The 10 Books By Northern Women to Read in 2022

2021 was an incredible year of publishing for women. From the Northern writers making their mark on the Women’s Prize Futures Award to the authors dominating 2021’s Portico Prize Shortlist, there’s no doubting the talent that continues to emerge from our region.

Creating a list like this isn’t always the easiest task. While Northern women are still drastically underrepresented in literary publishing, narrowing our selection down to such a small number this time was the most challenging part.

We’ll continue to share the latest publications throughout the coming months, but for now, here are 10 books by northern women to read in 2022.

Milk Teeth by Jessica Andrews

From the author of prize-winning Saltwater comes Milk Teeth, one of our most anticipated books of 2022. A story about love, identity and sensuality, Andrews’ next novel feels like the natural progression from her debut. Centred around a young woman from the North of England, Milk Teeth is set to be another powerful tale about taking up space, navigating the world and the people we meet along the way.

Publishing: July 2022, Hodder and Stoughton

Ten Thousand Apologies by Adelle Stripe + Lias Saoudi

If you’re into literary biographies, cultish creativity and the world of alternative music, you’re going to love Ten Thousand Apologies. Co-written by singer Lias Saoudi and the acclaimed Yorkshire-based author Adelle Stripe, the book offers an in-depth exploration of the UK’s most notorious cult band – Fat White Family. Promising lucidity, humour and a definitive account of the era, this seems to be a must-read for music enthusiasts and culture fiends alike.

Publishing: February 2022, White Rabbit Books

Tangled In Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

For avid non-fiction readers comes a disruptive, powerful and influential read from Bradford-born writer Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan: Tangled in Terror. In a bid to unpack the intrinsic narratives of Islamophobia from our history, society and daily lives, the book shows that until the most marginalised Muslims are safe, nobody is safe. If you’re passionate about current affairs, political meditations and looking past the surface level story, this is definitely one for your reading list.

Publishing: March 2022, Pluto Press

Hands by Lauren Brown

January marks the publication of the long-anticipated debut from writer Lauren Brown. Hands, a memoir that offers ‘an anxious mind unpicked’, explores a whole host of themes alongside a central desire to uncover the roots of compulsive skin-picking. In the process, the book’s weaving narratives take readers on a journey through a young woman’s life, presenting joy, healing and a love song to the North.

Publishing: January 2022, Harper North

Emergency by Daisy Hildyard

Fitzcarraldo Editions are constantly serving up fresh and thought-provoking literature for their readership to enjoy, and 2022 is no different. York-based Daisy Hildyard’s Emergency arrives in April, a novel about the dissolving boundaries between all life on earth. Stuck at home alone under lockdown, a woman recounts her 1990s childhood in rural Yorkshire. Dubbed as a reinvention of the pastoral novel for the climate change era, this one is undoubtedly topping our TBRs.

Publishing: April 2022, Fitzcarraldo Editions

When Our World’s Collide by Danielle Jawando

When Danielle Jawando’s powerful And the Stars Were Burning Brightly was published in 2020, it took the YA book world by storm. This year marks the arrival of her next novel, a powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices we make can completely change our future. When Our Worlds Collided explores the deep-rooted prejudice that exists within the police, media and our society today.

Publishing: March 2022, Simon & Schuster

The Odyssey by Lara Williams

From the prize-winning author of the inimitable Treats and Supper Club comes The Odyssey, a book that promises a satire of modern life. Lara Williams’ latest novel follows Ingrid, a luxury cruise ship worker who is selected for the employee mentorship scheme that pushes her further than she thought possible. Exploring themes of class, consumer capitalism and unexpected voyages, this book is certainly set to cause a stir this spring.

Publishing: April 2022, Penguin Books

After Everything You Did by Stephanie Sowden

Lovers of crime, take note: Manchester-based Stephanie Sowden’s debut is on its way. Set in modern America, this suspenseful story centres on Reeta Doe, who wakes up in hospital to be told she is responsible for the brutal murder of two women. She cannot answer the FBI’s questions – her only hope is Carol, a journalist who must follow the trail of devastation Reeta left in her wake. If you can’t get enough of a thriller, After Everything You Did is definitely one for the list.

Publishing: April 2022, Canelo

Hysterical by Pragya Agarwal

Pragya Agarwal’s non-fiction work is some of the best there is, especially if you appreciate well-researched, fact-driven mediations alongside personal reflections. After the success of (M)otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman in 2021, this year offers Hysterical: The Gendered Nature of Emotions. Casting her astute gaze to another angle of feminist thought, the behavioural scientist sets out to chart how emotions really came to be so gendered.

Publishing: July 2022, Canongate

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

After the storm of a debut that was Ariadne comes Jennifer Saint’s next mythological rewriting, this time bringing the tragic heroine Elektra to life. While focusing on the origins of the Trojan War and the dreadful curse blighting the House of Atreus, Saint is set to take readers on another female-dominated Greek adventure. If you enjoy the likes of Madeleine Millar, Pat Barker and Natalie Haynes, you’ll want to add this one to your 2022 stack.

Publishing: April 2022, Headline.

Words: Beth Barker 

Beth Barker is a writer and blogger from Blackpool, now working in Manchester. She also co-hosts Up North Books, a podcast celebrating books and writers from the North of England. 

Beth wanted to contribute a monthly review to NRTH LASS in order to shine a light on Northern women writing great books. The North is very much underrepresented in publishing and she hopes a monthly review throughout 2021 will showcase the talent Northern women have to offer.

For more book reviews and insights on publishing in the North, follow Beth on Instagram and Twitter.

Image: Nick Fewings, Unsplash


Getting to Know Kat Rose-Martin: Actor, Writer, and Inaugural Recipient of the Kay Mellor Fellowship

Words: Helen Brady

In early 2020, the inaugural winner of the Kay Mellor Fellowship was announced. The fellowship is a collaboration between Leeds Playhouse, Kay Mellor and her company Rollem Productions, and it will support a playwright over 12 months, encouraging them to develop their writing. There will be opportunity for an original idea for stage worked into a full-length draft on set and an original idea for a television pitch will also be created. Kay Mellor, OBE is a successful writer, actor and director, perhaps best known for TV series’ Band of Gold, Fat Friends and Girlfriends

Kay Mellor, Kat Rose-Martin and James Brining. Image: Anthony Robling.

The first winner of the Fellowship was Bradford born Kat Rose-Martin. Kat has worked as an actor for Northern Broadsides, Shakespeare’s Globe and York Theatre Royal, as well as having written and directed large scale immersive experiences nationally. Kat explained, “I’ve always written in the voices of characters before I really knew that script writing was a job. I started as an actor, trained at drama school and after a few years working in theatres, I knew that I wanted to write plays that I could relate to. Plays that my friends would enjoy.”

With the arrival of a global pandemic right at the beginning of what should have been an incredibly immersive and creative 12 months ahead, Kat explained if she had since felt any pressure to produce work in such a turbulent time, and if she felt that work had to respond to the current affairs of the time. 

“For me, it always starts with character and story. And there’s certainly a lot of pressure to make work about COVID but there’s also a lot of people saying, ‘make what you want to make’. Personally, I feel some of the survival pots of funding at this time should be less prescriptive – if you want to write about pandemics then great, if that’s not for you, also great. I think there should be no pressure either way – a lot of people have a lot to deal with right now, and we should focus our energy on getting through this.

“Personally, some days I find it really easy, others I need to take a step back and let my brain catch up with what’s on going. The audience appetite will always be a mixed bag – in the first few weeks most popular shows were Contagion and Tiger King – complete opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s hard to predict what an audience wants so it’s important to stay true to what you want to say. I’ve learnt that the hard way.”

Despite the circumstances, Kat was lucky to be able to continue with the fellowship remotely. “It’s certainly a scary time at the moment. Especially as an emerging writer with theatres closed and TV production on hold. The Kay Mellor Fellowship has been such a blessing in that sense. We’ve continued to work remotely, and it’s been a well-needed safety blanket – I would’ve really struggled without it. What’s interesting is that I’ve not had to travel to London as much for meetings with theatres and production companies which has saved me lots of time, money and stress. I’m hoping when Lockdown is over, companies will still consider meeting people virtually.”

Although the north/south divide is improving, there are still significantly more opportunities within the television and theatre industries for those based in London. An enforced shift in how theatres and productions companies operate due to the COVID-19 crisis has proven that remote working can be done, and this would be a welcome shift in operations that stays in place beyond the pandemic. Kat shared, “Everyone assumes you live in London or want to live in London. I’m more than happy in Bradford but it’s tough when I have to get a 6am train to go do four meetings on the same day and back home on the 8pm train then back to work the next day. London gets so much more funding than the regions. But things are changing, people are looking to hear more diverse, relatable stories. I look forward to the day when diverse is the norm and everyone can feel that they’re represented on stage and screen.”

Kat went on to say that although she does not intentionally set out with a ‘Yorkshire’ agenda, being from Bradford is a very important part of who she is and the stories she wants to tell, “There’s so many different people and stories across Bradford and Yorkshire that sometimes I need to get more specific about which postcode or street or neighbourhood a piece is set in because they can be vastly different and affect the story.”

Location is in part what attracted Kat to the Fellowship, which is a collaboration between Leeds Playhouse and Rollem Productions. “Both are on my doorstep and make work that I love. I’ve been to Leeds Playhouse countless times and performed there twice with Northern Broadsides. The spaces are great and the audiences generous. It seems like a natural fit for the work I want to make.

“And which Yorkshire female writer doesn’t want to work with Kay Mellor? I’ve always watched her shows and there’s so much that I can learn about story and about using your authenticity to say something important and making a long-lasting career in an industry that’s often unpredictable. When I found out that the KMF was a joint TV and Theatre development opportunity, I knew it was exactly what I needed. I want to work as much as possible in both industries and explore how they’re similar and how they differ.”

Coincidently, Leeds Playhouse is also one of Kat’s favourite places to perform and enjoy watching pieces by others. “I love Shakespeare’s Globe, I love Leeds Playhouse, I love theatre in non-theatre spaces. For me it’s about the connection between audience and the actors. And so much of that depends on the play, the production, the audience. But when there’s genuine connection between the action and the people experiencing it – that’s what theatre’s all about for me.”

2020 is quickly becoming one of the most challenging years for so many people. The unique set of circumstances people find themselves in means that unique types of support have had to be offered to ensure the survival of some of the North West’s most popular sectors. With the creative industries being made up of predominantly freelance individuals, it is easy for some of them to slip though the net and not receive any support at all.

Kat explained, “There’s lots of support from really wonderful companies who are doing the best they can. Bradford Producing Hub, Leeds Playhouse, Freedom Studios, to name but a tiny few. The Arts Council have handed out funding to companies and individuals. But it’s also really hard, there’s a lot of gaps to fall through and be left struggling. And there’s no doubt that the creative industries need bail outs that other industries have received. Once we’re up and running again, the entertainment sector contributes massively to the economy, but it will take longer and a lot of adapting to get to that point. So, until that time, theatres and TV Production companies need support.”

The Spice Queens: Pakistani cuisine from the heart of Bradford

Bradford has long been the hub of Asian cuisine. In fact, it’s the only city to have been crowned Curry Capital of Britain six times in a row. As popular (and as insanely tasty) as its food is, it’s the families and generations working together to pass on these precious recipes that makes the city and its reputation for food incredibly special.

Arooj H Din, creator of the hand-crafted and art-filled cookbook, The Spice Queens says the book is a ball of inspiration and pays homage to the amazing women in her life who have shown their love through the art of cooking.

The cookbook, which is now in its second edition after a sell-out first, is pleasing on all sensory levels, with each recipe accompanied by beautiful photography from Arooj and sachets of specially chosen spices to get you started.

The Spice Queens

Interview: Jessica Howell
Graphics: Hannah McCreath

Where did your love of cooking originate?

My love of cooking truthfully came from my love of eating my mama’s food! I sadly lost both my sisters in the last decade. Therefore, it means even more to me; it reminds me of my childhood, of my sisters, of when we used to buy indigestion tablets for Eid celebrations – because we knew we would eat until it hurt! It is a pure form of kindness really, something that mama put in to feeding her wonderful, wild, adventure-filled children.

It was one of the main drives for constructing The Spice Queens book – I wanted a keepsake for me, so that I would always have some of that magic.

Being from Bradford (a city famous for its Asian cuisine), how do you use that history and local culture to influence your cooking?

Bradford is charming for specific flavours; I feel grateful that I am in an age where I can get home-cooked Pakistani food in so many places now. I love that tastes of cultures intermingle, that they sit side by side and celebrate each other. For me, good flavours are one of the true joys of life. It influences my cooking as I often mix in Mediterranean, Caribbean and Far Eastern flavours. 

My love for photography began in Bradford, picking up my film camera at 17. I still own that camera. There’s something timeless about film photography, I can see why it’s my specialism now. It’s fantastic to be able to be able to place my photographic skills into The Spice Queens. I really wanted a visually-led book, so that you can cook from the images alone if need be. I mean when someone says “brown the onions” how brown is brown?! Light? Caramel? Dark chocolate brown?

With your cookbook having family at its centre with many of the recipes being passed on from your mum, have you cultivated your own style over time, or do you keep very close to the original recipes?

Oh my, yes women, I think for centuries women have poured love in to how they cook, it is a way of saying how much you care. I feel that women from my mum’s generation really want to make sure their children, grandchildren and anyone who comes to visit leaves happy with a tummy full of happiness. It fulfils a purpose of need and love all combined into one, it’s beautiful and may we somehow keep it alive.

Arooj H Din

I am definitely a mix master in the kitchen. Right now, I am sat cooking spinach with mum, in the traditional way. Yesterday I made Quorn gnocchi in a spicy sauce (yes, I put my spices in almost everything). I will be off to visit a friend in Scotland this weekend and she is darn amazing in the kitchen, as many of my friends are. I think that is a third book right there. I must say this rings true: “Good food and friends are the true sunshine of life”.

What did you want to achieve from your second cookbook, which makes it different from the first?

How amazing it has been to be on my third and final addition of the book, this one is a little slicker and has no post-it notes in it! The spelling has been checked by my friends so a big improvement on that side (not my forte – cannot be good at everything right…).

You see this book is about good home cooked food. It gives you the foundations to create your own spices, these are what create your curries and take them to the next level of wonderfulness.

The book has evolved into something rather sensational. In 2019, myself and my childhood friend Nosheen launched our spice company Season Yorkshire. Here we have recreated our mums’ spice blends of garam masala and basaar, so that you can easily cook our mums’ food. I want the world to be full of these spices and people enjoying them.

I do have another book in the pipeline, it will more a gathering of herbal healing potions. My mama is a rich source of knowledge, she is a ayurvedic person through and through, a queen I must say of that also. Our house is full of her concoctions for headaches, tummy aches, indigestion and controlling blood pressure…the list goes on. I know it’s time to place these in a spellbook for me and maybe a few others.

I also was part of a collaboration that published an alternative photography book; we are looking forward to exhibiting the book and artwork later this year so watch this space!

For people just starting to experiment with Pakistani/Kashmiri recipes, what are your top tips on how to get started?

Get your spices right (this is your foundation of an awesome curry) and know your heat levels – not enough and you’re like “What blandness is this?!” Too much and your head might pop!

However, it all comes down to this. Get the sauce right. Get the base right, you magnificent spice eating humans.

The secret to a good curry – how you get the flavours of opulent eastern empires, the smells of freshly ground spices from market stalls carrying their delicious scents on a warm breeze, and the vivid colours of ancient cooking techniques – we call this part the ‘Bhuna’ process. This is where you caramelise your masala, or base (onions, garlic, green chillies, tomatoes, salt, basaar and garam masala). The more you cook out your masala, the richer the flavour and more vibrant the colour!

To do it like a pro, check out tips and scrumptious tricks @seasonyorkshire.

Finally, which recipe is your favourite?

You just can’t ask me that. But if I had one last meal. My mum’s cauliflower and potato (gobi aloo) with a paranta (buttery chappati) and her home-made mint sauce. 

I have a long way to go before mime tastes like hers; I swear she sneaks things in when I’m not looking.

I changed my surname to Din last year, that’s my mum’s name (truthfully, she raised me, my brother and my sisters single-handedly). My sisters and I would talk often of taking her name on, I think it was finally time. It is a homage to her and to what I want to take into my future. I want to celebrate her and me and the reflection of her love.