The Not Quite Light Weekend is back for a second fully fledged festival outing, taking place in venues around Salford this year from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 March. One such event is a rare sighting of The Real Story, whose sell-out In The Half-light evening for last year’s NQL featured the likes of Rachel Genn and Joanna Walsh.
This year, headline duties for Friday night’s The Real Story: Transition fall to novelist and essayist Jenn Ashworth, leading the charge of nonfiction stories exploring the themes of twilight, time and transition, and supported by a bill of established and emerging writers (full line-up to be announced), who will perform pieces written especially for the evening. Confirmed so far is Cath Nichols, whose latest poetry collection, This Is Not A Stunt, was published by Valley Press in 2017, and Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award winner Gaynor Jones, whose first flash fiction collection, Business As Usual, came out at the start of the year.
Behind the evening are The Real Story, a project devoted to promoting the form of nonfiction writing in the UK through events like this, writer development opportunities and a journal
Jenn Ashworth, meanwhile, has four novels to her name – from 2009’s Betty Trask Award-winning first novel, A Kind Of Intimacy, to 2016’s Fell, both of which have Morecambe Bay as their backdrop. In between, 2011 saw her named one of the UK’s 12 best new writers by the BBC The Culture Show, just as her second novel, Cold Light, was published; 2013’s The Friday Gospels was her third novel.
With publishing collective Curious Tales, alongside Emma Jane Unsworth and Richard V Hirst, Jenn has published three illustrated anthologies and “an enormous interactive novel in the shape of Preston Bus Station”, and – again with Richard – she co-wrote The Night Visitors, a horror novella out with Northern Alliance’s Dead Ink Books. A graduate of the Centre for New Writing in Manchester, she now teaches Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and her first collection of essays, Notes Made While Falling, is due out this year.
Behind the evening are The Real Story, a project devoted to promoting the form of nonfiction writing in the UK through events like this, writer development opportunities and a journal – originally founded by Kate Feld, TRS is now in the capable hands of Prestwich Book Festival founder Ebba Brooks and inaugural Writer in Residence for Salford’s Peel Park Adam Farrer.
Keep your eye on the NQL website for additional readers and also for details of Saturday-afternoon panel discussion and performance event The Dark City, when poets and authors including the aforementioned Kate Feld, John Rylands Library Writer in Residence Rosie Garland, Manchester Gothic’s Helen Darby and Emily Oldfield, and Manchester Prize judge (among other things) Nicholas Royle will be exploring the darker side of the city as inspiration for the likes of film noir and crime novels.