Manchester Literature Festival online

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Rachel Long.

23 — 25 October 2020 Tickets from £5 — Book now

It’s all change this year as Manchester Literature Festival goes digital and reduces itself down to a tasty jus of 16 online events during its weekend celebration of words, running Friday 23 to Sunday 25 October. Tickets for #MLF20 are now available to book via the MLF website, with the menu dishing up leading writers and the literary stars of tomorrow, from the local scene to the international stage. Says MLF: “Our shared humanity has never been clearer. This year’s Manchester Literature Festival celebrates this connection through stories that deserve to be heard, voices that call for change, and powerful expressions of hope and resilience.”

We’re looking forward to hearing from Daisy Johnson and Sophie Mackintosh, hosted by the Centre for New Writing’s Jeanette Winterson. Author of short story collection Fen, Daisy Johnson’s debut novel, Everything Under, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018, when she was not yet 30, making her (beside Eleanor Catton) the youngest nominee in the prize’s history – Sophie Mackintosh’s debut The Water Cure was up for the gong the same year. The pair will be reading extracts from and discussing their latest novels – described as “powerful and disturbing” – Sisters and Blue Ticket respectively.

Jackie Kay hosts a Picador showcase featuring Raymond Antrobus, Jericho Brown, Rachel Long and Safiya Sinclair – “four prominent Black poets who speak powerfully to our present moment”

The #MLF20 programme also includes performances courtesy the new Manchester Poetry Library, work in translation, activities for families to enjoy together plus two partnership projects, including the participatory Poetry Exchange. Poet, playwright and recording artist Kae Tempest talks non-fiction with acclaimed author Max Porter, 2020 Booker Prize shortlistee Maaza Mengiste discusses her process with former Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Kamila Shamsie, and legendary writer, campaigner and civil rights activist Angela Davis is in conversation with poet and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay.

Jackie Kay, also a Patron of MLF, is then back to host a Picador showcase featuring Raymond Antrobus, Jericho Brown, Rachel Long and Safiya Sinclair – “four prominent Black poets who speak powerfully to our present moment and fuse the personal with the political”. Ted Hughes Award-winning Raymond Antrobus will read new work alongside poems from his debut collection The Perseverance, US poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Jericho Brown will present work from his collection, The Tradition, and Jamaican poet Safiya Sinclair will read from Cannibal.

British poet Rachel Long, meanwhile, will gives us a flavour of My Darling from the Lions – currently shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and described by Stylist as “the modern poetry we need to read right now”. Man Booker winner Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other, heaps on the praise: “An enchanting and heartwarming new voice in poetry.” Not to be missed.

23 — 25 October 2020 Tickets from £5 Book now

Where to go near Manchester Literature Festival online

Fairfield Social Club

Launching in spring 2024, Fairfield Social Club is a multi-purpose site next to Angel Meadows Park in the Green Quarter.

The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.


Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, taking in four or five venues across three hours, plus six high-quality glasses of wine.

Juno Books

Friendly local queer and intersectional feminist bookshop in Sheffield. Visit for interesting fiction and non fiction books.

The Dusty Miller

Family friendly pub situated in the beautiful village of Mytholmroyd.

Winckley Square
Winckley Square

Hosting a variety of year-round events, from guided walks to jazz evenings, Winckley Square is a Georgian square packed with history in Preston city centre.

What's on: Literature

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean
Ghosts at the Old Library

Levenshulme Old Library has commissioned brand-new festive ghost stories from six writers for three special atmospheric lantern-lit reading events after hours in the Carnegie building.

from £10
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Nathan Parker
Verbose at The King’s Arms

One of Manchester’s longest-running monthly spoken word and live literature events, Verbose welcomes two invited headliners to the stage each month, plus a selection of open mic performers.

free entry

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