Chorlton Book Festival is back for its 18th annual event, “celebrating our coming of age over a cocktail brimming with northern flavours”, taking place from Friday 16 September to Saturday 24 September and centring around the Chorlton’s lovely Carnegie library. Featuring contemporary authors, performance poetry, Northern noir, family fun and games, and history and heritage, the website says: “We’re opening our library doors to writers and readers of all ages … So put that book down (for now!) and come and join in the fun.”
A four-day Writers’ Cafe is a brand-new highlight, taking place in The Edge theatre space, with four free sessions when you’ll find inspiration and prompts to put pen to paper – former Scottish Makar Jackie Kay opens the series.
Getting the festival off to a good start on Friday 16 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 Peter Sansom as guest. Editor, founder and co-director of The Poetry Business, Peter Sansom’s new collection Lanyard was recently published by Manchester’s Carcanet Press and is described as “a warm, witty book which vividly presents and celebrates working-class life with family at its heart”. The Manchester Poets have delivered diverse and exciting poetry for over 40 years, featuring hundreds of guest poets. Anyone is welcome to attend and the post-show chat continues until late in the pub next door.
Staying in the new going out? Head online on Sunday 18 September, when author Okechukwu Nzelu will be live on Instagram from 7pm. His first novel, The Private Joys Of Nnenna Maloney, won a Betty Trask Award, and made the Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist and the prestigious Portico Prize longlist. His new book is Here Again Now, described as “an immensely powerful novel about lovers, fathers and sons”.
There’s An Evening With Flapjack Press on Monday 19 September (7pm), 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 “a feast of entertaining and thought-provoking poetry”. Expect laughter, and perhaps even some tears as Gerry Potter, Laura Taylor, James Hartnell, Genevieve L Walsh and Tony Curry take to the stage, hosted by Melanie Neads.
On Thursday 22 September (7pm), author David Gaffney is introduced by our very own Literature Editor, writer and poet Sarah-Clare Conlon, as he presents his latest novel Out Of The Dark. Famous for his powerful flash fiction, and a graphic novelist to boot, David’s intriguing new book takes the film noir genre as its starting point, but where will it lead? “Holed up in his tower block, Daniel can’t stop watching an old B-movie on repeat. As film noir and real life begin to blur, is he being pulled into a similar whirlpool of deceit, corruption and violence?”
On Friday 23 September (7-8.30pm, Chorlton Central Church), the festival gets even darker, with Northern Noir featuring Sean Coleman (aka T S Hunter) and Alex Caan, introduced by Rob Parker, of Crime Central fame. There’s nowhere quite like the north as a setting for murder stories and misdeeds, and this event brings together three writers of Northern Noir to discuss why the region lends itself so well to being a backdrop to crime fiction and why the North continues to inspire new generations of thriller writers. Sean Coleman is the author of the Alex Ripley mysteries and tech thrillers The Code and DownTime and as T S Hunter wrote the smash-hit mystery series Soho Noir. Mancunian Alex Caan is the author of tense thrillers Cut To The Bone, First To Die and The Unbroken, featuring DS Moomy Khan and DI Sarah Heaton.
A four-day Writers’ Cafe is a brand-new highlight, taking place in The Edge theatre space, with four free sessions when you’ll find inspiration and prompts to put pen to paper – former Scottish Makar Jackie Kay opens the series on Wednesday 21 September and Rosie Garland brings proceedings to a close on Saturday 24 September.
See the Chorlton Book Festival website for the full programme of events. Unless stated otherwise, events are free and take place in Chorlton Library.