Neil Campbell in conversation with Nicholas Royle at Waterstone’s

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Writer Neil Campbell. Photo by Gwen Riley Jones
Writer Neil Campbell. Photo by Gwen Riley Jones.

Neil Campbell in conversation with Nicholas Royle at Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, City Centre 11 May 2018 Entrance is free

Hailing from and living in Manchester, author Neil Campbell is suitably qualified to write about the city, and this event marks the launch of Zero Hoursthe second book in what is being called his “Manchester Trilogy”. The first was Sky Hooks, which came out in 2016, and Neil also has four collections of short stories to his name (launching the most recent, Fog Lane, at Verbose last year) plus two poetry chapbooks.

Published by Salt on 15 April (the same day that Man City were crowned Premier League champions – the narrator of Sky Hooks used to train at Platt Lane, so perhaps this is somewhat serendipitous), the new book Zero Hours zooms in on the life of a young wannabe writer who takes a low-paid job in a post office sorting depot. Struggling to square the demands of his zero-hours existence and the attitudes of his colleagues with his own aspirations, he vents his frustrations by scribbling down his thoughts and seeking solace in the unlikely form of a rescued tortoise, which simultaneously holds a mirror up to his disastrous love life.

Already drawing comparisons with Charles Bukowski’s Post Office (published in 1971), Neil Campbell’s second novel takes the mailman meme and drags him into the 21st century, landing him squarely in post-Recession pre-Brexit Britain with austerity politics, unending uncertainty and difficult decisions all around. As the familiar skyline morphs before the Mancunian protagonist’s eyes, change in his own life is bound to be inevitable, but thanks to Campbell’s trademark keen observational style, black humour and witty dialogue, you can expect a funny and ultimately uplifting read.

Chatting to Neil at this event is fellow novelist and a senior lecturer in creative writing at Man Met Nicholas Royle, who, wearing his hat of editor for Salt Publishing, has published stories by Neil three times in the brilliant annual Best British Short Stories anthology series – so there should be plenty to talk about, but come armed with a question or two in any case.

Neil Campbell in conversation with Nicholas Royle at Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, City Centre 11 May 2018 Entrance is free

Where to go near Neil Campbell in conversation with Nicholas Royle at Waterstone’s

City Centre
Bar or Pub
The Botanist

The Botanist on Deansgate, Manchester, does botanical cocktails and toothsome food with aplomb.

Manchester
Restaurant
KAI Deansgate

Kai is a Turkish restaurant on Deansgate, set up by the brains behind the well-regarded Zouk restaurant. Expect excellent mezze plates and an open grill that releases wonderful aromas throughout the venue.

Gaucho Manchester
Manchester
Restaurant
Gaucho Manchester

Based in a converted Methodist church, Gaucho is one of the best-looking restaurants in Manchester, with a steak-heavy menu to match.

City Centre
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Côte Restaurant

Elegantly laid out with simple wooden tables and Burgundy-coloured banquettes, Côte in Manchester does brasserie food, and does it well.

City Centre
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Lunya Manchester

Lunya is a Spanish and Catalan deli and restaurant in Manchester’s stunning Barton Arcade. The food is reliably fresh and the staff both charming and incredibly knowledgable.

Royal Exchange Theatre
City Centre
Theatre
Royal Exchange Theatre

The Royal Exchange is one of the most celebrated theatres in the country, highly regarded for both new writing and its take on the classics.

Bloom Cafe
Manchester
Bloom Cafe

Bloom Cafe is a stunning cafe based on Deansgate in Manchester, serving up an array of hot and cold drinks, including a range of CBD options.

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