Manchester Literature Festival 2022

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Kamila Shamsie. Photo Alex von Tunzelman
Poet and performer Inua Ellams.

Manchester Literature Festival at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 7–23 October 2022, from £5 - Book now

Every year, Manchester Literature Festival presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from across the globe and, for the seventeenth edition, you can be sure that there will be plenty of events to pick your way through. From Central Library to Manchester Poetry Library – celebrating its first birthday – MLF runs in venues around the UNESCO City of Literature.

Keep an eye on the MLF website and socials for information on tickets – some are selling fast, and some events have already sold out!

The dates for 2022’s main festival programme are 7 to 23 October, with a number of Bookend events to keep your eye out for. Expect household names alongside up-and-coming talent, and poetry plus prose, talks and discussions, and even inspirational art and uplifting music, plus wanderings to accompany your pondering.

On 8 October, Manchester Literature Festival patron and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing Kamila Shamsie chats to broadcaster and BBC presenter Razia Iqbal about her compelling new novel Best of Friends. Kamila won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018 with her novel Home Fire, praised by the judges as ‘the book for our times’. Her five previous novels include Burnt Shadows, shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and A God in Every Stone, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize.

The first weekend sees another award-winning writer, Kit de Waal, at Central Library on Sunday 9 October. She’ll be reading extracts from her BBC Radio 4-serialised memoir Without Warning & Only Sometimes and talking to Ellah P Wakatama about how a childhood of opposites and extremes in Birmingham’s Moseley spurred her on. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was published by Penguin in 2016 – it won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the year, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and has been adapted for TV by Lenny Henry’s production company. Her second novel, 2018’s The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was followed by Six Foot Six, YA novel Becoming Dinah and the short story collection Supporting Cast, out in 2020.

On Tuesday 18 October, Jon McGregor is at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, introducing the audience to the isolation of the world’s southernmost continent via his new novel Lean Fall Stand. Jon McGregor is the author of two short story collections and five novels, three of which have been longlisted for the Booker Prize, including his debut, If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things. His third novel Even the Dogs won the International Dublin Literary Award, making Jon the first English writer to take the prize in 12 years. His last novel Reservoir 13 won the Costa Novel Award.

In the poetry corner, Contact is the place to go. On Tuesday 11 October, hear from two “electrifying” performers, Inua Ellams and Yomi Sode, sharing work from their latest acclaimed poetry collections, The Actual and Manorism respectively. They will be introduced by Keisha Thompson, Artistic Director of Contact, poet and creator of award-winning solo show Man on the Moon, who will also appear at the More Fiya showcase on Saturday 22 October.

This anthology, edited by Kayo Chingonyi (author of A Blood Condition and Kumukanda, which won the Dylan Thomas Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award), brings together the current generation of Black British poets and this event brings together some of the contributors for an exciting evening of live performance. Jackie Kay, former Makar of Scotland and author of numerous works including Other Lovers, Life Mask, Fiere and Red Dust Road, will be joined by Malika Booker, founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and author of Pepper Seed, Jason Allen-Paisant, author of Thinking with Trees, winner of this year’s OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, and Rommi Smith, threetime BBC writer-in-residence and winner of a Northern Writers’ Prize.

Keep an eye on the MLF website and socials for information on tickets – some are selling fast, and some events have already sold out!

Many events are free, some are priced, concessionary fees may apply, most are ticketed. Events take place across the city and online. Check the programme for full details of price, venue and start time.

Manchester Literature Festival at Manchester Central Library, Manchester

7–23 October 2022
From £5