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.