Festival Of Libraries 2022 at various venues

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Lemn Sissay. Photo by Hamish Brown
Poet and Festival Of Libraries Ambassador Lemn Sissay. Photo by Hamish Brown.

15 — 19 June 2022 Entrance is free — Visit now

Manchester UNESCO City of Literature’s Festival Of Libraries is back with a programme of 80 events for all running from Wednesday 15 to Sunday 19 June.

This is the second year for the county-wide celebration of Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries, and once again features a varied and vibrant programme that highlights the library network’s offer for people from all backgrounds and demographics, with events taking in wellbeing, activism, culture and creativity, digital and information, and reading, and showcasing digital art commissions, writer residencies, dance, performance, panel talks and walking tours.

Festival Ambassador and BAFTA-nominated, international prize-winning writer Lemn Sissay OBE appears at Manchester Central Library leading the Inspired By Libraries events.

The events take place across Greater Manchester’s rich tapestry of heritage libraries, including Central Library – the busiest public library in the country – and internationally renowned institutions like Chetham’s, The Portico and John Rylands, as well as the equally important and vital local libraries that deliver much needed support and services to their communities. There are also tours of the book collections of Manchester University and Bolton NHS Libraries, not normally open to the public, with highlights including the only entire hospital based copy of the human printed genome.

There are plenty of free family activities and a showcase author event on 18 June in Manchester city centre with Sir Lenny Henry and his book The Boy With Wings, as well as much for adults, including writing for wellbeing workshops, shared reading experiences and author evenings across the region’s libraries. King of Manc Noir David Nolan is at Bredbury Library on 15 June (7-8pm) while crime writer Chris Simms graces Marple Library with his presence on 16 June (7-8pm), and there’s more crime at The Portico, hosting the first Palmer Crime Writing Lecture on 15 June (6.30pm) as part of the festival.

Festival Ambassador and BAFTA-nominated, international prize-winning writer Lemn Sissay OBE appears at Manchester Central Library leading the Inspired By Libraries events, which will hear from a number of famous faces on how libraries have had an lasting positive effect on their lives, including historian Greg Jenner (Horrible Histories; You’re Dead to Me) at Urmston, Salford-born BBC Radio Manchester DJ Mike Sweeney in Eccles, The Repair Shop‘s Jay Blades, who famously learnt to read at the age of 51, at Bolton Le Mans Crescent, and actress and activist Julie Hesmondhalgh.

Former Scottish Makar Jackie Kay CBE will be chatting to visual artist Abigail Reynolds (her Elliptical Reading project is part of the British Art Show 9) at Manchester Poetry Library, on the Manchester Metropolitan University campus, which is hosting the free Love To Read strand. Open to all, it features, on 15 June (7-8pm, online), poet Andrew McMillan, presenting 100 Queer Poems, a new anthology which he curated alongside Mary Jean Chan, and award-winning author Lara Williams, reading from and chatting about her new novel The Odyssey on 16 June (2-3pm, Manchester Poetry Library). Throughout the Festival Of Libraries, there will be 20-minute introductory tours of Manchester Poetry Library and the chance to join up, as well as a discussion about the future of poetry libraries.

On 18 June (1-3.30pm), poet and Burgess Fellow Will Harris will be running a creative writing workshop in the book-lined and wood-panelled Chief Librarian’s Office at Central Library – his debut poetry book RENDANG was published by Granta and was a Poetry Book Society Choice and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

15 — 19 June 2022 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Festival Of Libraries 2022 at various venues

Fairfield Social Club

Launching in spring 2024, Fairfield Social Club is a multi-purpose site next to Angel Meadows Park in the Green Quarter.

The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.


Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, taking in four or five venues across three hours, plus six high-quality glasses of wine.

Juno Books

Friendly local queer and intersectional feminist bookshop in Sheffield. Visit for interesting fiction and non fiction books.

The Dusty Miller

Family friendly pub situated in the beautiful village of Mytholmroyd.

Winckley Square
Winckley Square

Hosting a variety of year-round events, from guided walks to jazz evenings, Winckley Square is a Georgian square packed with history in Preston city centre.

What's on: Literature

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean
Ghosts at the Old Library

Levenshulme Old Library has commissioned brand-new festive ghost stories from six writers for three special atmospheric lantern-lit reading events after hours in the Carnegie building.

from £10
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Nathan Parker
Verbose at The King’s Arms

One of Manchester’s longest-running monthly spoken word and live literature events, Verbose welcomes two invited headliners to the stage each month, plus a selection of open mic performers.

free entry

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