We often say things are bigger and better, and in the case of Altrincham Word Fest 2019, it’s true! Now in their second year, two-woman team Anne Earley, an events manager and marketeer, and Yoko Isami, a printmaker and artist, Altrincham residents both, have expanded the number of events they have lined up, along with the number of venues.
The 15 book talks, reading events and writing workshops taking place over the fortnight-long festival now encompass the lovely Town Hall (a favourite for weddings!) along with the newly opened Library on Pott Street, as well as altspace, Pi Bar and Coco’s Lounge. There’s more of a range of prices too, with events that aren’t free starting at just £5.
The thinking behind Altrincham Word Fest has always been participation oriented – Anne and Yoko want their guest authors to encourage attendees to read, but also to write. So as well as listening to some of the North West’s leading writing talent, you can learn from them – and helping you put pen to paper this year are Clare Stuart, director of 2018’s Women In Words Poetry Weekend at Dunham Massey, and Shirley May, director of the Young Identity writing collective, running a workshop for young people aged 16 to 21.
Advice comes courtesy award-winning lifestyle blogger Susan Earlam, discussing online writing with Digital Witch Victoria Sorzano, plus writer, editor, publisher and creative writing lecturer Nicholas Royle, who is full of tips on how to get your work published.
As well as listening to some of the North West’s leading writing talent, you can learn from them – helping you put pen to paper…
Back this year with words of wisdom and plenty of inspiration are flash fiction expert and Sawn-off Tales writer David Gaffney and purveyor of fine creative nonfiction Kate Feld – with both, you’ll learn about different writing techniques and get started (and maybe even finish a first draft!) on a short-short story or a piece or personal memoir.
The festival includes a number of talks, including crime writers Cath Staincliffe, award-winning author of the Sal Kilkenny private eye series, and David Nolan, who will be discussing his thriller Black Moss with David Prior, editor of Altrincham Today. Jonathan Swinton will be reading from his new book Alan Turing’s Manchester and talking about research, and former Haçienda DJ Dave Haslam will be spilling the beans about hob-nobbing with Tony Wilson, Terry Hall, Neneh Cherry, David Byrne and Sonic Youth, who, if his book title is anything to go by, slept on his floor.
Another highlight is an evening with Tom Jenks, a prolific writer of experimental poetry and prose, librettist and performance artist, and a regular on the Manchester spoken word scene for a number of years (including as one-third of the organising power behind reading series The Other Room and as a co-promoter of the Enemies Project and European Camarade performances). He will be joined by visual artist Kevin Linnane, producing his responses to Tom’s work as the evening progresses.
And of course performance is super important to any writer – what are those worried-over, hard-worked-out words without an audience? Along with a comedy stand-up night, this year’s Altrincham Word Fest is letting you enjoy an exhilarating evening of the best new writing and spoken word hosted by Jane Clare Bradley at a special of That’s What She Said on Wednesday 15 May, and there’s a poetry open mic you can sign up for a week later – put some of those workshops to the test!
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.