Friday 8 December 2023

#Blogtour #Podcasttour From The Library With Love by Kate Thompson

It's an absolute pleasure to take part in this Blogtour with a difference - featuring Kate Thompson and her brilliant podcast - From the Library with Love.

About the Author/Podcaster

Kate Thompson an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter and novelist who has spent the past two decades in the UK mass market and book publishing industry. 

Over the past eight years Kate has written eleven fiction and non-fiction titles, three of which have made the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list. Follow @katethompson380 on X, @KateThompsonAuthor on Facebook or @katethompsonauthor on Instagram

About the Podcast

It's Kate Thompson here, author of The Little Wartime Library and upcoming Wartime Book Club.

Wonderful, transformative things happen when you set foot in a library. In 2019 I uncovered the true story of a forgotten Underground library, built along the tracks of Bethnal Green Tube tunnel during the Blitz. As stories go, it was irresistible and the result was, The Little Wartime Library, my seventh novel.

Bethnal Green Public Library, where the novel is set, was 100 years old in October 2022, and to celebrate the centenary of this grand old lady, funded by library philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, I set myself the challenge of interviewing 100 library workers. Speaking with one library worker for every year this library has been serving its community seemed a good way to mark this auspicious occasion. Because who better to explain the worth of a hundred-year-old library, than librarians themselves!

I wanted to explore the enduring value of libraries and reading. I quickly realised that librarians have the best stories.

My research led me to librarians with over fifty years of experience, to the impressive women who manage libraries in prisons and schools, to those in remote Scottish islands. From poetry libraries overlooking the wide sweep of the Thames, to the 16th century Shakespeare’s Library in Stratford, via the small but mighty Leadhills Miners’ Library.

This podcast was born out of those eye-opening conversations, because as Denise from Tower Hamlets Library told me: 'If you want to see the world, don't join the Army, become a librarian!'

I’ll also be talking to international bestselling authors and some remarkable wartime women. This is my way of celebrating and documenting the remarkable stories I have found whilst researching my books.

Interviews up already:
100-year-old Bletchley Park Codebreaker Betty Webb on keeping her wartime secrets.

Bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri on the importance of writing what you feel.
New York Times bestselling author Madeline Martin on underground libraries and clandestine book clubs.


October 2nd - 8th is Libraries Week. I'll be releasing an episode every day with some incredible librarians, including the librarian who has kept everything she has ever found in a returned library book.

November. 'I was born in a concentration camp' A powerful interview with 78-year-old Eva Clarke, who told me '‘You don’t know what you can withstand until you are put to the test.’

December marks the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport scheme, 97-year-old Gabriele Keeaghan bravely shares the harrowing moment she was forced to leave behind her family and flee Nazi occupied Vienna.

National Letter Writing Day, I met the woman who collects forgotten letters from flea markets and told me, ‘Letters capture the essence of what it is to be living through history. In attics, and drawers and shoe boxes under beds there are hundreds of stories waiting to be told.’

Plus SO so many more I just can't wait to release. This is a labour of love. 

The episode I decided to feature is the story of Gabriele - On the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport scheme, which saved 10,000 children from the Nazis, 97-year-old Gabriele Keenaghan shares her astonishing story

About the episode:
You’re 12 years old. Your mother is dead and your father has gone missing. You are wrenched from everyone you know and love and put on a train and sent from your home to a new country, where you don’t speak the language, with a group of total strangers.  And you have no idea whether you will ever set eyes on your family again. This was the terrifying reality facing Gabriel Weiss when she boarded a Kindertransport train out of Nazi occupied Vienna in April 1939 and was sent to live in England in the months building up to World War Two. On the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport scheme, the 97 year old shares her extraordinary story…


I sincerely hope if I ever reach the age of 97 that I will be able to engage with the world as Gabriele does in this podcast, as if not a year had gone by since she stepped onto a train and journey into uncertainty.

Her story, her voice, her memories and her stamp on this world is a testament to her strength of character and her perseverance, above all it is proof of victory, despite the tragedy surrounding her childhood. The death of her mother sort of cements the beginning of change, and the subsequent disappearance of her Jewish father during Kristallnacht tears the fabric of her life apart.

Luckily for her, for her future family and for us, Gabriele's grandmother had the foresight to recognise the danger her granddaughter was in and facilitated her journey as part of the Kindertransport. This paved the way for many thousands of Jewish children to escape persecution. Unfortunately it also meant severing ties with loved ones, in the majority of cases it was the last time the young children had any contact with their parents or loved ones.

Thompson engages Gabriele with polite, friendly conversation, almost as if two friends were meeting over a coffee. The gentle questions dig a little deeper here and there to dislodge memories and flashbacks that give the overall picture of a child who has to endure always being perceived as the enemy, and yet simply wanting to feel safe, secure and belong.

I really enjoyed the podcast and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. It's both admirable and a fantastic idea to capture certain topics and moments as an audio memory. It's also a great way of paying tribute to people who deserve to have their voices heard. By the way, the Teddy had me gulping.

No comments:

Post a Comment