Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

June 4, 2018

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

Tune in to North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm for more from Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, I’m welcoming the lovely Caroline England to the studio. You may remember that Caroline was first on the show back in October, talking about her debut novel Beneath the Skin.

Born a Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border, working in the city centre as a divorce lawyer. In addition to her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses, Caroline has had dark twisty short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Caroline draws on her legal career to write about secrets, betrayal and lies, hidden crime and ‘what goes on behind closed doors’. Her debut ‘domestic noir’ novel, Beneath the Skin, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017 and My Husband’s Lies followed on 17th May 2018.

I’ll be catching up with Caroline, and finding out all about My Husband’s Lies.

But there’s more… as bonus content on this week’s show, I also have two fantastic extra interviews for you.

I caught up with the amazing Yrsa Daley-Ward, whose poetic memoir The Terrible has just been published by Penguin Random House. Poet, writer, actor and model, Yrsa had her debut poetry collection, bone, published last year. She’s followed that up with The Terrible, a lyrical memoir of growing up, faith, race, sexuality and mental health. I chaired the Manchester date of Yrsa’s book tour at Waterstones on Deansgate, and we took the opportunity to record an interview for the show.

I’ll also be talking to the great people at Salford Arts Theatre about their new production of Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice, which is on until 23rd June. Set in Salford in the 1880s, Hobson’s Choice is the story of shoemaker Henry Hobson, and his put-upon (but sharp as a whip) daughter Maggie. This new production is staged by Salford Theatre Company, the Arts Theatre’s inhouse professional company. I went to chat with them ahead of the press performance to find out more.

To hear all three of these interviews, 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:

June 1, 2018

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

Tune in to North Manchester FM on Tuesday at 12 for another Helping of History. This week, I have two fantastic interviews for you…

I’ll be welcoming back Alan Clegg, who was on the show last week talking about Middleton’s John Stocke Charity. This week, I’ll be chatting to Alan about the magazine Memories of Middleton, which is all about the local and social history of the area. Alan will be telling us about how the magazine came about, but also some of the great stories that have featured over the years.

My second interview is with Will Carr of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Will is the editor of The Ink Trade, a new collection of journalism by Anthony Burgess (Harpurhey’s famous literary son), which was launched on 30th May at the Burgess Foundation’s building in Chorlton-on-Medlock. I caught up with Will before the launch to find out more about the book, and about Burgess’s North Manchester roots.

As well as these two wonderful interviews, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers. And you can pit your wits against the Who Am I? quiz – just how well do you know North Manchester’s iconic buildings.

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 listen again here:

May 27, 2018

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 2 June, 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 fantastic Barbara Angela Kealy.

Barbara is the author of Double Deception, a crime thriller set in the world of celebrity lookalikes. Born in London, Barbara attended the local dance school at an early age, before moving to America as an au pair. After working in New York for a time, she returned to London and joined the Lissenden Players, an old-time music hall group in North London. Shortly after forwarding her portfolio to a prestigious agency, Barbara became a lookalike for the iconic Joan Collins, travelling around the United Kingdom and Europe in her exiciting new show business career. This experience inspired her first novel, Double Deception, which draws on the entertaining stories and fascinating experiences Barbara found in the ‘copycat’ world of lookalikes.

I’ll be talking to Barbara about her novel, and about her intriguing career as ‘Joan Collins’. And, of course, she’ll be sharing her selections for this week’s Apocalypse Books.

Tune in 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:

May 27, 2018

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

Tune in to North Manchester FM on Tuesday at 12 for another Helping of History! This week’s show includes an interview with Alan Clegg, a trustee of Middleton’s John Stocke’s Charity.

Founded in 1692 by John Stocke, a merchant from Middleton, the charity is one of the UK’s oldest charities. It was set up to help the poor of the parish, and has been in continuous operation since its foundation. Alan is one of twelve trustees who ensure the charity’s continuous work, and we’ll be talking about the charity, but also about John Stocke himself.

As well as this, I’ll be taking my usual look through Yesterday’s Papers. And you can pit your wits against the Who Am I? quiz – just how well do you know North Manchester’s landmark buildings?

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 listen again here:

May 20, 2018

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

Catch Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm. This week, my guest will be the wonderful Sharena Lee Satti.

Sharena is a poet from Bradford, West Yorkshire. She is the author of Testing Times and Broken Chains.

Sharena started writing poetry at a young age, which initially helped deal with her troubled childhood. Poetry later became a huge part of her life. She regularly performs at spoken words events, and in involved with community volunteering and work in schools. She has been interviewed by several radio stations, including BCB Radio, Drystone Radio and 5towns Radio, and she was filmed for National Poetry Day, in association with Bradford UNESCO City of Film and Bradford Libraries. Most recently, she was a guest on Sisters Corner Iqra Sky TV.

I’ll be talking to Sharena about poetry, writing and her community work. And, of course, she’ll be sharing her selections for this week’s Apocalypse Books.

Tune in 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:

May 20, 2018

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

Tune in to North Manchester FM on Tuesday at 12 for another Helping of History. This week, I’ll be talking to the Rochdale Pioneers Museum about the history of the co-operative movement and the museum’s activities.

The Rochdale Pioneers Museum exists to preserve the original store of the Rochdale Pioneers and to generate an understanding of the ideals and principles of the co-operative movement. The museum aims to preserve and maintain the store building and collections relating to the Rochdale Pioneers and the co-operative movement in general, and to provide an educational experience for visitors that includes the origins and development of the Rochdale Pioneers Society in the context of 19th century Rochdale. The museum is managed for the co-operative movement by the Co-operative College.

In addition to my interview with the museum, I’ll also be taking our usual look through Yesterday’s Papers, and you can pit your wits against the Who Am I? quiz – just how well do you know North Manchester’s landmark buildings?

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 listen again here:

May 18, 2018

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 19 May, 2-4pm

Tune in to Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM on Saturday at 2pm, when I’ll be welcoming the brill Gordon Zola back to the studio. (You may remember that Gordon was one of the performers on my Live Poetry Special in March.

Over twenty years ago, Gordon emerged from the wreckage of a life that had run aground on the rocks of love’s clichés, to begin a meteoric rise from oblivion to obscurity as a comedian/performance poet. Armed with only a smile, a good cheese guide and an unlimited supply of puns, he took the comedy/poetry world by storm – well, a slight shower – and went on to inflict his debut CD No Strings, a beguiling mix of poetry, music and humour, on the long suffering British public. A track off the CD, ‘Sweet Rapper’, was played on Key 103 radio. Despite many requests, local (as in anaesthetic) legend Gordon continues to confuse audiences from Bordeaux to Bristol, and lots of other places beginning with ‘B’ with his rye (as in bread) sense of humour.

He’s currently on the verge of bringing out his first poetry collection The Wheelie Bin Years, performing with BARD Company – a socialist, satirical quartet – and the Wild Words Collective. He’s still struggling to play the keyboard, hosting Cuckoo Calling and is at home performing, hosting, and entertaining at venues all over England, lesser-known parts of Uzbekistan, and Stockport.

I’ll be talking to Gordon about poetry, comedy and probably cheese, and he’ll be sharing some more of his words with us. And, of course, he’ll be telling us 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 listen again here:

May 15, 2018

North Manchester FM: A Helping of History, Tuesday 15 May, 12-2pm

Tune in at 12 on Tuesday for another Helping of History on North Manchester FM. This week, I’m going to be talking about Blackley’s Litchford Hall.

For some time now, Litchford Hall has been better known as the Convent of the Good Shepherd at Blackley. I’ll be tracing its history from its origins as a country mansion in the seventeenth century, through the story of Miss Alsop’s School and Blackley National School, to the hall’s existence as a reformatory, convent and laundry. It’s an incomplete story today – there’s much about Litchford Hall still to be pieced together – so I’ll be asking listeners to join the conversation and share their knowledge about this bit of Blackley’s history.

In addition, I’ll be reading Yesterday’s Papers on the show. And, as always, you can pit your wits against the Who Am I? quiz – just how well do you know North Manchester’s iconic buildings?

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:

May 9, 2018

North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 12 May, 2-4pm

Tune in to North Manchester FM on Saturday for another episode of Hannah’s Bookshelf. This week, I’ll be welcoming Randall Horton back to the show. You may remember Randall from my Live Poetry Special back in March.

Randall lives, writes, and walks in New Mills in Derbyshire. He began writing poetry after he retired from teaching philosophy at San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas and moved to England in 2016. He holds a PhD in medical humanities from the University of Texas Medical Branch with an emphasis on medical ethics. He has conducted workshops and delivered presentations on medical ethics, ethics related to psychotherapy, and environmental ethics. He has published essays on the Huffington Post and Good Men Project platforms as well as his own blog on EthicsBeyondCompliance.com. He recently had two poems published in the anthology, Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, which was edited by Isabelle Kenyon to benefit the mental health charity Mind.

Randall also facilitates the Write and Release poetry group in New Mills.

I’ll be talking to Randall about his poetry and essays, and about Write and Release. 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:

May 9, 2018

Pleased to Meet You: Some Mysterious Strangers in Fiction

On this week’s Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM, I talked about some of my favourite ‘mysterious strangers’ in fiction. You know the sort of character I mean… a shadowy stranger who arrives to tempt the protagonist and seems worryingly (alluringly?) familiar. Inspired by a novel I read recently, I thought it would be good to gather up some of these mystery men for this week’s show.

You can listen to the show on the player below. But, as promised, here is the list of books featured. If I’ve missed any of your favourites, let me know in the comments.

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2008)

The Angel’s Game (El juego del ángel) is the prequel to Zafón’s 2001 novel The Shadow of the Wind, and like the earlier book it was translated into English by Lucia Graves. The book includes reference to a couple of settings and characters from The Shadow of the Wind, but it also works as a standalone novel if you haven’t read the earlier work.

The book is set in Barcelona in the 1920s and 30s, and tells the story of David Martín, a troubled young man who works for a newspaper after the death of his father. As he attempts to develop his burgeoning literary career, David writes penny dreadful-style serial fiction (the Mysteries of Barcelona) under another name. And then… he gets a letter from a strange French publisher named Andreas Corelli. David ignores the note and continues to try to make it as a novelist. He moves into a mysterious tower house and becomes preoccupied by the fate of its previous occupant, but Andreas Corelli isn’t done with him yet. He has a proposal to make to the aspiring writer that is almost too good to be true…

Zafón followed the book with The Prisoner of Heaven (2011), which was a direct sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, and then The Labyrinth of Spirits, both of which return to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and Sempere and Sons Bookshop, two places that play an important part of the first two books.

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (1984)

In the Rhode Island town of Eastwick, in the 1960s, three women, Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart and Sukie Rougemont, have lost their husbands and developed new powers. They are witches – and not the nature-loving white witch healer kind either. They stick pins in wax dolls, seduce married men, and play nasty pranks on their neighbours. Enter Darryl Van Horne, a dark (but not particularly handsome) stranger, who seduces them all all and increases their powers. When Darryl ‘leaves’ them for a younger woman, the witches of Eastwick use their powers to get some nasty revenge.

Updike’s novel is not a parable of female empowerment or sisterhood, but a rather scathing critique of liberalism and the ‘free love’ world of the 60s. Nowadays, it’s probably best known from the 1987 film adaptation, which starred Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson (and which toned down a lot of the women’s nastiness). Updike wrote a sequel to his novel in 2008, which was called The Widows of Eastwick, and which picked up the women’s story years later.

The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain (1916)

This is the book that gave me the name for today’s theme, but it’s a difficult one to talk about. In fact, it isn’t really one book at all. Twain attempted to write this story on a number of occasions, and it was still unfinished and unpublished when he died. The version closest to being complete (in that it has an ending of sorts) was the one known as No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger. Set in 1490, this version tells of a stranger named only No. 44, who arrives at the door of an Austrian print shop and proceeds to use his powers to reveal the futility of humanity to the print shop workers.

However, the version that’s probably best known now is the composite text published (and, arguably, created) by Albert Bigelow Paine after Twain’s death. Paine claimed to have found this complete version amongst Twain’s papers, but it has since been argued that Paine combined the ending of No. 44 with a heavily edited version of another unfinished text, The Chronicle of Young Satan, to create The Mysterious Stranger. In the published version, set in 1590 in an Austrian village, three boys meet a handsome young stranger who goes by the name of Satan, who performs magic tricks and fortune-telling before revealing the ‘truth’ about their reality.

My first encounter with The Mysterious Stranger wasn’t from the published novel, though. I first came across the story as a (very dark and a little disturbing) section of the 1985 claymation film, Comet Quest (called The Adventures of Mark Twain in the USA).

Needful Things by Stephen King (1991)

Where would a Hannah’s Bookshelf list be without a mention of Stephen King? There are a couple of King novels that fit my theme today, but I decided to go with Needful Things, as it is probably the one that fits best. Needful Things is set in King’s fictional Maine town of Castle Rock – it was marketed as the last Castle Rock story, though King has since published at least one short story set there. The title refers to the name of a shop opened by mysterious stranger Leland Gaunt, a shop which always has everything in stock and on sale at a low price (or is it…?) Leland Gaunt can get hold of anything a person needs, and all he asks in return is that they play a prank on one of their neighbours.

Sheriff Pangborn becomes suspicious when some of the pranks lead to violence, and things threaten to escalate. Gaunt’s assistant Ace Merrill, who is lured to work at the shop with the promise of high quality cocaine, also begins to suspect his boss has more nefarious plans in mind. But just who is Leland Gaunt? and what does he want with the people of Castle Rock?

Needful Things was adapted into a film in 1993, starring Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia and J.T. Walsh, but it’s not one of the better-known King adaptations. The book is a definite recommendation though.

Passion by Lauren Kate (2011)

Passion is the third book in Kate’s Fallen series of YA novels, which follows the adventures of Lucinda Price and her relationship with a fallen angel named Daniel. Luce and Daniel met at the Sword and Cross Reform School in the first novel (Fallen, 2009), and Luce began to find out about her mysterious new lover’s identity. In the second book (Torment, 2010), Luce discovers that she has been repeatedly reincarnated throughout history, as Daniel is cursed to meet her, fall in love and then lose her. Added to this, various groups of fallen angels, demons and Nephilim (the offspring of humans and angels) are very interested in Luce, and she is beset on all sides by people she can’t quite trust.

By the end of Torment, Luce has decided to use a type of angelic portal to travel through time. Passion sees her moving through her past lives, finding out more about the long history of heartbreak she shares with Daniel. However, she isn’t safe. Angels and demons are out to capture or kill her, and she’s being chased through time by Daniel himself, who is desperate to ensure she doesn’t accidentally change history and erase her very existence. Enter Bill, a very helpful gargoyle who offers to help Luce in her quest for understanding. Bill explains many things to Luce, including quite a lot about her soul…

Passion was followed in the series by Rapture (2012) and Unforgiven (2015).

The Descent by Jeff Long (1999)

The final book on today’s list is a slightly different take on the theme. This time, the characters are a bit more proactive – instead of waiting for a mysterious stranger to show up, they actively go out to search for him. Long’s novel begins with a group of trekkers in Nepal getting stuck in a cave during a blizzard. They find the mummified body of a WWII RAF pilot – which is covered with strange tattoos – but can see no obvious way of the pilot’s body having got to that particular cave. They discover (from a diagram tattooed on the pilot’s body) that the cave is connected to a much larger network, which they decide to explore. But they aren’t alone in the caves…

Jump forward several years: Elias Branch is investigating a mass grave in Bosnia. After a plane crash, his navigator is tormented by an unseen enemy, and Branch believes it has something to do with the local cave network. This begins the intertwining of two main storylines. One follows a military operation to explore (and conquer) the ‘sub-planet’ and its inhabitants, a group of troglofauna-like hominids that are named Homo hadalis (or Hadals) by the humans. The other storyline follows a group of scholars named the Beowulf Circle, who are convinced the Hadals hold the key to human myths of Hell, devils… and Satan himself.

The book isn’t officially connected to the 2005 horror film of the same name, though there are undoubtedly similarities. While the film Descent doesn’t include any of the elements of the military operation or the scholarly search for Satan, many readers have viewed it as a loose adaptation of the book’s opening chapter. I’m not completely convinced, but you’ll have to read the book (and watch the film) to make up your own mind!

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