International Mother Language Day 2021

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Lemn Sissay.
Poet Lemn Sissay.

International Mother Language Day, online, 16–28 February 2021, free entry - Visit now

Manchester City of Literature marks this year’s International Mother Language Day through a number of exciting events happening from 16 to 28 February with various partners. International Mother Language Day takes place around the world annually on 21 February, but this year in our very own UNESCO Manchester City of Literature the celebrations actually run over a number of days.

In 2019 and 2020, over 5,000 people engaged with International Mother Language Day (IMLD) across the city centre and neighbourhoods, with involvement from the likes of bestselling and award-winning poet Lemn Sissay.

Now in their fourth 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, due to open to the public when restrictions allow.

In 2019 and 2020, over 5,000 people engaged with International Mother Language Day (IMLD) across the city centre and neighbourhoods, with involvement from the likes of bestselling and award-winning poet, author and Chancellor of The University of Manchester Lemn Sissay MBE and Anjum Malik, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Script and Poetry) at Manchester Writing School. For 2021, the Manchester City of Literature (MCoL) network is increasing the cultural content of the programme and making international links with other UNESCO Creative Cities, particularly through online platforms. The events involve libraries, cultural venues, community groups, universities, schools, and individual poets and writers, and represent a celebration of the nearly 200 languages spoken in Manchester and the cultural diversity that is one of our city’s strengths.

The annual Manchester In Translation conference this year heads online for three days 16 to 18 February, or how about trying your hand at Mandarin with the Confucius Institute? From Manchester Museum’s community translation project to a programme of Centre of New Writing events hosted by the Martin Harris Centre (including Macaronic Poetry EveningDecolonising Mother Tongues and Manchester’s DNA with Zaffar Kunial), IMLD activities include poetry workshops, multilingual storytelling for families, a multi-language mushaira night of song and poetry and the creation of a special Manchester Audio Cookbook by artist Sumay Wu, made up of recipes and stories in different languages. Manchester Poetry Library plays host to Our City Of Languages on 21 February, with Hafsah Aneela Bashir, and launches its Chinese language poetry collection on 16 February with Jennifer Lee Tsai, Kit Fan and Natalie Linh Bolderston, and its Polish language poetry collection on 27 February, in a special Polish Language Event led by poet and translator Bohdan Piasecki.

All events are free. Dates and times vary - check the Manchester City of Literature website for details.

International Mother Language Day, online

16–28 February 2021
Free entry