Manchester Literature Festival is back for a 14th year, running 4-20 October, with the odd Bookend event chalked up before (for example Colson Whitehead on 28 August) and after, such as Inua Ellams’ November reveal of his work produced as part of a special commission at Manchester Museum. New for 2019, there’s a special Booker Prize 2019 shortlist showcase, where some of this year’s shortlisted authors will read from and discuss their novels the Friday before the winner is unveiled on Monday 14 October. The shortlist isn’t out until 3 September, but the longlist includes some writers already on the bill for MLF, including John Lanchester, Deborah Levy and the Centre for New Writing’s own Jeanette Winterson.
This year, MLF has a loose theme around music – it’s subtitled ‘Poetry, Politics, Pop & Rock’ – with acclaimed authors and cultural icons rubbing shoulders and in some cases joining forces. Joy Division’s Stephen Morris talks to Jon Savage in the 40th-anniversary year of the release of Unknown Pleasures, Suede’s Brett Anderson is here again, this time talking to Katie Popperwell, Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys is in conversation with poet Andrew McMillan, and Dave Haslam chats to Greg Thorpe about the second tome in his ‘Art Decades’ mini-series out with Manchester’s Confingo, We The Youth: Keith Haring’s New York Nightlife. (For more on this and other book-related action, check out the Indie Book Fair here.)
We’re also looking forward to the meeting of minds that is the newly appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and one of Manchester’s singer-songwriter exports, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey
We’re also looking forward to the meeting of minds that is the newly appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and one of Manchester’s singer-songwriter exports, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey. Both are recipients of the Ivor Novello Award (Guy has three, along with a BRIT and the Mercury Music Prize) and both broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music; Guy as the host of his own show and Simon alongside Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie. So from a common starting point, the pair will discuss their work and writing processes – is writing poetry any different to writing songs? – and talk about their literary and musical influences, and how working in collaboration with other artists contributes to their oeuvre. They will also think about how the people, places and landscape of the North have inspired and shaped their work, and the event is presented in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, where place-writing is an important strand and where Guy Garvey is a visiting professor of songwriting.
More on MLF as we hear about it – tickets become available to the general public for most events from Wednesday 14 August; check out the MLF website for all dates, times, prices and venues.