The brand-new team behind Manchester’s UNESCO City of Literature joins forces with The Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing at the Martin Harris Centre, Comma Press and the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival, and publishers Commonword at Elizabeth Gaskell House for the first in its series of events – this one celebrating International Mother Language Day, which is officially marked globally on Wednesday 21 February.
Proceedings get underway on Tuesday evening with Man Met’s first-ever Urdu poetry symposium, or Mushaira, featuring Zahid Hussain, Anjum Malik and Manchester Muslim Writers. Urdu is represented again on Wednesday lunchtime by Shamshad Khan, joined by fellow Commonword poets, Jamaican and Patois speaker Shirley May and Farsi writer Fereshteh Mozzafarri. Refugee Tales in Rochdale sees Ian Duhig, David Herd and Anna Pincus read from the second in the Comma anthology series, while Ugandan novelist and short story writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is in conversation with Ellah Wakatama Allfrey at the University to round off the day itself. On Thursday, Man Met is hosting poetry workshops with Mary Jean Chan, André Naffis-Sahely, David Shook and the Poetry Translation Centre during the day then an evening of their readings, introduced by Helen Mort. The following Monday, we visit Japan via the Centre for New Writing, which welcomes Mariko Nagai and Richard Lloyd Parry.