February 2024: An Extra Day to While Away

February 2024: An Extra Day to While Away

Hello pals!

February was a glorious blur of book events and festivals, supporting pals in celebrating their book launches and exciting announcements, speaking on panels at Granite Noir, and a career talk for the postgrad students at Strathclyde. Being among engaged and curious audiences has been so nourishing for me.


Much of February has been ideas percolating as I’ve listened to other authors speak about craft. I’ve got my edits for hijinks on the high sea and I’m chipping away at this first round of edits, focusing on chronolgy and worldbuilding. I’m having fun drawing maps, pinning down the timelines, and delving into the settings and characters in even more depth.

Also a reminder you can pre-order To Root Somewhere Beautiful in print or e-book to read ‘Mango Heart’, publishing March 5th.


Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Set in a near future where convicts battle-royale for the prize of their freedom. The reader follows the ‘Links’ in their ‘Chain-Gangs’ as they rise through the ranks, where the only currency is death. But they also find connection and collective action. The narrative makes us complicit: screenplay directions,  horrific statistics, and head-hopping between the Links, protestors, spectators, and employees of the show. The cognitive dissonance of the prison industrial complex playing out as live entertainment is an unfortunately familiar dystopian theme and yet Adjei-Brenyah’s novel is frenetic, messy, and to quote itself ‘a wild flood of energy running everywhere’.

Gathering: Women of Colour on Nature edited by Durre Shahwar and Nasia Sarwar-Skuse

I have a review of this anthology in the forthcoming March edition of The Skinny and I found this such an essential and thought-provoking collection of essays. I learned so much without it feeling didactic, and there is as much celebration and hope in these pages as rallying cries for change. I love pretty much everything 404 Ink publish and this book introduced me to many creatives whose work I’ll be following going forward!

It’s Not That Radical: Climate Action to Transform Our World by Mikaela Loach

This short punchy non-fiction book was a balm for the soul. Grounded and hopeful, Loach is an inspiring figure and approaches climate activism through an intersectional lens. I’m always looking for more books like this, describing practical ways to educate and empower ‘climate delayers’. This is a great primer which centres intersectionality and the work of BPOC communities and I’d recommend to anyone who feels hopeless and overwhelmed by climate action.

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

This one’s for the chronically online girlies. The first half of this novel is a stream-of-consciousness fever dream in the mind of the protagonist, who is a minor internet celebrity who spends every waking hour in The Portal. There are hyperspecific references to internet scandals and memes – I had a visceral reaction to how many I recognised. In the second half our unnamed protagonist spends more time IRL supporting her sister through pregnancy complications. The tone shifts to a more existential, grief-stricken, and raw prose style. The move from ironic cynicism to genuine earnestness was striking and speaks to the novel’s theme of allowing space for sincerity to come in, because with it will come real pain but also real pleasure.

Until March, stay soft, light, slow,

Kat x

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