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: Podcast Season 2
Flowerbeds in exotic garden

Salvage by Martin Nathan

SALVAGE is set in Tide Mills, an abandoned village near Newhaven on the Sussex coast.

The traces of the mill and the childrens’ home can still be seen on the shingle beach.

Content warning: this drama contains some material listeners might find distressing

The piece was directed by Luke Blackwood-Stevenson

Cast:

JANE – Rubie Ozanne

BILL – Lewis Jenkins

SAM – Kieran Dooner

IAN – Hamish Brewster

FRED – Luke Blackwood-Stevenson

Recording engineer: Max Jukes

Script, music and location sounds: Martin Nathan

A location-based piece with audio triggered within the Tide Mills site will be released soon.

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: Podcast Season 2

Knish by Martin Nathan and The Prison Poem by Rebecca Ruth Gould

We have two shorter stories this month, Knish by Martin Nathan and The Prison Poem by Rebecca Ruth Gould.

Knish by Martin Nathan

The knish is a lump of potato with pastry wrapped around it and baked. You can still buy them in Brighton Beach, Long Island, filled with kasha or beef or cherry and cream cheese or pretty much anything you want.

Like this story, it’s not what’s on the outside or on the inside that counts. It’s somewhere between the two that makes things different.   

Written and produced by Martin Nathan.

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Read by Luke Blackwood.

Martin Nathan has worked as a labourer, showman, pancake chef, fire technician, and a railway engineer. His short fiction has been published by Tangent Press, HCE and Grist and his poetry has appeared in Finished Creatures, Erbacce and Aesthetica.

His novel – A Place of Safety is published by Salt Publishing. In 2020 he has been shortlisted for the Woodward International Playwriting Prize and the Nick Darke Award.

The Prison Poem by Rebecca Ruth Gould

For over a thousand years, Persian poets have been writing about prison. One day, these poems stir a nervous conversation between lovers in modern Iran. “The Prison Poem” by Rebecca Ruth Gould recounts a millennium of poems in which imprisoned poets criticize their rulers.

Rebecca Ruth Gould is a writer, translator, and scholar. Her books include Writers and Rebels (2016) and the poetry collections Cityscapes (2019) and Beautiful English (2021). Her first short story collection, Strangers in Love, is forthcoming, as is The Persian Prison Poem (Edinburgh University Press). She was born in the US and now resides in the UK, where she teaches at the University of Birmingham. 

Visit Rebecca Ruth Gould’s website

Follow Rebecca Ruth Gould on Medium

Twitter @rrgould

Instagram @r.r.gould

The reader for The Prison Poem was Julia Lewis.

The music used in The Prison Poem was from a recording of musician Peyman Heydarian on Freesound.org by xserra and has an attribution license.

Posted in: Podcast
Photo of Beachy Head

The Edge by Martin Nathan

The Edge is part of a series of location-based pieces exploring the stories and power of landscape. They use GPS location to trigger various sections when you run the app in the link supplied and you are in the correct location. 

This piece runs from Birling Gap to Beachy head and explores some of the stories associated with the area. It works either as a clifftop walk or a walk at beach level (although you need to walk on a falling tide).

Despite its beauty Beachy Head has long had associations with loss and destruction. The cliffs were a favourite place of Aleister Crowley, the notorious Great Beast and Satanist, and the piece includes some of the battles between him and local clergy.

Written, produced and read by Martin Nathan.

Martin Nathan has worked as a labourer, showman, pancake chef, fire technician, and a railway engineer. His short fiction has been published by Tangent Press, HCE and Grist and his poetry has appeared in Finished Creatures, Erbacce and Aesthetica. His novel – A Place of Safety is published by Salt Publishing. In 2020 he has been shortlisted for the Woodward International Playwriting Prize and the Nick Darke Award.