’ve got stories on fortune-telling (or is it?), a hurricane (or is it?), and the development of the Garden City movement (it really is!).

As well as these Alkrington Tales, I’ll also be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers.

Catch the show on Tuesday at 12 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 8, 2019

Stop! Wait a Minute, Mr Postman! A Selection of Fictional Letter-Writers

On this week’s Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM, I decided to take a look at some literary depictions of that beloved (but dying?) art: letter-writing. Handwritten, hard copy letters have a special place in the novel tradition, both in terms of storytelling and form, but also plot development and reveals. The theme for this show was inspired by a couple of things: an old penpal of mine from when I was a teenager unexpectedly got back in touch; a friend of mine that I usually keep in touch with via text sent me a surprise letter through the post; and I’m currently reading a novel that weaves bits of letters, notes, reports and articles into its prose. So you can see why letter-writing was on my mind when I started planning the show!

I toyed with the idea of doing a whole list of epistolary novels (books where the stories is told entirely through letters), but I decided instead to go for stories where letters are an important plot device, but more importantly where letter-writers are significant characters. And most of the books were published in the twenty-first century, which raises the interesting question of why, in the age of social media and mobile phones, has the hand- or typewritten letter retained such power in our imagination?

You can hear the show on the player at the end of this post. But, as promised, here’s the list of books I featured. If you disagree with any of my choices, or if I missed your favourite, let me know in the comments!

PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (2004)

I chose Cecelia Ahern’s debut novel as a good example of the power of letter-writing in fiction – in particular, the power of the love letter. While the story isn’t told exclusively through letters (and it certainly isn’t an exchange of letters, as we find in some epistolary novels), a series of ten very important letters play a pivotal role in the book – as reflected in its title.

Holly and Gerry are a (reasonably) happily married couple living in Dublin. But tragedy strikes. Gerry dies of a brain tumour, and Holly is left grieving and in pain. She withdraws from her family and friends and struggles to recover, but support appears from an unexpected source. A parcel arrives for Holly with ten envelopes, to be opened each month. The envelopes contain letters written by Gerry before his death (each ending with ‘PS, I Love You’) to offer support and comfort the Holly as she begins to look to the future. Even though this isn’t my usual genre of choice, Ahern’s book really testifies to the power of the written letter, and to the intimacy of the connections we feel when receiving a letter.

PS, I Love You was adapted into a film in 2007, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. The setting was shifted to Manhattan, and the letters arrive separately rather than all at once, but it is otherwise a fairly faithful adaptation.

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (1942)

From love letters to poison pen letters next… while anonymous malicious notes are a staple plot device in many a detective novel, I chose a book with a more sustained campaign of hateful correspondence. Christie’s The Moving Finger has an archetypal poison-pen writer… and (as you might have guessed) things soon take on a more murderous hue.

When Jerry and Joanna Burton move to the quiet town of Lymstock to allow Jerry time to recuperate after a plane crash, they are distressed to find themselves targetted by malicious correspondent. They receive an anonymous letter accusing them of being, not brother and sister, but secret lovers. And the Burtons aren’t the only victims – other Lymstock residents also receive nasty letters, including Mona Symmington, who is (apparently) so distraught at being accused of having had an affair that she (apparently) takes her own life. But when the Symmingtons’ maid Agnes is also found dead, it appears there may be more to it than first appeared. Scotland Yard arrive to investigate, but when they fail to make any progress, the vicar’s wife Maud calls in her own expert… Miss Marple.

The Moving Finger is an unusual Miss Marple novel in that it is narrated by Jerry Burton, and Miss Marple herself doesn’t make an appearance until quite late in the game. It was adapted in 1985 as part of the BBC series of Miss Marple adaptations with Joan Hickson. A looser adaptation was done by ITV for the Marple series in 2006 (with Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple).

Dispatch by Bentley Little (2005)

And from poison pen letters to something even more sinister now… but another book that testifies to the power of letter-writing (though it takes that to another level). I thought this list could definitely do with a horror title on it!

Little’s book tells the story of Jason Handford, a man with the talent for writing letters. As a child, Jason took part in a penpal project (for somewhat dubious reasons), and his experience of writing to his Japanese penpal revealed a talent for making things happen through the written word that excited him with its possibilities. Jason graduates to writing complaint letters to restaurants and other businesses, getting free stuff and compensation as a result. Of course, as this is a horror novel, things take a sinister turn. Jason’s talent for letter-writing brings him to the attention of someone with an agenda… though I’m not in the business of giving spoilers!

Fans of Little’s work will recognize some characteristic themes and tropes in Dispatch. For the purposes of today’s list, I was, of course, interested in the way letter-writing in presented. Particularly, I was fascinated by the subtle connection and comparison made between hard copy letters and internet commentary. Admittedly, Jason isn’t always a very likable character (not unusually for horror!), but Dispatch is still a great skewed take on the art of letter-writing.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2003)

Speaking of characters who are unlikable… here’s a pretty dramatic example! We Need to Talk About Kevin is the only epistolary novel on today’s list, though as it’s not an exchange of letters (we only see the letters of one correspondent), it works like a first-person narration with some direct address. It is, in some ways, a mirror-image of PS, I Love You. The letters in We Need to Talk About Kevin are an exploration of the lack of love.

Our narrator is Eva Khatchadourian, mother of the eponymous Kevin, who is writing to her estranged husband Franklin. Kevin has committed an atrocious crime, and Eva’s letters work through the background to this, and her own (and Franklin’s) role in the development of Kevin’s development. She examines her relationship with her son with a raw and brutal honesty, delving into some uncomfortable territory related to maternity, parental love and the nature/nuture debate. However, there is also a dishonesty to Eva’s narration, and the reader is constantly encouraged to read between the lines and consider the things she isn’t saying. It’s an unsettling read, but the story is really well-told and tests readers’ sympathies and perceptions throughout.

We Need to Talk About Kevin was adapted into a film starring Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in 2011.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (2000)

I wanted to include a children’s book on today’s list, and given that I’ve already included my own personal favourite (Jan Mark’s The Dead Letter Box) on a previous reading list, I had to cast my net around for another title. And I found a real gem!

Doreen Cronin’s award-winning Click, Clack, Moo (which has wonderful illustrations by Betsy Lewin) tells the story of what happens when Farmer Brown’s cows get hold of a typewriter. Like a sort of surreal, children’s version of Orwell’s Animal Farm, Click, Clack, Moo sees the barnyard animals protesting the conditions on the farm – though the outcome is a little different to Orwell’s novel! Popular with teachers and school librarians, the book’s onomatapoeic refrain is fun to read out loud – but it also includes guidance for children on the correct way to phrase a polite letter. The slightly off-the-wall plotline is fun for adults too (though it’s political message is a little bit more ambiguous than Orwell’s!).

Cronin followed up Click, Clack, Moo with a couple of ‘sequels’: Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, and (one of these things is not like the others) Duck for President.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Almost all the other books on today’s list were written after the advent of email and mobile phones – and all five were written after the invention of the telephone and telegram. I thought it was only fitting to end this list with a book written before all those other means of communication crept in… and what better title could I choose?

I don’t think I really need to introduce Pride and Prejudice, except to say that letters play a huge role in driving and developing the plot. It is a truth universally acknowledged (though mostly conjectured through analysis of the published version) that Austen’s novel was originally written as an epistolary novel. When the original draft, entitled First Impressions, failed to find a publisher, she rewrote the story, developing it into a third-person narration. Nevertheless, a huge amount of the plot is carried through the many letters that are sent back and forth between various characters. Obviously, a lot of the letters are born of necessity – if the book were written now, I’m sure some of the communication would be via text or social media! However, there’s no getting around some of the key moments of written correspondence – it’s hard to imagine the contents of Mr Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth in Chapter 36 being communicated in any other way.

Pride and Prejudice has been adapted a number of times. Most versions cut down the number of letters sent (due to constraints of format), but I think I’m right in saying that every single one keeps that one all-important letter – Darcy’s explanation to Lizzie. Because sometimes things just have to be written down.

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

September 2, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 3 September, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 on North Manchester FM for another Helping of History! This week, I’m talking to Mark Wilson from the People’s History Museum about a fantastic exhibition currently on display in the museum.

You may remember back in February, I interviewed Katrina Navickas about her research into contested open spaces, protest and the curious history of Cropper Street in Collyhurst. As we discussed in that interview, Katrina’s research has been taken to the People’s History Museum as a fascinating new exhibition: The Most Radical Street in Manchester?, which is on until Sunday 22nd September. I’ll be speaking to Exhibition Officer Mark Wilson on Tuesday’s show to find out more about the exhibition, the museum’s displays, and associated events.

As well as my interview with Mark, I’ll sharing another little story from my folder of North Manchester miscellanies. And, of course, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers.

Catch the show on Tuesday at 12 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:

August 27, 2019

Clayton Hall: Dark Fiction Writing Course

Fancy the opportunity to develop your creative writing in atmospheric, inspirational and unique setting of Clayton Hall (once home to Humphrey Chetham)? One of Manchester’s hidden heritage gems is offering a six-week dark fiction writing course… with me (the Hall’s writer-in-residence)!

Reasons you should consider this course? (1) Clayton Hall is an unusual and evocative location, easily accessible on the Metrolink. (2) In addition to the workshop sessions, we’ll also be having a reading and performance night… just in time for Halloween! (3) We have a guest workshop by the absolutely amazing Rosie Garland as part of the course!

Find the course on Facebook or Eventbrite… or keeping reading for more info…

Writer-in-residence Hannah Kate leads a six-part weekly writing course (with performance night) in the unique and evocative setting of Clayton Hall. Learn techniques for creating atmospheric and evocative writing, workshop your ideas, and share your work in a friendly and supportive environment. This course also includes a guest workshop from Manchester author Rosie Garland, and an optional extra workshop at another heritage site in Manchester.

Course outline:
Wed 18 Sep (7-9pm): Welcome to Clayton Hall and Writing Dark Fiction
Wed 25 Sep (7-9pm): Ghosts of Manchester, pt. 1
Wed 2 Oct (7-9pm): Guest workshop by Rosie Garland
Wed 9 Oct (7-9pm): Darkly Descriptive Writing
Wed 16 Oct (7-9pm): Ghosts of Manchester, pt. 2
Wed 23 Oct (7-9pm): Creating Character and Writing Dialogue

Reading and Performance Night:
Wed 30 Oct (7-9pm): A chance to read work produced on the course in the atmospheric setting of Clayton Hall

Optional Extra Workshop:
Sat 19 Oct (am): Additional ‘on-site’ workshop delivered at another Manchester heritage site (tbc)

Hannah Kate is writer-in-residence at Clayton Hall. Hannah is a North Manchester-based poet, short story writer and editor, and she presents a weekly literature show on North Manchester FM. Hannah has run numerous creative sessions for organizations including Commonword, Oldham Coliseum and Write Like a Grrrl, and has delivered workshops a number of heritage sites and museums, including the V&A and Manchester Museum.

Rosie Garland is a poet, writer and performance artist. She is the author of The Palace of Curiosities, Vixen and The Night Brother, as well as a number of poetry collections and short fiction. Rosie is currently writer-in-residence at the John Rylands Library.

Book your place on the course by clicking here or using the form below:

August 27, 2019

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 31 August, 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 fantastic Elizabeth Ducie.

When Elizabeth had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing – text books, articles and training modules – and write about some of her travel experiences instead. She took some courses in Creative Writing and discovered to her surprise that she was happier, and more successful, writing fiction than memoirs or life-writing. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. She has published four novels, including a series of thrillers set in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals, and three collections of short stories.

Elizabeth has run her own small business since the 1990s. As a scientist, she thrives on spreadsheets. But few writers she meets feel the same way. She writes her Business of Writing series to provide a toolbox of skills, allowing writers to spend minimal time getting their business systems right and releasing them for the creative work they love. She regularly lectures at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and elsewhere. Elizabeth believes independent publishing is an exciting opportunity and not merely the choice of last resort. In the past seven years, she has published fifteen titles under her own imprint, Chudleigh Phoenix Publications.

I’ll be talking Elizabeth about her novels, the Business of Writing series, and her publishing. And, of course, she’ll be sharing her 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:

August 27, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 27 August, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 on North Manchester FM for a bit of a myth-busting Helping of History!

This week’s show was inspired by something I made for the Friends of Crumpsall Park last week (for a talk on the history of the park)…

As I’ve mentioned on the show previously, it’s a bit of a tenacious myth that Humphrey Chetham was born in what is now Crumpsall Park. I’ve spoken before about how this misunderstanding has arisen, but it’s got me thinking about some of the other myths that get told and retold about our local area. Some of these have featured on Helping of History previously… did the Earl of Wilton give Heaton Park to the people of Manchester? did Humphrey Booth open a children’s hospital in Blackley? But are there any others?

I’ve asked a few people to share some of the stories that they’ve heard over the years so that we can debunk (or confirm) them on the show. Feel free to text in or tweet during the show if you’ve got one to share! Let’s see if we can bust a few myths!

As well as this wander through some myths and misconceptions, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers in the second hour of the show.

Catch A Helping of History on Tuesday at 12 on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester FM) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

Missed the show? You can catch it again here: