cover art for Bookable Space with Katya Cengel

Bookable Space: A Space to Launch (and re-launch) Books

Bookable Space with Katya Cengel

Season 1, Ep. 65

In this episode of Bookable Space host Yvonne Battle-Felton is joined by Katya Cengel. Katya reads From Cheronobyl with Love: reporting from the ruins of the Soviet Union.

About the book:


In 1986 an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic helped trigger the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

Three and a half decades later, in 2022, the plant’s capture by Russian forces reminded Ukraine – and the world – that, for Russia, it isn’t over. 


In between an American reporter and a Ukrainian photographer fell in love. At Chernobyl. Site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.


As their relationship developed, Ukraine collapsed, bringing it to the brink of political disintegration and civil war. Ultimately, this fall of idealism in the East underscores Cengel’s own loss of innocence. From Chernobyl with Love is an equal parts heartbreaking and humorous true coming of age story of a girl and a country made all the more poignant because of current events.

 About the author:

Katya Cengel has written for New York Times Magazine and the Wall Street Journal among others. She received an Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) for her memoir “From Chernobyl with Love” and has been awarded grants from the International Reporting Project, International Women’s Media Foundation and International Center for Journalists. 

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 24. Bookable Space with Lainne Love Part 2 of 3

    In part two of this three-part episode, Lainne Love joins host Yvonne Battle-Felton and reads from another section of A Bigger Mission. Lainne reminds us all that there is only one us.
  • 23. Bookable Space with Lainne Love (part 1)

    In this episode of Bookable Space, we're joined by Lainne Love reading A Bigger Mission. This is the part one of a three-part episode.BIO:Lainne Love is an Award Winning Spiritual Psychology Coach & Bestselling Author, Leading Edge Healer, Founder + CEO of A Bigger Mission, and Momma.She’s dedicated to standing for others as they rise up, reclaim their power, and lead by birthing their bigger mission.Her process is rooted in Universal Law and Metaphysics. Informed by spiritual psychology and neuroscience, and supported with subconscious reprogramming & energetic insights. BOOK SUMMARY:A Bigger Mission Book is a collaboration of twelve people sharing real and raw stories of the challenges, struggles, and trauma they experienced that cracked them open to a bigger mission in life that awakened them to the purpose behind the pain and how to overcome, heal and transform their lives and help others do the same.
  • 22. Bookable Space with Laurie Kaye

    In this episode of Bookable Space, the show where writers read to us, we're joined by Laurie Kaye reading Confessions of a Rock 'n' Roll Name-Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon's Last Interview.About a Rock 'n' Roll Name-DropperLaurie Kaye is a writer and producer, and 'Confessions of a Rock ’n’ Roll Name-Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon’s Last Interview' is her long-awaited memoir. In it, we read about Kaye's rock music-related early life wrapped around that day in December 1980 which Kaye spent with John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the legendary Dakota apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side.On December 8, 1980, while working for RKO Radio, twenty-something rock journalist Laurie Kaye co-conducted an interview with her longtime idol, John Lennon. It was to become Lennon's final interview on what tragically turned out to be his last day on the planet.BIOLaurie Kaye began her career in radio at KFRC-AM San Francisco, for years one of the nation’s greatest top 40 stations, where she started as an intern and worked her way up to on-air reporter and anchor. She wrote and coproduced numerous radio rock specials for RKO, including RKO Presents the Beatles (released in 1977, and later expanded and retitled as The Beatles from Liverpool to Legend), and The Top 100 of the 70’s before moving on to write Dick Clark’s weekly radio countdown show and syndicated newspaper column. Kaye then moved on to television and film as a writer, producer, and casting director, where she still works today, handling both creative content and line producing for docuseries pilots.To buy the book, visit:
  • 21. Bookable Space with Maxine Blake

    In this episode of Bookable Space, Maxine Blake reads Teacher Bloopers and Pouty Mouth Stories and reminds us to show ourselves grace, enjoy what we do, and learn from our mistakes.About the author:Maxine Blake is of Jamaican descent and was born and raised in Wolverhampton in the UK. She dedicated 37 years of her life to teaching and held management positions within educational institutions across the country before retiring in 2020. She holds a Master of Education degree.In her retirement, Maxine remains active both nationally and internationally within education. She also maintains her passion for singing with the Sheffield Community Choir and continues to diligently hone her piano skills.Maxine has rekindled her love for international travel as a solo female adventurer and has authored several guided journals to assist other women who aspire to embark on similar journeys.Teacher Bloopers and Potty Mouth Stories serves as the sequel to her previous work, Don't Poo in the Pudding Bowl.She currently resides in Sheffield with her husband.About the book: Brace yourself for a whirlwind tour through the wacky world of education.Teacher Bloopers and Potty Mouth Stories is the perfect read for anyone who appreciates the humour in life's unexpected moments.With her trademark wit and candour, Maxine Blake offers a refreshingly honest and amusing take on the rollercoaster ride that is life in the classroom. She has an uncanny ability to turn even the most awkward classroom moments into hilarious anecdotes.Maxine is no stranger to the unpredictable and often absurd happenings in a place where awkward teenagers are turned into slightly less awkward adults. In her much-anticipated sequel to the well-received Don’t Poo in the Pudding Bowl, Maxine regales us with a new collection of side-splitting stories.So, grab a comfy seat, put your feet up, and get ready to be regaled by the hysterical, the outrageous, and the downright preposterous!Welcome to the wonderfully crazy world of Maxine’s classroom.To order the book or to reach Maxine visit her website   
  • 20. Bookable Space with Gloria Galloway

    In this episode of Bookable Space, we're joined by author Gloria Galloway. Gloria reads from and talks about her book Amber's Way. About the book:Young Adult/Amber's Way is the story of a young girl's struggle with childhood cancer. The narrative is about courage, inner strength, and a fighting spirit. Above all, it is about the powerful bond of love between a mother and daughter. About the author:Gloria Galloway has enjoyed storytelling since her dolls were the characters for her stories. She grew up in Sacramento, California, within driving distance of the Sierra Nevada mountains which provided inspiration for Summer’s End. Gloria loves spending time with family and friends, and you can often find her curled up with a book and her rescue cat, Summer, who is a happenstance of sheer serendipity. She is a member of the Authors Guild and the Sacramento chapter of the California Writer’s Club.A percentage of the proceeds from Amber's Way will be donated to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, Bloomingdale, Illinois
  • 19. Bookable Space with Anton Skornyakov

    In this episode of Bookable Space, Anton Skornyakov reads from The Art of Slicing Work: How to Navigate Unpredictable Projects.About the BookIgnoring the problem won’t make it go away.And yet, that’s exactly what most organizations do when unpredictability arises. Instead of fighting against it, why not work with unpredictability instead?In The Art of Slicing Work, Anton Skornyakov shows you how to navigate unpredictability and stay focused on delivering results that matter—allowing for steady and controllable progress, creating a sense of shared ownership and responsibility, and maximizing the value of the work produced.This isn’t another Scrum-based product development book for the tech crowd, nor is it a theoretical leadership framework. It’s a real-world, low-jargon guide filled with stories, explanations, and lessons developed and honed through years of organizational coaching.With this book, you will gain new insight into how to lead your teams through unpredictable projects, whether in commercial, non-profit, or public sector organizations.About the authorAnton Skornyakov was born in Moscow, Russia before relocating to Germany at the age of 12. Trained as a mathematician and physicist, Anton earned a degree equivalent to a master's in mathematics from Cambridge, a diploma in physics from Humboldt University Berlin, and an MBA from Collége des Ingènieurs in Paris. Anton's dedication to organizational collaboration and Agile principles in the public and nonprofit sectors led him to his current role as co-founder and managing director of Agile.Coach. In this capacity, he has coached nearly a hundred organizations and thousands of individuals in the art of slicing work. His upcoming book, The Art of Slicing Work, encapsulates the culmination of numerous stories, lessons, and principles gathered throughout his coaching journey. The Art of Slicing Work (March 2024) will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever books are sold.
  • 18. Bookable Space with Madeline Bocaro

    In this episode of Bookable Space, host Yvonne Battle-Felton is joined by Madeline Bocaro. Madeline reads from her book In Your Mind- The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono. About the book: In Your Mind - The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono The true story of the woman John Lennon loved. This is the ultimate biography and reference guide to Yoko Ono's life and work. It is the first complete exploration of her avant-garde art, activism, films and music in stunning detail. Includes deep insights about Ono’s life (thirty-three years before meeting Lennon, twelve years with him, and over forty years of creativity since his death). The book addresses the undeserved negativity that Yoko has received as a child of war in Japan, as an Asian woman and as the wife of one of the Beatles. We can all learn from Yoko's positivity and her effective healing methods.BIO: Author and journalist Madeline Bocaro is a passionate fan from New York, with deep knowledge about rock and roll. Her informative and insightful writing keeps its history and legacy alive. Madeline has written the acclaimed biography In Your Mind – The Infinite Universe of Yoko Ono. She has contributed to many books and documentaries about music.
  • 17. Bookable Space with Tim Stretton

    In this episode of Bookable Space, host Yvonne Battle-Felton is joined by Tim Stretton. Tim will be reading from Catfish Alley.From the book:I once had a girlfriend back in Scotland, Lorna, who was into astrology, karma, healing crystals and all that shite. She always said the universe had a way of knowing when you needed something and providing for you. In my experience, what it generally provides is a kick in the bollocks.Tommy Chisholm is in trouble.His dream life in Barcelona is unravelling. He’s broke, his writing career has stalled, and maybe it’s time to pack up and go home.But then he’s recruited by an organised crime gang to help them rob an art gallery. His financial worries will be over at a stroke, and all he needs to do is seduce someone he’s never met.Everything is going perfectly. Until he loses his head over the woman he is meant to be exploiting. About the Auhor: Tim Stretton has published six novels, and his seventh, Catfish Alley, was published by SpellBound Books in June. He writes fantasy and science fiction as Tim Stretton, and crime as T. M. Stretton.He has also been published by Macmillan New Writing and Tor. His fantasy novels include the Annals of Mondia trilogy (Dragonchaser, The Dog of the North and The Last Free City) and his most recent series is the steampunk Fractured Empire sequence, Bitter Sky and A Little Poison.More recently he has been working on crime fiction. In addition to Catfish Alley, he has recently completed two more novels in the ‘Barcelonoir’ crime trilogy, Casanova Street and Diamond Boulevard.Tim was born and raised on the Isle of Wight, and has lived in West Sussex for most of his adult life. He has a degree in English and American Literature from the University of Kent. He was also a senior editor at the international Vance Integral Edition project. Before concentrating on writing full-time, he was the deputy finance director of a local authority and also worked as a trainer and consultant. His non-fiction has appeared in publications as diverse as the Local Government Chronicle and Introvert, Dear.He is a member of the Crime Writers' Association, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Association, the Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors.You can find him online at and follow him on Twitter (@timstretton) and Instagram (@tim_stretton).
  • 16. Bookable Space with Micki R. Pettit

    In this episode of Bookable Space, host novelist Yvonne Battle-Felton is joined by Micki R. Pettit. Micki reads from A Kiss for Maggie Moore and talks about research, writing, and more.Born in Wyoming and raised in New Mexico, Micki R. Pettit has been a Texan for twenty-six years, living in Houston with her husband and now twenty-one-year-old, A&M sons. Micki is a former radio personality and voice talent with vocal experience spanning musical theater, opera, big band, rock, and country. She is currently lead female singer with the folk group Bandella and performs with the Bay Area Chorus of Greater Houston. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, she is an experienced copywriter whose personal writing has appeared in various Native American-themed publications. Upon moving to Houston, she was instrumental in the creation and execution of Contact, the Astronaut Spouses Group quarterly newsletter, and served as content coordinator before becoming its editor. A Kiss for Maggie Moore is Micki R. Pettit’s debut novel. She is currently working on String of Pearls, the story of two women at different stages of entanglement with the same man. One is divorcing him, the other is soon to be his bride.About the bookSmart-mouthed Maggie Moore is instantly smitten with the laid back, sometimes infuriating Bucky. Too bad he has eyes for her best friend Melinda. Their triangle of friendship and emerging romance is easily eclipsed by the free-spirited adventures of childhood, but when the turmoil of adolescence stirs unresolved feelings, and doing the right thing means betraying her own heart, Maggie must grapple with a moral dilemma that impacts them all. With a supporting cast of unforgettable characters, and set against the backdrop of rural Wyoming during the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, Micki R. Pettit gracefully weaves an endearing and humorous tale of first experiences that cuts to the heart of sacrificial love.