Chorlton Book Festival 2021

Part of our Literature guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Chorlton Book Festival 2021
Poet and performer Rose Condo. Photo by Charles Leek.

Chorlton Book Festival 2021 at Chorlton Library, Chorlton, 17–25 September 2021, free entry - Visit now

Chorlton Book Festival is back for its 17th annual event both in real life, centring around the Chorlton Library hub, and also online, and this year you can enjoy performance poetry, Northern noir, family fun, and history and heritage.

Getting the festival off to a good start at the lovely Carnegie library on Friday 17 September (7.45–9.30pm, £3/£1 concessions, pay on the door) are The Manchester Poets, hearing from a number of open mic floor poets before welcoming Fokkina McDonnell as guest. Fokkina’s pamphlet A Stolen Hour came out last year with Grey Hen Press, following two collections: Another Life (Oversteps Books, 2016) and Nothing Series, Nothing Dangerous (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019). Her third collection Remembering / Disease has just been accepted for publication next year, after receiving a Northern Writers’ Award in 2020, when poet Vahni Capildeo praised the ‘beautiful minimalism of the submission’. The Manchester Poets have delivered diverse and exciting poetry for over 40 years, featuring hundreds of guest poets in that time, with a real cross-section of performance poets alongside more ‘serious’ writers. In 2018, founder Dave Tarrant and regular MC Copland Smith received the Ted Slade Award for services to poetry. Anyone is welcome to attend the evening and the post-show chat continues until late in the pub next door.

The Manchester Poets have delivered diverse and exciting poetry for over 40 years, featuring hundreds of guest poets in that time, with a real cross-section of performance poets alongside more ‘serious’ writers.

On Sunday 19 September (7-8.30pm, free, but sign up via Eventbrite to get the link), the festival gets dark, with Northern Noir: Saima Mir & Karen Woods. There’s nowhere quite like the north as a setting for murder stories and misdeeds, and this online event brings together three writers of Northern Noir to discuss why the region lends itself so well to being a backdrop to crime fiction. Rob Parker, who has written the Ben Bracken thrillers, Crook’s Hollow and the bestselling Audible Original Far From The Tree, will be chatting with authors Saima Mir and Karen Woods. From Bradford, Saima is an award-winning journalist and her debut novel The Khan has been garnering rave reviews, with Stylist calling it ‘bold, addictive and brilliant’ and Cosmopolitan calling it ‘compelling and gritty’. The gripping, multi-faceted thriller follows successful lawyer Jia Khan as she is forced to face her family’s background in organised crime after her father is murdered. Karen, meanwhile, came to writing a little later in life but now has 22 novels under her belt, the latest being ‘pulse-pounding’ Manchester-based gangland saga Tracks.

There’s An Evening Out With Flapjack Press at The Edge theatre on Monday 20 September (8-9.30pm, free, but book tickets), when you’re invited to join the award-winning wordsmiths of the Salford-based publishing house (and regular hosts of Central Library’s Word Central) for an evening of spoken word and performance poetry. Expect laughter, and perhaps even some tears, as Rose Condo, Tony Curry, Anna Percy, Thick Richard, Rob Steventon and Geneviève L Walsh take to the stage. Stablemate Henry Normal has been chatting to many of them in his weekly lunchtime broadcasts – find out more here.

See the Chorlton Book Festival website for the full programme of events.

Blackstoke by Rob Parker
Blackstoke by Rob Parker

See the Chorlton Book Festival website for details of each event; times, venues and prices vary.

Chorlton Book Festival 2021 at Chorlton Library, Chorlton

17–25 September 2021
Free entry