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Top Shelf With Hannah Ferguson

The Bite Back author and Cheek Media CEO on her favourite books and golden rule for holiday reading

By Laura Brading


Hannah Ferguson's debut was described by Grace Tame as a "whip-smart gift to the stale national media landscape"

A book that changed your perspective
Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here by Heather Rose. This wasn’t my usual read, and it challenged my perspective on some spiritual practices and belief systems I usually would roll my eyes at. This memoir was actually the first book I’d read of Rose’s and I just adored it, the whole experience felt like a swim in the ocean. It was refreshing and emotional and challenging and beautiful.

A book you’re looking forward to reading
I’ve just bought Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, It was a New York Times Book Review top pick last year, and is essentially about a prison system, where inmates can fight until the death in an entertainment program that sees them released if they win all of their ‘matches’. From what I’ve already gathered, it’s a dystopian examination of racism, exploitation, justice and equality – it is heavy but absolutely brilliant.

My golden rule is: there can only be one non-fiction on holiday

You’re going on a week-long holiday. What is the correct number of books to take with you?
If you’re travelling on a plane or any form of transport not involving you driving, five. If driving, three (audiobooks change that). Travel reading is all about measuring the ‘in between’, so the number is entirely dependent on whether you’re prioritising downtime or filling up on activities. My golden rule is: there can only be one non-fiction on holiday (my brain needs rest and escape, too).

Contemporary or classic?
Contemporary. I have always felt ashamed for never engaging with the classics, but I simply can’t stand them (big, broad call I know). My work is so dependent on modern language, accessible and digestible discussions of progressive issues, and society as it operates now. I know we have a lot to learn from the past and these texts are important, but I produce writing that is deeply enmeshed with modern ideas and rhetoric, and my habits as a reader truly reflect this.

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BY Laura Brading

Laura is PRIMER's books editor

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