CANCELLED – Words Weekend at The Lowry

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Words Weekend at The Lowry Author Emma Jane Unsworth.
Author Emma Jane Unsworth.

Words Weekend at The Lowry, Salford 27 — 29 March 2020 Tickets from £10 — Book now

Due to the ongoing situation with  COVID-19, this event has been cancelled.  Words Weekend Artistic Director Beth Gallimore’s statement reads:


It is with huge sadness that we have taken the decision to cancel Words Weekend at The Lowry following the escalation of COVID-19 in Europe. Although this is an incredibly difficult decision, the health of authors and audiences must be the priority.

The cancellation of London Book Fair was an early indicator of the impact COVID-19 would have on our industry, and given the fast-changing nature of the situation, we feel we must act quickly and decisively.

All ticket holders will be contacted directly by the venue.

We will be pressing ahead with our plans for Bury St Edmunds in May, our spring 2021 festival at Sage Gateshead, and hope to plan another festival at The Lowry in the future.


Following their first foray into festivals, way up north at the Sage Gateshead, the kids from Fane – purveyors of all things spoken word – are bringing their jam-packed Words Weekend to The Lowry. Spanning three days from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 March, and serving up over 60 special events across the whole of The Quayside performance space complex, this is going to take some navigating. Allow us to offer a little assistance…

Featured in the star-spangled line-up (by the way, over 25% of the events are free and all are fully accessible) are household names such as explorer extraordinaire Sir Ranulph Fiennes and singer-songwriter Sir Bob Geldof. From the Salford-Manchester music firmament, we have Stuart Maconie and former Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam talking to folk from The Fall. In the bestselling authors corner, find Helen “Bridget Jones” Fielding and David “One Day” Nicholls, while the local literati is represented by (for starters) Jackie Hagan and Gerry Potter. There are laughs to be had with the likes of Adam Kay; there is crime writing from Joseph Knox and true stories from a forensic psychologist. The Apples and Snakes crew are hosting a poetry slam, there’s theatrical storytelling, kids get their own stuff courtesy children’s authors and illustrators, and bilingual chat gets a look-in too.

There are various “in conversation” sessions when authors talk about their writing processes (check out Okechukwu Nzelu talking about his acclaimed debut The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney on Sunday, Studio 2, 6pm, free), a celebration of Broughton-born A Taste of Honey playwright Shelagh Delaney, and panel discussions too. Head out on a fact-finding mission at the How to Write For Radio or How to Write for Soaps Industry Insight sessions, or find out about women and fiction or learn more On Dystopia with The Water Cure author Sophie Mackintosh alongside Jane Rogers and Francine Toon (Saturday, Studio 3, 1.30pm, £10). There’s autobiography and memoir courtesy Nikesh Shukla (Sunday, Studio 3, 7pm, free) and Salford-born journalist Kate Spicer’s Lost Dog – A Love Story (Saturday, Studio 2, 8pm, £5).

Bury-raised Emma Jane Unsworth uncovers the truth behind her third – and already best-selling – novel Adults, so if you didn’t catch her recent sold-out launch event at Waterstones, walk this way

Also on Saturday, Bury-raised Emma Jane Unsworth uncovers the truth behind her third – and already best-selling – novel Adults (Studio 3, 6.30pm, £7.50), so if you didn’t catch her recent sold-out launch event at Waterstones, walk this way. Following the recent critical success of the film adaptation of her second novel, Animals, Emma Jane is one to watch, and an engaging speaker to boot.

The bread around the Saturday sandwich includes award-winning Grief Is the Thing With Feathers and Lanny author Max Porter, who is joining forces with Sam Genders of folktronica band TUNNG to round off the Friday programme (The Quays theatre, 8pm, £15/£12.50). The pair will be presenting a live performance that combines Max’s atmospheric words and Sam’s specially commissioned musical responses – billed as a “one-off”, we reckon you won’t want to miss this.

On Sunday, our pick is Poems From the Edge of Extinction (Studio 3, 11am, free) with Chris McCabe, who’s been spotted performing at some of CT’s favourite avant poetry events, including Peter Barlow’s Cigarette, The Other Room and is a regular visitor to the Rainy City, the Enemies Project/European Camarade. At this event on the last day of the festival, Chris will be hosting three poets who write in the language of their region, reading their work in dialect and answering questions from the audience – so come prepared…

Words Weekend at The Lowry, Salford 27 — 29 March 2020

Book Now

What's on at The Lowry

What's on: Literature

Sarah Autumn
Radical Reading Book Group at Left Bank Leeds

Join the Radical Reading Book Group every six weeks to discuss a book from The Reading Room Library – which you can find at Left Bank Leeds in collaboration with London-based independent radical publishers Pluto Press.

free entry
Poetry Walk at The Reader in Liverpool

Every Thursday morning you’re invited to join the Poetry Walk with The Reader in Calderstones Park. Get into the great outdoors and escape the everyday, while exploring poetry and making the most of the beautiful surroundings in a safe and socially distanced way.

free entry

Culture Guides


We go all in on festivals, with a round-up of everything from city-spanning giants to grassroots gems you may not know about.


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.