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Jane Labous Past Participle Interview

Listen to an interview with Jane Labous and hear her reading from her new novel, Past Participle, published by Afsana Press.

Dakar, Senegal, 1987: On a rainy night after a wild party, the British ambassador’s wife, Vivienne Hughes, is involve in a car crash. Her vehicle hits the motorbike of a young Senegalese doctor, Aimé Tunkara, killing him. Pleading diplomatic immunity, Vivienne and her husband flee to England.

Three decades later, Aimé’s little sister, Lily Tunkara, now a high-flying lawyer in Dakar, finds a photograph that compels her to investigate what really happened that rainy night. As Lily faces increasing hostility from the local community, she turns to Vivienne Hughes, the only remaining witness, but is either woman prepared for the truth to emerge?

Past Participle is the story of two women bound together by the faultlines of the past, a study of love and guilt, power and desire, retribution and forgiveness.

Jane Labous is an award-winning author, BBC journalist and broadcaster known for her frontline coverage of human rights and gender issues, always telling the powerful human stories behind the headlines.

Jane read English & French at Jesus College, Oxford, before working for the UK and international press and INGOs, most often out of Dakar, Senegal. This while developing her creative art as a writer, filmmaker and novelist, drawing on her insider knowledge of the aid sector and foreign journalism, and her unique experience of both expat and local family life in Ngor, Dakar.

Jane’s credits span a vista of international outlets, including The IndependentVoice of AmericaGeographicalThe LA Times, BBC Africa and BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. She has also worked as a writer and filmmaker for aid/humanitarian agencies including the UN, the World Health Organisation, Save The Children, and Amnesty International. She has won the BBC Radio 4 and Royal Geographical Society Documentary Award, the Merck More than a Mother Media Recognition & Film Award for Francophone African Countries, and a European Journalism Centre Development Reporting Grant.

Her fiction has been longlisted for the Bath Novel Prize and the Santa Fé Writers’ Project Literary Award.

This episode was produced by Tabitha Potts, writer and podcaster. She recently received an Honourable Mention in the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University and a First in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. Read her short story collection here or visit her website.

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination interview with Matthew Sangster and Tanya Kirk of the British Library

Tabitha Potts and Martin Nathan interview the lead curator and guest curator of the British Library’s blockbuster exhibition, Fantasy: Realms of Imagination, Tanya Kirk and Matthew Sangster. The exhibition runs until 25th February 2024 and tickets can be booked here.

The exhibition has been critically acclaimed with a five star review in The Telegraph, ‘a visually captivating treat’, and has been featured in The Guardian, The I Newspaper, Apollo Magazine and BBC Radio 4: Front Row to name a few.

We interviewed both curators about the process of assembling an exhibition featuring over 100 objects that spans the breadth of a genre as varied as Fantasy, from its roots in epics and mythology to contemporary writers like Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke.

Tanya Kirk, Lead Curator, Printed Heritage Collections 1601-1900, has worked at the British Library for 16 years, currently as the leading expert on 300 years of the Library’s printed collections. She has curated six major exhibitions on topics including Gothic fiction, Shakespeare in performance, the British landscape in literature, science fiction and most recently, Fantasy: Realms of Imagination. She is the editor of four Christmas-themed collections of short stories in the British Library’s Tales of the Weird series. With Matthew, she co-edited Realms of Imagination: Essays from the Wide Worlds of Fantasy (2023).

Matthew Sangster joined the University of Glasgow in 2016 and was promoted to Professor of Romantic Studies, Fantasy and Cultural History in 2022. Prior to that Matthew worked at the British Library cataloguing the archive of the Royal Literary Fund and contributing to the exhibitions The Worlds of Mervyn Peake in 2011 and Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands in 2012. Matthew is the author of Living as an Author in the Romantic Period (2021) and An Introduction to Fantasy (2023); co-director of Glasgow’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic (with Dimitra Fimi); and a founding co-editor (with Brian Attebery and Dimitra Fimi) of the Bloomsbury Perspectives on Fantasy series.

This episode was produced by Martin Nathan. Martin Nathan’s short fiction and poetry has appeared in a range of journals and his novel – A Place of Safety is published by Salt Publishing. His dramatic writing has been shortlisted for the Nick Darke award and the Woodward International Prize.

Episode cover image adapted from Carceri Etchings, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, (17501761) © British Library Board 

The Watchers by Kae Hart

A young woman watches over her little sister in a polluted dystopian world where her scientific knowledge is her only weapon.

The story was written by Kae Hart. Kae is a university student who learned to speak by telling stories to everyone who would listen. The cashier at the local grocery store was her first fan. Since then, she has written stories, poems, and novels, and hopes to continue to do so.

This episode was produced by Tabitha Potts, writer and podcaster. She recently received an Honourable Mention in the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University and a First in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. Read her short story collection here or visit her website.

The photo used is by Kvaale at

S: Beautiful Romantic Piano by UNIVERSFIELD | License: Attribution 4.0

Dust and Oranges by Nicholas Batura

This Halloween, rather than encountering ghosts and ghouls, we explore the horrors of war. A little girl sneaks out of her family home to buy a birthday gift for her mother, a decision that changes her life forever.

Nicholas Batura lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, with his rad wife and their rescue pit bulls. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the jiu jitsu mats, or working through the secrets found in a bottle of wine.

This episode was produced by Tabitha Potts.

Photo by pawankawan at

S: Beautiful Romantic Piano by UNIVERSFIELD | License: Attribution 4.0

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