Posted in: Season 3

Anne by Kristin Burniston

Eleven-and-a-half months ago, Mary didn’t know she had sisters. Now, at her home in Hove on England’s South Coast, they meet to scatter their mother Anne’s ashes.

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This episode was written, directed, and produced by Kristin Burniston.

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Kristin is a graduate of the MA Screenwriting program at the University of Arts London. In 2023, her short film scripts TREE and HAIRY MARY were selected by the City of Angels Film Festival, WOFFF (where HAIRY MARY placed 2nd), and Best-Script, London.

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Recently, Kristin‘s script EGGS was made into a short film and will soon be released on to the festival circuit. Currently, Kristin is working on a London-based children’s animation, a crime fiction TV series, and a feature film script based on her menopausal rite-of-passage novel.

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ANNE was published in 2022 in Brighton and Beyond: A West Hill Writers Anthology under the pseudonym “Maggie Winters”.

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Mary read by Elly Tipping

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María read by Iniki Mariano

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Marguerite read by Florentia Antoniou

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Lucas and Joe read by Theo Greenwood

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Photo by Richard Burniston

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Written, read and produced by Kristin Burniston

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Sound recording by Holywell Studio

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Sound design by Christopher Nathan

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Post-production and mixing by Duncan Illing

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Executive Producer – H Howard

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As there are swearwords in this episode, we have rated it as Explicit.

Posted in: Season 3

Interview with Miki Lentin about Winter Sun

Martin Nathan and Tabitha Potts interview writer Miki Lentin about his new novel Winter Sun, published by Afsana Press in 2024.

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A nine-day winter break in Tenerife. Nothing is quite good enough. A son tries in vain to ask his ailing, elderly Irish Jewish father questions about their past before it is too late. The absurdity and hilarity of family holidays in the sun are brought to life in this sharp and fiercely honest novel that crosses borders, carrying the reader on a ride of childhood pain, a search for identity, and growth.

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Miki talks about auto-fiction, package holidays, memory and meals in this fascinating interview.

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Miki Lentin took up writing while travelling the world with his family a few years ago.

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Miki completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck in 2020, and was a finalist in the 2020 Irish Novel Fair for his first book, Winter Sun.

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Miki has been placed highly in competitions including Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize, Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Award, and Leicester Writes, and has been published in Litro, Storgy, Story Radio, MIR amongst others.

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In 2022 he brought out a collection of short stories with Afsana Press, Inner Core, that cover death, anxiety, masculinity, family and children and social good. The book was called ‘consistently enthralling… funny, moving and disturbing in equal measure’ by Francis Gilbert, author of I’m a Teacher Get Me Out of Here.

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Miki volunteers with refugee charity Breaking Barriers and with foodKIND in Greece, and dreams of one day running a café again. 

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Martin Nathan produced this episode.

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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.

Posted in: Season 3
Seaside photo

Outing by Simon Roberts

A student goes on a day trip to the seaside with his mum, and ends up learning a great deal more about himself – and her.

This story was written and read by Simon Roberts. Simon Roberts is currently based in West London and writes short stories and flash fiction. He was longlisted for the 2022 Fish Short Story Prize. He has read his work on Riverside Radio, London’s largest community radio station. Simon also writes for the theatre; his adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s 1947 novel The Slaves of Solitude will be produced by the Questors Theatre in 2024.

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.

Photo by Tabitha Potts.

Seaside sounds used in the recording were courtesy of Yarmonics on Freesound.org.

This episode contains some sexual swearwords so has been marked as explicit.

Posted in: Season 3
Image of book cover Past Participle by Jane Labous

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.

Posted in: Season 3
Piranesi etching showing human figures in an architectural setting with the words nterview with the curators of fantasy realms of imagination at the British library

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 

Posted in: Season 3
Photo of a wolf standing in woodland by Kvaale at Morguefile..com.

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 Morguefile..com.

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

Posted in: Season 3
Image showing an orange cart

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 Morguefile.com

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

Posted in: Season 3

Dirty Chicken and Rice by Simon Roberts

In this darkly comic and moving story, two young flatmates prepare and eat their favourite comfort food, dirty chicken and rice, at a time when there isn’t much comfort to be had.

Simon Roberts is currently based in West London and writes short stories and flash fiction. He was longlisted for the 2022 Fish Short Story Prize. He has read his work on Riverside Radio, London’s largest community radio station. Simon also writes for the theatre; his adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s 1947 novel The Slaves of Solitude will be produced by the Questors Theatre in 2024.

Photo Credit: Jerry Pank Cookipedia.co.uk

Copyright: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Posted in: Interviews Season 3

The Book of Beginnings: interview with Sally Page

The Story Radio team interview Sally Page, best-selling author of The Keeper of Stories, whose new novel The Book of Beginnings has just been published by HarperCollins. We talk to her about stationery, fountain pens, romance and ghosts.

The Book of Beginnings tells the story of Jo, who is hiding from her past when she agrees to run her uncle’s beloved stationery shop.

Glimpsing the lives of her customers between the warm wooden shelves, as they scribble little notes and browse colourful notebooks, distracts her from her bruised heart.

When she meets Ruth, a vicar running from a secret, and Malcolm, a septuagenarian still finding himself, she suddenly realizes she isn’t alone.

They each have a story that can transform Jo’s life… if only she can let them in.

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.

After studying history at university, Sally Page moved to London to work in advertising. In her spare time she studied floristry at night school and eventually opened her own flower shop. Sally came to appreciate that flower shops offer a unique window into people’s stories and she began to photograph and write about this floral life in a series of non-fiction books. Later, she continued her interest in writing when she founded her fountain pen company, Plooms.co.uk.

In her debut novel, The Keeper of Stories, Sally combined her love of history and writing with her abiding interest in the stories people have to tell. In her second novel, The Book of Beginnings Sally draws on her love of stationery.

Sally now lives in Dorset. Her eldest daughter, Alex, is studying to be a doctor and her younger daughter is the author, Libby Page. Both are keen wild swimmers.

Posted in: Season 3
Gravestone in foggy churchyard showing angel clinging to cross

Waking the Dead: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

This month we are featuring short stories and flash fiction written at a creative writing workshop in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. The stories are loosely inspired by the gravestones of people who were buried in the cemetery.

They include Charlie Brown, boxer and publican, Alec Hurley, boxer, singer and husband of Marie Lloyd, the Woods family, who all died from influenza leaving only one surviving child and Maurice O’Connor, a workhouse doctor who committed suicide in mysterious circumstances.

Thank you to all the writers who participated in the workshop for lending us your imagination for the day, and to Claire Slack the Heritage Officer for telling us the compelling real-life stories of some of the people buried in the cemetery park.

This episode contains swearwords so has been marked as explicit.