Dr Hannah Priest is an early career researcher, writer and small press publisher, currently based in Manchester, UK. Her research interests include medieval popular romance, contemporary genre fiction, horror film and monsters. She writes poetry and fiction under the name Hannah Kate.
Me, in a Nutshell
I was born in Carlisle a while ago, moved to Oldham and then Manchester, and was educated in all of these places. I got my GCSEs at a North Manchester secondary school, and my A-Levels at a college in Rochdale.
In 2001, I got an MA (Hons) in English from the University of St. Andrews, and returned to Manchester to work for a charity. I returned to academia in 2004, and completed an MA in Medieval and Early Modern English studies at the University of Manchester in 2005. I was awarded a PhD in English (also from the University of Manchester and supervised by Dr Anke Bernau) in 2010, with my thesis entitled ‘Monstrous Identity in Late Medieval Insular Romance and Lais’.
I attended and spoke at numerous conferences during my PhD studies, and also co-organized a Middle English Day School in 2006. I was the main organizer of the postgraduate day conference on Identity and Performance in 2007, and of the She-Wolf conference in 2010. In 2012, I co-organized the annual Gender and Medieval Studies conference, which was hosted by the University of Manchester.
I've worked in a variety of jobs. My first job was selling cookies at a well-known bakery (my least favourite job), but since then I have worked as a shelf-stacker, a warehouse assistant, a sales assistant, a cleaner, a bartender in pubs and a crown green bowling club (my favourite job, outside of teaching/writing), a TV production assistant and a shop manager. Usually more than one of these at a time.
During my postgrad studies, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (on Level 1 and 2 courses at the University of Manchester) and freelance English, Maths and Creative Writing tutor. As well as tutoring over 100 individual learners, I've also run workshops and lessons for organizations such as Oldham Coliseum, Commonword, GMPTE, Manchester City Football Club and Suman Education, and a series of Creative Writing classes for Autistic Society Greater Manchester. Until 2010, I was co-ordinator of Commonword’s Monday Night Group, organized several ‘Week Away’ writing retreats for the group and co-edited the group’s magazine, Pipeline, between 2006 and 2008.
After finishing my PhD, I worked as a Research Assistant on the BA-funded Popular Medievalisms in the Nineteenth Century project at the University of Manchester, and then as a Research Assistant in English and American Studies at Manchester. I've worked as a Lecturer (Teaching Focused) in Medieval Literature at Manchester, as a Researcher on the Free to Write Anthology project at Liverpool John Moores University, which was concerned with prisoners’ writing and creative writing projects in prisons, and as a Research Assistant in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester (on a digitization project relating to the John Rylands Library Early Medical Printed Collection). I currently hold an Honorary Research Fellowship at the University of Swansea, and am an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
I continue to work as a freelance tutor, and as an Assistant Examiner (GCSE) for one of the exam boards. As well as teaching individual and group classes around Greater Manchester, I also give one-off talks and lectures, and have given talks on werewolves for the Radcliffe, Manchester and Liverpool Pagan Moots and at the Manchester Monster Convention, and spoke on medieval monsters at the Whitefield Halloween Festival in October 2012 and on cannibals at the Natural History Museum, London in April 2014. As of January 2015, I host a weekly literature show on North Manchester FM, called Hannah's Bookshelf. I’m also an Independent Avon Representative, which is a bit different, admittedly.
In 2010, I started my own small press and events company, Hic Dragones, publishing dark fiction, reserializing Victorian pulp fiction, and running academic conferences in the UK. More information about Hic Dragones, including our recently published titles and open CFPs, can be found on the company’s website. I now run the company with my partner, Rob Shedwick, an independent musician who writes music as Digital Front. Rob and I also offer freelance fiction and academic editing and web design services as the Creative Cats.
As Hannah Priest, I have published academic articles and book reviews – and information about these can be found here. I also write poetry, fiction and articles as Hannah Kate – and more information about my publications under this name can be found on my other website.
I review books and blog on this site, and also blog as Hannah Kate, and have guest blogged for The Gothic Imagination. Additionally, I review books for Monster Librarian. I am the treasurer and webmaster for the Manchester Medieval Society, and I was one of the Mistresses of Misrule on Carnivalesque.
I've been involved with Oxfam, in one capacity or another, since 1995. I started as a shop volunteer when I was sixteen, and continued volunteering throughout my A-Levels and undergraduate study. After I left St. Andrews, I got a full-time job managing an Oxfam shop in Manchester, and went on to combine this with managing the Heywood branch. In 2004, I visited Oxfam’s projects in Lima, Peru, which was perhaps the most humbling experience of my life. Since 1996, I have volunteered with Oxfam at music festivals, and continue to do this every summer. Over the years I have worked at Glastonbury, Leeds, Big Chill, Glade, Bloom and Camp Bestival, as well as at Oxfam’s Trailtrekker event in Skipton.
In May 2016, I was elected to Manchester City Council as Labour councillor for Charlestown ward in North Manchester. As part of this role, I currently sit on the Economy Scrutiny Committee. I'm also currently the treasurer of the Friends of Crumpsall Park, and run the group's Twitter account.