Word Central at Central Library

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Ciarán Hodgers. Photo by Wesley Storey
Ciarán Hodgers. Photo by Wesley Storey

Word Central at Manchester Central Library, Manchester 25 June 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Word Central is a long-standing live literature favourite that takes place every month at Central Library and features open mic performers and a special guest, brought to you by Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press.

Join some of the award-winning wordsmiths of Salford-based publishing house Flapjack Press and performers from further afield for the latest instalment in what you can expect to be a no-holds-barred evening of performance poetry, all compered by the affable Tony Curry.

Stepping up to Word Central headliner duties in June is Ciarán Hodgers, a multi-award winning Irish poet based in the UK, whose second poetry collection, Solastalgia, was published by Burning Eye Books in November 2023. It explores everything from mental health and climate change, to landscape, language, spirituality, philosophy and healing.

His debut collection Cosmocartography was shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award 2019, toured the UK and Ireland for 30 dates, and was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. He cut his teeth on the spoken word scene of Salford and Manchester, and The Independent called him “one of the region’s most exciting spoken word performers”, and he was named a highlight of Guy Garvey’s Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre London and a “powerhouse poet at the top of his game” by Lingo Festival Dublin.

He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2020 and won the Sean Dunne National Young Writer 2010, an International Pangaea Poetry Slam Champion 2015 and the Word War 3 Slam Champion. He’s been shortlisted for the OutSpoken Prize for Poetry two years in a row and longlisted for the Not The Foreword Prize and the Gingko Eco-Poetry competition. He’s performed in festivals and venues across the UK including The Royal Albert Hall, John Ryland’s Library, London Irish Centre, Contact Theatre, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, The 100 Club, the European Science Open Forum and Threshold Festival, Liverpool Irish Festival, WoWFest and Political Pride Manchester.

There’s a sign-up-in-advance open mic for Word Central, but if you fancy taking part, you need to be quick – the three-minute performance slots are bookable from noon two weeks before (this month, the list opens on 11 June) via email to the Flapjack address and are allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis (if none are left you will be offered a space on the reserve list).

Word Central at Manchester Central Library, Manchester 25 June 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Word Central at Central Library

St Peters Square Manchester
City Centre
St Peter’s Square

St Peter’s Square is a public space in Manchester – home to the city’s iconic library, town hall, Pankhurst statue, art gallery and famous Midland Hotel.

Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
City Centre
Manchester Art Gallery

The Charles Barry-designed, Grade I-listed Manchester Art Gallery is one of the city’s leading galleries and is back open for visitors once more.

The Alan

This high-end city-centre restaurant has an excellent afternoon tea option that more than matches up to the superb main menu.

Salut Wines
Bar or Pub
Salut Wines

Salut wines pride themselves in offering “wider horizons beyond the safe choices.” With 42 wines by the glass and a regularly changing selection of bottles in their Enomatic wine preservation machines (or  “wine jukebox,” as they’re colloquially known), this is one of be best bars in Manchester for exploring new vintages.


Latest branch of Friska, the independent healthy fast food chain.

Don Giovanni

Traditional Italian restaurant, serving everything from pizza to steak. All this in a large modern venue with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Manchester Art Gallery Cafe

Summery bakes, seasonal salads and fresh light meals at Manchester Art Gallery’s in-house café, courtesy of highly-regarded Head Chef Matthew Taylor.

City Centre
Tourist Attraction
Manchester Town Hall

Re-opening in 2024, Manchester Town Hall is a monument to Victorian Manchester’s ambition, and one of the city’s most-loved landmarks.

City Centre
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Albert Square

A public square in the heart of Manchester which plays hosts to festivals and major events. Home to the Albert Memorial and statues of Bishop James Fraser, John Bright, Oliver Heywood and William Ewart Gladstone.

Contemporary Six, art gallery in Manchester
City Centre
Contemporary Six

Contemporary Six is an independent commercial art gallery in Manchester city centre, set up by Alex Reuben in 2010.

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