Roger Robinson and Malika Booker online at Manchester Literature Festival

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Roger Robinson.
Poet Roger Robinson.

25 March — 1 April 2021 Tickets from £6 — Book now

TS Eliot Prize-winner Roger Robinson performs poems from his brand-new Manchester Literature Festival commission around Black Lives Matter and chats to Malika Booker, who co-founded international writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen with him in 2001.

Poet Roger Robinson’s commission sees him explore the idea of the Black Lives Matter movement in the context of the British experience and this will be the first time the new work has been performed.

Malika – a lecturer at Manchester Writing School and one of the judges of the Manchester Writing Competition (the poetry prize-winner was just named as James Pollock), and winner of the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem – is appearing at the online StAnza Poetry Festival on Saturday 13 March; more here.

This is the first in a series of new commissions for MLF, supported by an award from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund and presented in partnership with the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester. The next is by Caleb Femi, airing on 8 April. Poet Roger Robinson’s commission sees him explore the idea of the Black Lives Matter movement in the context of the British experience and this will be the first time the new work has been performed.

Raymond Antrobus, appearing at this month’s Litfest beaming out of Lancaster, calls him “one of the most prominent voices in Caribbean-British poetry” and Roger Robinson is a celebrated poet, musician and activist who has performed around the world, touring extensively with the British Council.

His most recent collection, A Portable Paradise, was launched at an event at Tate Modern in 2019 and the Peepal Tree Press-published book was awarded the TS Eliot Prize 2019 at the Southbank Centre in January 2020 plus the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize 2020. A New Statesman book of the year, A Portable Paradise includes poems about the Grenfell disaster, post-Windrush Britain and fatherhood, and has been described, variously, as “heart-wrenching”, “generous” and “fervent”.

His first full poetry collection, The Butterfly Hotel, was published by Peepal Tree Press in 2012 and shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize and The Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, and was highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize 2013. He has also published the poetry pamphlets Suitcase and Suckle, the latter winning the People’s Book Prize in 2009, along with a book of short fiction, Adventures in 3D.

An RSL Fellow, he was chosen by Decibel as one of fifty writers to have influenced the black-British writing canon. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works, co-founder of Spoke Lab and lead vocalist for King Midas Sound, and he has been commissioned by the National Trust, London Open House, BBC, the National Portrait Gallery, V&A, INIVA, MK Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East, where he also was associate artist.

This online MLF event will be pre-recorded and captioned, and broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday 25 March. It will then be available to watch for another seven days (until 1 April).

25 March — 1 April 2021 Tickets from £6 Book now


  • Captioned

Where to go near Roger Robinson and Malika Booker online at Manchester Literature Festival

caprismcr - restaurant
City Centre
Capri’s Cucina Italiana

The King Street area isn’t short of popular Italian restaurants, but none strike quite the same note as Capri’s, where you’ll be greeted like family and served some of the most authentic Neapolitan food in Manchester.

The Feel Good Club exterior
Event venue
Feel Good Club

Our flagship Feel Good Club in Manchester, open 7 days a week, providing a beautiful friendly environment for coffee, brunch, lunch, cocktails and beers with an amazing selection of non alcoholic beverages too.

Bar or Pub
Finders Keepers

Welcoming waterside bar in New Islington Marina, serving a wide array of carefully-curated cocktails.

City Centre

Highly-regarded wine-led, French-leaning wine bar and rooftop restaurant in the city centre.

Image licensed with iStock.
Stockport Central Library

Stockport Central Library is a Carnegie library, built 1913–15 in the Edwardian Baroque style. It continues to serve as Stockport’s largest library.

The Edge exterior
Event venue
The Edge, Wigan

Opened in September 2017, The Edge Arena is Wigan’s performance, conference and event venue.


Hummingbird is one of Liverpool’s most stylish and timeless cocktail bars.

City Centre

Elegant cocktail bar in the centre of Manchester, with a relaxed atmosphere and wonderfully friendly staff.

What's on: Literature

Ian Humphreys
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
Writer Gaynor Jones
Weird Women at Levenshulme Old Library

To mark International Women’s Day, Levenshulme Old Library has pulled together a programme of activities called Weird Women, which includes Unheim-Lit, a showcase of strange and uncanny spoken word.

free entry
LIVEwire at The Edge

Following sold-out shows in 2019 and 2021, LIVEwire is back at The Edge this March, and again in June, with an electric line-up.

from £13.00

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.