We are Up North Books, a new podcast hosted by Beth Barker and Kate Baguley
celebrating all things northern literature.
Having grown up on the Fylde Coast in the North West of England and attended northern
universities, we are both passionate about celebrating the literary talent the North has to
offer. We both studied English Literature and eventually hope to work in the publishing
industry, but for now we’re making our mark with a podcast dedicated to bringing attention to
The North hosts such amazing literary talent and some incredibly successful independent
publishers. As a result of this, the North has caught the attention of the Big 5 who are slowly
making moves in our direction, the newest arrival being HarperCollins’ new
Manchester-based imprint, Harper North. We think that now is the perfect time to be
celebrating this diverse and often underrepresented part of the UK. We want to read and
discuss as many books as possible that celebrate the North’s variety of people, landscapes
and literary talent.
In our first podcast, we discussed some of our favourite Northern reads. Here are a couple of recommendations:
Saltwater by Jessica Andrews. (Sceptre Books)
After Lucy graduates from university in London, she feels completely lost. When her grandfather unfortunately passes, she decides to relocate to his cottage in Donegal, determined to find a place to belong. The novel details Lucy’s life up to this point; her memories of a marginalised upbringing in the North East, to then moving to London and finding that the centre isn’t all she had hoped for. The novel explores place, class, family, and selfhood in poetic and touching prose that is unforgettable.
Theft by Luke Brown. (And Other Stories)
The novel follows the story of Paul, living in London and reviewing haircuts for a living, rather than the literary journalism he aspired to. After the death of his mother, Paul returns to his hometown in the North and comes face-to-face with his past, as well as questions surrounding belonging and class identity.
We hope to get as many northern book recommendations to our listeners as possible, with each episode featuring different genres, forms, and themes.
Our upcoming episode includes two recently-published novels by talented northern women which we can’t wait to reveal to our audience. We’ve also got big plans to bring author
interviews and publishing experts to your ears, so stay tuned for more.