Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

Hannah’s Bookshelf: Round-Up of 2017

2017 has been a really fun year for Hannah’s Bookshelf, with loads of fantastic interview guests. I’ve welcomed both fiction and non-fiction writers, from North Manchester and (far) beyond. I’ve also played some fabulous original fiction, and been completely creeped out presenting a Halloween Special in a pitch-black studio! Big thanks to North Manchester FM for continuing to let me haunt the airwaves and to my lovely husband Rob Shedwick (aka Digital Front) for being my unofficial producer on the show.

Here’s a reminder of all the brilliant people I got to speak to this year…

January kicked off with me welcoming the winner of 2016’s 3 Minute ScaresIan Peek – to the show to talk about his work and his winning short story. Later in the month, I also spoke to Benjamin Cassidy, one of the 3 Minute Scares runners-up. As well as this, I interviewed Joel Cornah – creator of the Miliverse Twitter account – and the lovely Alrene Hughes.

As well as my regular shows, I was one of the presenters on North Manchester FM’s first outside broadcast of the year. On 20th January, we broadcast live from the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival, where I got to do some really interesting interviews. You can hear my highlights of the festival here.

In February, I welcomed Jamie Ryder to the show, and did my first transatlantic interview of the year – talking to Brian C. Baer about He-Man. I also interviewed the fab Lee Harrison, and invited Andrew Simpson and Peter Topping (who I’d interviewed briefly at the Beer and Cider Festival in January) to come and do a full show.

March began with a really exciting interview – I got to chat to the wonderful Hugh Fraser about his novels, Poirot and writing the Rainbow theme tune. And the month carried on in a similarly exciting vein… I talked stand-up comedy and sketch shows with Kiri Pritchard-McLean, and off-beat fiction (from both sides of the Atlantic) with Jan Flynn and Andrew Hook.

On 8th March, presenters from North Manchester FM teamed up with our sister station ALL FM for an International Women’s Day broadcast live from Manchester town hall. We had excellent guests and music throughout the day – you can hear a selection of my interviews here.

In April, I spoke to medievalist Grace Timperley and then fiction writer Joyce Chng (my first Singapore interview!). And I attempted to avoid being a complete fangirl when I spoke to Peter May. Later in the month, I spoke to local writers Alisha Loco, a very talented young poet, raising awareness of mental health issues through her work, and Gareth Sully and Krystian Kowalczuk, creators of the Boggarts of Boggart Hole Clough children’s books.

This month, I had two UK interviews – with Gareth Powell and Jo Thomas – and one transatlantic chat – with the lovely J.M. Sullivan. I wrapped up the month with the first Special Edition of 2017, a show devoted to my favourite books of 1991 (why 1991? well, you’d have to listen to the show to find that out!). You can find out more about the books I chose in this blog post.

I began June with another special edition – this time all about my favourite castles in literature. You can read which books I chose for the show in this blog post. Next up was an interview with Paul Morris, followed by one with Keith Hoare. I wrapped up the month welcoming Sara Read back to the show (Sara was first on back in April 2016). This time, Sara and I were joined via phone by Jennifer Evans to talk about early modern medicine.

My next interview was with the fab A.K. McAllister (aka Al Keogh), whose book Colourquest was just about to be staged as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe. Then I had a couple more Special Editions. I talked about my favourite fictional schools on the 8th (and you can see which ones I chose in this blog post), and then a selection of books set in parks (check out this blog post for the list) on the 22nd. I ended the month with an interview with Karen Woods, who was in the middle of rehearsals as she prepared to get her book Black Tears ready for the stage.

August began with a rare repeat show (my interview with Hugh Fraser from March). The first live show of the month was a Special Edition all about my favourite fictional sports (in honour of the North Manchester Games). You can see which books made my list in this blog post. The second half of the month saw interviews with two wonderful fiction writers: R.J. Barker and Lucy Hounsom.

And there were yet more fabulous guests in September! I talked ghost stories with Dara Downey, musicology with Irene Soldatos, and philosophy of language with Sara Uckelman. I also dipped into a retelling of an Icelandic saga with Tony Williams, and contemporary folktales with Adrian Farrel.

This month was very exciting – not least because of Halloween! I started off with another Special Edition, about my favourite bee-themed literature this time. You can see the books I chose in this blog post. Next up, it was an interview with Caroline England, and then I welcomed Shona Kinsella to the show. The final Hannah’s Bookshelf of October was my Halloween Special. Like last year, this show featured the winners of the 3 Minute Scares competition, with Fiona Cullen taking the title of Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith 2017! And, as always, I dressed up appropriately for the show.

October was also exciting because I began a new show on North Manchester FM. On the 10th October, A Helping of History was launched. It’s a local history show, all about the stories, buildings and characters that have shaped the place we live. In the first show, I talked about Boggart Hole Clough and Emmeline Pankhurst. Other shows in October discussed the Delaunays and the Borelles (of Crumpsall and Blackley’s dyeworks), and the Schwabes of Crumpsall. I ended the month with a Halloween Special, telling some of the spooky stories of North Manchester.

This month, I welcomed Paul Morris back to the show (I originally interviewed him in June). This time he was joined by Macey Wareing and Emily Graham, two of the winners of this year’s Portico Library’s Sadie Massey Awards. Next, I interviewed Inés Gregori Labarta and Harriet Goodchild, before wrapping up November with Ceri Houlbrook.

On A Helping of History, I interviewed Hopwood DePree about his work to save Middleton’s Hopwood Hall. In other shows, I talked about ‘Two Gun’ Cohen (whose grave can be found in Blackley Jewish Cemetery), Crumpsall Hall, and Ashton Lever (of Alkrington Hall).

Just one interview in December, but it was great! I spoke to Chris Neilan about screenwriting, comedy and novels. The next show was a December (and snow)-themed special: I talked about my favourite ghost stories. You can see the books I featured in this blog post. My next show was a pre-Christmas Special, featuring festive flash fiction submitted for the first ever 3 Minute Santas (modelled on my 3 Minutes Scares competition, but just for fun). And then, on Christmas Eve-Eve, it was the Hannah’s Bookshelf Christmas Special. As is now tradition, I talked about a selection of my favourite festive books. You can see the books on this year’s list in this blog post.

And there were four Helpings of History this month as well. December began with a live show from Harpurhey Market, in which I talked about the history of the area and the lost village of Gotherswick. In other shows, I interviewed Martin Gittins about the Cheetham and Crumpsall Heritage Society, and talked about Failsworth’s favourite son, Ben Brierley. On Boxing Day, it was the Helping of History Christmas Special, when I shared some stories of Christmases past from North Manchester residents.

I’ve just got one show left this year, and I hope you’ll tune in…

Coming up at 2pm on New Year’s Eve-Eve, I’m doing my end-of-year show. Tune in for some of my personal highlights, including a selection of the books saved in The Library at the End of Days. 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!


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