Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

February 16, 2019

North Manchester: A Helping of History, Tuesday 19 February, 12-2pm

Join me for another Helping of History on North Manchester FM this Tuesday at 12. I’ve got two fantastic interviews lined up for this week’s show, about two really great projects looking at the history and stories of our local area.

In the first hour of the show, I’ll be talking to historian Katrina Navickas about her current project: A History of Public Space. In particular, Katrina will be talking about one of the North Manchester case studies in the project – Cropper Street (now Osborne Street) on the border of Collyhurst and Miles Platting. Is this Manchester’s most radical street? Katrina will be talking about this on the show, and also asking for people to share their Osborne Street stories as part of the project.

And then in the second hour of the show, I’ll be talking to Julian Hill of Foundland Theatre and Manchester Playwrights Forum about an exciting new participatory theatre project for Moston and Harpurhey. The project’s working title is ‘Our Life’, and Julian is looking to involve looking people in the research and development of this new theatre production that will draw on the stories and histories of Moston and Harpurhey communities. Find out more – including how to get involved – on Tuesday’s show.

In addition to these two wonderful interviews, I’ll also be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers on the show.

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).

February 11, 2019

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

Join me on Saturday at 2pm for another Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM. This week, my guest will be the fab Ged Austin.

Ged Austin, born in Manchester, is the author of 23 published books, including ten children’s books, two novels, two plays, a local history book about Wythenshawe and eight books of poetry. Ged left school with no qualifications and is dyslexic. He was told he could never write a book by various schoolteachers, but he proved them all wrong. He’s also acted in six films, and has served as art director and curator of fourteen art exhibitions, exhibiting work at the Albert Hall and Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

Known at the ‘Urban Poet’, Ged has been described as one of the best homeless outreach workers in the country, working on Manchester’s streets. He has done little poetry workshops over four years in the doorways, alleyways and squats of Manchester’s streets, encouraging the homeless to have a voice through writing their own poetry about life and how they feel. This has resulted in Ged buying and collecting 75 different pieces of poetry from homeless people in Manchester.

I’ll be talking to Ged about his work and writing on this week’s show. 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:

February 11, 2019

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

Join me on Tuesday at 12 on North Manchester FM for another Helping of History. This week, I’ll be taking a trip to Prestwich.

Prestwich has a rich and fascinating history – so it’s sort of strange that I’ve not really talked much about this on the show before. Now part of the metropolitan borough of Bury, Prestwich’s history is intertwined with that of Manchester, Salford, Middleton and Oldham. Prestwich – or, rather, Prestwich-cum-Oldham – was a significant parish of the Salford Hundred, and the manor was associated with the de Prestwich family (naturally), and the Radcliffes, Hollands and Langleys as well. Many of the surrounding hamlets are remembered in street names in modern-day Prestwich, including Rooden Lane, Poppythorn and Polefield.

So… where to start with the history of Prestwich? I’ve decided not to try and cram in an overview of the entire history of the area. That just wouldn’t be possible on a single show! But, for some reason, my attention has been grabbed by a couple of things (and this says more about me than about Prestwich)… and so I’m going to be taking a look at Prestwich’s history of punishment! From the stocks outside the Church Inn (formerly the Ostrich Inn) to the workhouse and the asylum, I’m going to be having a look at some of the places where punishments were meted out.

In addition to this rather punitive history of Prestwich, you can also hear my review of 2084, an immersive theatre performance at Manchester Central Library (inspired by Orwell’s 1984), 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:

February 11, 2019

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf Live Poetry Special, Saturday 23 February, 2-4pm

Join me on Saturday 23rd February, 2-4pm, for a very exciting Hannah’s Bookshelf Live Poetry Special on North Manchester FM. I’ll have twelve amazing poets performing their work live from the North Manchester FM studios in Harpurhey. Check out who’s going to be on the show…

Christopher Monk

Chris writes poetry about trauma and shares it, and others’ work on the subject, on his website, The Archaeology of Trauma. He doesn’t really consider himself as a poet in any traditional sense, but rather holds the conviction that writing about personal trauma can help in the process of ‘mending’ from it.

Lindy

Formerly an award-winning playwright, Lindy has recently adopted poetry as a way to express her ideas and emotions, following her brother’s diagnosis of MS. Her poetry has been included in several anthologies and literary magazines. She is proudest of the poem, ‘Seeds’, included in Poems for Grenfell, which took her further towards performance poetry which draws on her theatre background as well as her love of language.

Bridie Breen

Bridie is an Irish born, Manchester matured poet. She loves the human condition, the good, the bad and the ugly. She writes it as it is, for the joy of getting it down.

Maggie Harris

Maggie has performed her poetry across the UK, Ireland and the Caribbean and has published 5 books of poetry. Her poetry is a blend of the Caribbean and England. Originally from Guyana, Maggie has won prizes including the Guyana Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Welsh International Poetry Prize, and her poem ‘Lit by Fire’ was commissioned by the BBC for National Poetry Day.

Randall Horton

Originally from Houston, Texas, Randall now lived in New Mills in Derbyshire where he writes poetry, walks in the hills, and facilitates the Write and Release Poetry group. He also cooks and sells vegan Tex-Mex food from time to time.

Pete Slater

Pete Slater is an accidental poet who has been writing since the tender age of 59. He’s now a lover of the spoken word and a regular at various open mic events.

Joanna Hagan-Young

Joanna is a poet, playwright and reluctant early riser. She writes about dragons, mental health and how the patriarchy can do one. If she can work out how to quit the day job and still make rent, you’ll never shut her up.

Sharena Lee Satti

Sharena Lee is the author of Testing Times, Broken Chains and Unapologetic. She is a very passionate poet from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who writes poetry about her own personal life, current environmental issues, social stigmas, homelessness, poverty and discrimination.

Jan Malique

Jan is a blogger whose work consists of prose, poetry and non-fiction. Themes covered in her work range from mysticism to the surreal, many laced with a dollop of humour.

Paul Morris

Paul Morris was a successful lawyer before becoming an author known for his meticulous research and exciting stories. His published works include YA fiction and poetry, including his chart-topping book Beyond the Morning Sun, released in support of services charity Combat Stress. He serves as a judge in the Portico Sadie Massey Awards for Young Readers and Writers and has edited several books.

Andy N

Andy N is the author of three poetry collections, the most recent being The Birth of Autumn. He also co-runs Speakeasy, Stretford’s leading poetry open mic, and runs/co-runs the podcast series Spoken Label and Reading in Bed, on top of regularly doing ambient music under the name Ocean in a Bottle.

Amanda Steel

Amanda Steel is the author of the forthcoming YA novel First Charge, which is about Meredith, a fifteen-year-old mermaid descendant with an important mission. Amanda also co-hosts the podcast Reading in Bed, and sometimes she writes under the pen name Aleesha Black.

These wonderful poets will all be performing live on the show on Saturday 23rd February, 2-4pm. You can catch the show on 106.6FM (if you’re in the North Manchester area) or listen online (if you’re further afield).

February 4, 2019

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

Join me on Saturday at 2pm on North Manchester FM for another episode of Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, my guest will be the brill Roger Foss.

Roger Foss is a former actor turned theatre critic and author. As a young actor his experience ranged from rep to summer seasons and the West End, while television work included the long-running 1960s-70s Sexton Blake children’s series, Gideon’s Way, Dixon of Dock Green, Emergency – Ward 10, The Brothers, Lift Off, Once Upon A Time and The Sooty Show. He also wrote and appeared in pantomimes at Watford, Colchester, Chesterfield and Croydon, all before obtaining an MA in Modern Drama at Essex University.

He has since written on theatre and entertainment subjects for numerous publications ranging from City Limits to The Stage. He was chief theatre critic for What’s On In London magazine and Whatsonintheatre.com, and editor of What’s On Stage magazine. He is the author of Till the Boys Come Home: How British Theatre Fought the Great War (The History Press), May The Farce Be With You (Oberon Books) and Harden’s Theatregoers’ Handbook (Harden’s). London-based for many years, he moved to Manchester seven years ago.

I’ll be talking to Roger about his career, his writing, and his new book Till the Boys Come Home on this week’s show. 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 today’s show? You can catch it again here:

February 4, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 5 February, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 for another Helping of History on North Manchester FM. This week, I’m going to be taking a look at another one of North Manchester’s ‘power families’… Meet the Chethams!

Most listeners will probably be familiar with the name Humphrey Chetham (he of the iconic library and Clayton Hall). On today’s show, I’ll be looking at another branch of the Chetham family – the Chethams of Nuthurst (in Moston). Where did the family come from? And how did they acquire the manor of Nuthurst? I’ll be introducing a bit of the family’s history – and, let’s be honest, I’ll probably be talking a bit about Humphrey as well!

This show kind of follows on from shows I’ve previously done about North Manchester’s ‘power families’ (namely, the Asshetons and the Radcliffes). If those shows are any indication, I’ll only be able to scratch the surface, but I hope this is an introduction to a fascinating bit of background to our local history.

In addition to this look at the Chetham family, I’ll also be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers on the show.

Catch A Helping of History 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:

February 2, 2019

Literary Nostalgia: Back to Y2K!

On Saturday’s Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM, I decided to indulge in a bit of literary nostalgia… looking back at a few of my favourite books published in the year 2000 (can you believe that’s nearly two decades ago?). You can listen to show again on the player at the bottom of this post, but, as promised, here’s the list of books I talked about this week.

Did I miss your favourite? Do you disagree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I was quite surprised by how much unreliable narrators, narrative twists and stories-within-stories dominated today’s reading list. Clearly 2000 was the year that cemented my love of these particular narrative features. And kicking off with The Blind Assassin really brings these to the fore. Atwood’s award-winning novel opens with Iris Chase, a woman in her 80s who has decided to write a memoir. Iris describes her childhood home, Avilion, and her younger sister Laura. We learn early on that Laura has killed herself, and Iris’s memoir is, ostensibly, intended to explain the circumstances leading to this. Iris describes how their mother died, and their dad turned to drink. And then Iris is married to businessman Richard Griffen and the women meet political activist Alex Thomas, which alters everything.

Intertwined with Iris’s memoir are sections of a novel Laura ‘left behind’ on her death, which Iris had published, creating an intense posthumous fame for her sister. The protagonists and setting of the novel are unnamed, but the story appears to reflect on an affair between Laura and Alex. And we get a story-within-a-story-within-a-story, as the protagonists tell each other tales about the shared imaginary world of Zycron, and the city of Sakiel-Norn. The eponymous ‘Blind Assassin’ appears in one of these stories, rescuing a sacrificial virgin who has had her tongue cut out. The stories come together in interesting ways, revealing the truth at the heart of Iris and Laura’s story.

Atwood’s novel won the Man Booker Prize in 2000, and the Hammett Prize in 2001.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

The next book was also a prize-winner (it seems I read a lot of a lit-fic in 2000). Chabon’s novel won him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. It tells the story of Sammy Klayman, who lives in New York City, and his cousin Josef Kavalier, who comes to live with him after escaping Nazi-occupied Prague. The two young men discover that they each have talents – Joe is artistic, while Sammy is entrepreneurial (and a bit of a storyteller) – and they go to work for Empire Novelty. The owners of this company want to recreate the success of Superman, and they realize they can use Joe and Sammy to break into the comic book business. And so, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, a superhero who fights fascism.

Chabon’s novel is a really engrossing read, as it charts the two men’s lives, loves and fears. The Escapist comes to represent much more than a comic book hero, embodying the powerful need for ‘escape’ that runs through both men’s lives. Some events in the book are based on the lives of real comic creators, including Jack Kirby (to whom the book is dedicated in its afterword), and various real-life figures make cameos in the book. But The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is more than a nostalgic homage to comics, there’s social and political commentary (on fascism, but also on sexuality, masculinity and identity) and a healthy dose of metafictional analysis too. Unsurprisingly (if you’ve read the book), there hasn’t been a film adaptation. But there have been some graphic novel ‘spin-offs’: Michael Chabon Presents the Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #1 (2004) and Brian K. Vaughan’s The Escapists (2006).

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I’ll admit I didn’t read this book in 2000. Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel was originally published in French, and the English translation (published in two volumes) came out in 2003-2004 (and I read the English version). Book 1 is set in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution, and it charts Marji’s childhood and young adulthood, offering a child’s view of the Revolution. We see Marji learn about her family’s background, which leads her to learn more about the Revolution and its impact on the country. In Book 2, Marji travels to Vienna to attend French school, and the book follows her through her education, return to Tehran, marriage and divorce.

Persepolis has a very distinctive style, not least because of its use of the graphic novel format for a political and social memoir. The artwork is black-and-white, and the book’s dialogue is conversational in tone – often at odds with the darkness of the pictures. The book has been adapted for film: the 2007 animated adaptation was co-directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, and featured the voice acting of Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Danielle Darrieux and Simon Abkarian.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

This is a book that’s had a few mentions on the show, and regular listeners will know that it’s a bit controversial in my house (I loved it, but my husband hated it). Continuing the accidental theme of today’s list, it’s also full of unreliable narrators and stories-within-stories, and like The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, it’s never really been considered adaptable. So what is House of Leaves about? Well, that’s the question…

The book begins with a first-person narrative, told by a character called Johnny Truant. Truant is searching for an apartment, and learns that a man called Zampanó has died and that his flat might be available to rent. Inside Zampanó’s apartment, Truant finds a manuscript. It’s an academic study of a documentary film called The Navidson Record – though Truant tells us that no such film ever existed. House of Leaves then becomes a series of interwoven narratives, including Truant’s story, Zampanó’s report, transcripts of sections of the film, interviews with people involved with The Navidson Record, and a series of letters (The Whalestoe Letters) from Truant’s mother.

House of Leaves is probably best known for its formal and stylistic experimentation. Presentation and layout are used in unorthodox ways to reveal and obscure the meaning of the story/stories: individual words are picked out in certain colours; text moves around the page in labyrinthine patterns; some pages bear only a single word; footnotes appear and take over from the main text. It’s a disconcerting book, which is more a reading experience than a story. I still really like it (and my husband still really doesn’t).

Baudolino by Umberto Eco

This is another book I didn’t read in 2000. Eco’s novel was first published in Italian, and the English translation by William Weaver (who translated much of Eco’s fiction) was published in 2002. Eco’s The Name of the Rose has had quite a few mentions on the show, so it was good to give a bit of attention to Baudolino, which (in some ways) I like even better than the earlier novel.

And we have another unreliable narrator – though in this case, he’s deliberately and openly so. The book begins in 1204, during the Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. Baudolino of Alessandria has arrived during the carnage, and saves the life of Niketas Choniates. He then begins to tell Niketas his life story, beginning in 1155 when, as an educated Italian peasant boy, he is sold into the court of Frederick I. Baudolino’s story takes on the character of a tall tale, as he describes journeying to Paris to become a scholar, meeting the Archpoet, Abdul, Robert de Boron and Kyot, and learning about mythical Christian king Prester John. Baudolino and his band undertake a quest to find Prester John, meeting unicorns, Blemmyes, skiapods, pygmies, and other fanciful creatures – as well as some pretty dangerous human ones.

Though it has its dark moments, Baudolino is more light-hearted than Name of the Rose. It’s a story about stories – the way they’re told, the things they mean – and the relationship between stories and lies.

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

And now for something completely different…

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic is the first in Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. It was published as Confessions of a Shopaholic in the US, and this title has become slightly better known (on both sides of the Atlantic).

Kinsella’s novel introduces us to Becky Bloomwood, an insecure financial journalist who is deeply in debt (and, to be fair, knows very little about the financial world). Becky just can’t stop buying stuff, calling everything she wants a ‘necessity’ or an ‘investment’. She is chided by her parents and pursued by her bank manager as a result. At a press conference, Becky is narrowly saved from making a fool of herself by Luke Brandon, who helps her cover up her lack of knowledge. Will Becky and Luke’s acquaintance become something deeper? Will Becky admit she has a problem and address her overspending? Will the bank manager finally catch up with her? These are the questions that kept readers turning the pages of Kinsella’s chick-lit best-seller. (And, I guess, it’s appropriate to end a show full of unreliable narrators with a character who isn’t so much lying to the reader, as lying to herself.)

Kinsella followed this first books with seven more: Shopaholic Abroad (2001); Shopaholic Ties the Knot (2002); Shopaholic and Sister (2004); Shopaholic and Baby (2007); Mini Shopaholic (2010); Shopaholic to the Stars (2014); Shopaholic to the Rescue (2015). The first book (with a bit taken from the second) was adapted into a film in 2009, and it starred Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

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

January 29, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 29 January, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 on North Manchester FM for another Helping of History. This week, I’ll be sharing Three Tales of Old Collyhurst.

Following in the footsteps of my Cheetham and CrumpsallThree Tales‘ shows, I’ve found three little stories from Victorian and Edwardian Collyhurst. These are not the sort of stories that make it into the history books, but instead give a little slice of life. Expect a notorious murder, a dodgy elopement and some unwholesome houses. (If I get time, there might be an extra little story about a horrible dog too!)

In addition to my three Collyhurst stories, 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:

January 23, 2019

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 26 January, 2-4pm

Join me on Saturday at 2pm on North Manchester FM for another episode of Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, my guest will be the wonderful Ra Page of Comma Press.

Comma Press is a not-for-profit publishing initiative dedicated to promoting new writing, with an emphasis on the short story and literature in translation. It is committed to a spirit of risk-taking and challenging publishing free of the commercial pressures on mainstream houses. In 2016, Comma founded the Northern Fiction Alliance, a radical publishing collective devised to showcase the creativity, diversity and spirit of risk-taking that sets publishers in the North of England apart.

Ra is the founder and Editorial Manager of Comma Press. He’s the editor of numerous anthologies, including The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories (Penguin, 1999), co-editor of The New Uncanny (winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, 2008) and Litmus, voted one of 2011’s books of the year by The Observer. Between 2004 and 2013 he was also the coordinator of Literature Northwest, a support agency for independent publishers in the region (until it formally merged with Comma).

I’ll be talking to Ra about Comma, including all the great things we can look forward to from them in 2019. 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:

January 20, 2019

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 22 January, 12-2pm

Join me on Tuesday at 12 for another Helping of History on North Manchester FM. This week, I’ll be talking about Broughton House (just over the border into Salford). I’ll be joined in the studio by Owen Hammond, who works in the military museum at Broughton House (as well as volunteering as a befriender).

Broughton House was founded as a hospital for soldiers in 1917, by William Coates (later Colonel Sir William Coates). In the summer of 1916, hospitals across the North West were struggling to cope with the influx of casualties of WWI. Coates had been organising hospitals across the North West since the war began and saw there was a crisis at hand. He found accommodation – an old villa near Manchester (large enough to accommodate 40-50 beds) – and formed a charity along with the Mayor of Manchester and the Earl of Derby to fundraise. Broughton House was ready to receive its first patient in May 1917, and it continues to offer care to veterans to this day.

I’ll be talking to Owen about the history of Broughton House, its military museum, and the ambitious plans for its future.

In addition to this, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers. And – in the second hour of the show – I’ll be sharing an exciting announcement about one of North Manchester’s iconic (but somewhat dilapidated) buildings. Find out more on Tuesday!

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: