International Mother Language Day 2023

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Anjum Malik. Photo by Randulph Redlin
Poet Anjum Malik. Photo by Randulph Redlin.

International Mother Language Day at Manchester Central Library, Manchester 21 February — 31 March 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

Championing language diversity and its connection to cultural and traditional heritage, International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is celebrated around the world annually on 21 February, and, in our very own UNESCO Manchester City of Literature, the main events will be running between 17 February and 2 March, with a special exhibition running until 31 March.

Whether you speak a particular language fluently, are learning a new language, or just want to find out more about languages in general, this is the perfect opportunity.

Now in their sixth consecutive year in Manchester, the International Mother Language Day celebrations will be bringing together a range of partners, from the Centre for New Writing at University of Manchester to the Manchester Metropolitan campus-based Manchester Poetry Library, and incorporating Manchester City Council and Manchester Literature Festival. Since 2019, over 12,000 people have engaged with IMLD across the city centre and neighbourhoods, with involvement from the likes of bestselling and award-winning poet Lemn Sissay OBE and, this year, a fun day at six of the public libraries across Greater Manchester. Manchester is a city full of languages – we have the densest multilingual population for a city of our size – and around 14 languages will feature in this year’s IMLD celebrations in the city, not including the languages participants will bring themselves.

Within only days of Manchester Museum reopening following a £13 million refurbishment, the pioneering Multilingual Museum will be celebrating the language diversity of the city (21 February, free, no booking required – just drop in between 10am and 4pm). Whether you speak a particular language fluently, are learning a new language, or just want to find out more about languages in general, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about and hear other tongues, chat in your own words about some of the Museum’s objects or try your hand at translating.

The brand-new poem ‘Words From The Childhood Home’ will be available to view from 20 February as part of the free Manchester City of Literature IMLD 2023 exhibition taking place in the Manchester Histories Hub (Lower Ground Floor, Manchester Central Library) from 1 February until 31 March. ‘Words From The Childhood Home’ is a multilingual chain poem created by poets representing the UNESCO Cities of Literature network. The poem was begun by Anjum Malik – a Manchester Multilingual City Poet writing in Urdu and English and a senior lecturer at Man Met’s Manchester Writing School – who contributed the opening four-line stanza on the theme of ‘childhood home’. Each participant was asked to add a stanza in their mother tongue and with a translation into English in response to the words that preceded theirs, culminating in a piece that captures the experience of childhood around the world and reflects on the power of family, native languages and memory.

International Mother Language Day at Manchester Central Library, Manchester 21 February — 31 March 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

Ciarán Hodgers. Photo by Wesley Storey
LiteratureManchester
Word Central at Central Library

Word Central is a long-standing live literature favourite at Central Library and features open mic performers and a special guest, brought to you by Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press.

free entry

Where to go near International Mother Language Day 2023

St Peters Square Manchester
City Centre
St Peter’s Square

St Peter’s Square is a public space in Manchester – home to the city’s iconic library, town hall, Pankhurst statue, art gallery and famous Midland Hotel.

Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
City Centre
Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery

The Charles Barry-designed, Grade I-listed Manchester Art Gallery is one of the city’s leading galleries and is back open for visitors once more.

Chinatown
Hotel
The Alan

This high-end city-centre restaurant has an excellent afternoon tea option that more than matches up to the superb main menu.

Salut Wines
Chinatown
Bar or Pub
Salut Wines

Salut wines pride themselves in offering “wider horizons beyond the safe choices.” With 42 wines by the glass and a regularly changing selection of bottles in their Enomatic wine preservation machines (or  “wine jukebox,” as they’re colloquially known), this is one of be best bars in Manchester for exploring new vintages.

Manchester
Restaurant
Friska

Latest branch of Friska, the independent healthy fast food chain.

Manchester
Restaurant
Don Giovanni

Traditional Italian restaurant, serving everything from pizza to steak. All this in a large modern venue with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Chinatown
Restaurant
Manchester Art Gallery Cafe

Summery bakes, seasonal salads and fresh light meals at Manchester Art Gallery’s in-house café, courtesy of highly-regarded Head Chef Matthew Taylor.

City Centre
Tourist Attraction
Manchester Town Hall

Re-opening in 2024, Manchester Town Hall is a monument to Victorian Manchester’s ambition, and one of the city’s most-loved landmarks.

City Centre
Tourist Attraction
Albert Square

A public square in the heart of Manchester which plays hosts to festivals and major events. Home to the Albert Memorial and statues of Bishop James Fraser, John Bright, Oliver Heywood and William Ewart Gladstone.

Contemporary Six, art gallery in Manchester
City Centre
Gallery
Contemporary Six

Contemporary Six is an independent commercial art gallery in Manchester city centre, set up by Alex Reuben in 2010.

What's on: Literature

Ciarán Hodgers. Photo by Wesley Storey
LiteratureManchester
Word Central at Central Library

Word Central is a long-standing live literature favourite at Central Library and features open mic performers and a special guest, brought to you by Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press.

free entry

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