Experimental and avant garde poetry is getting a good look-in this month, with the return of Murmur at Common on Sunday 14 April, featuring poets and text-based artists Richard Scott, Danielle Valz Gen, SS Whetton and Bonnie Hancell, plus music from Monitor DJs. No Matter is back at The Castle, with a new format that includes brand-new work especially commissioned for the reading series. On Wednesday 17 April, No Matter Presents New Matter #1 sees Anne Boyer performing the first commission, alongside readings from Maria Sledmere, Hannah Catherine Jones (complete with theremin) and Roy Claire Potter.
Verbose continues at Fred’s, but with a new line-up of organisers – Adam Evans, Ava Macpherson and Zoe Turner (of Comma Press), all regulars on the bill, who kick off their new residency on Monday 22 April with the theme of rebirth and headliners Clare Fisher and Reshma Ruia. Bad Language follows on the Wednesday at Gullivers, featuring Women’s Prize shortlistee Yvonne Battle-Felton, and Poets & Players is back at The Whitworth on the Saturday, with poetry from Mona Arshi, Will Harris, Maryam Hessavi and Degna Stone, plus music from ‘country and eastern’ band Paula Darwish and Serpil Kılıç.
May unfolds with a double bill of international poets at The Portico Library on 2 and 16 May courtesy Carcanet Press, Feminist Book Fortnight celebrated with a Boudicca Press and Bad Language co-production, presenting new anthology Disturbing The Beast: Women Of Weird Fiction at Blackwells on 8 May, the first in The Longer Read new Man Met series on 16 May featuring Alan Hollinghurst, the opening of comic book art exhibition Kapow! at the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley on 18 May and Simon Armitage launching his new Faber poetry collection Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic at Central Library on 29 May.
Finally, tickets are on sale to hear from Bret Easton Ellis, in the UK with a new non-fiction book, and Matt Haig, presenting his latest memoir Notes On A Nervous Planet at the Leeds International Festival, and for Storyhouse Women Weekend running 26 to 28 April. Other festivals to pop in your now heaving diary include the second annual Altrincham Word Fest from 11 to 26 May, featuring Dave Haslam as top billing, and the inaugural Weekend of Words at Victoria Baths, taking place 7 to 9 June, featuring our very own Literature Editor, Sarah-Clare Conlon, as Writer-in-Residence.
And before you go, scroll down to our More in Literature stories and don’t forget to check out our guide to the UNESCO City of Literature, where you’ll find some bookworm-friendly go-tos, including John Rylands Library (where Rosie Garland is Writer-in-Residence) and the oldest public library in the English-speaking world Chet’s – with events including an Iris Murdoch evening in June.
Here are our picks
American Psycho and Less Than Zero author Bret Easton Ellis is in town as part of a mega-tour to promote his new non-fiction book, White; a collection of thematically related essays, which he describes as ‘a lament from a disillusioned Gen X-er’.
Feminist activist, actor and Brave author Rose McGowan and best-selling writer, journalist and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer have been announced as headlining the second annual Storyhouse Women Weekend festival taking place at the city arts venue 26 to 28 April.
Taking his latest memoir, Notes On A Nervous Planet, as a guide to navigating the technology-strewn modern world, author Matt Haig rounds off a series of four What Does It Mean To Be Human? talks curated by Leeds Beckett University for Leeds International Festival.
Manchester-based poetry publisher Carcanet Press presents an international double bill over two dates in May, featuring Sheri Benning, Jenny Lewis and Christine Marendon on 2 May and Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Marius Kociejowski and Carola Luther on 16 May.
A twist on the usual literature festival, Altrincham Word Fest is back for a second year in May, with some inspiration to kindle your own creativity via writing workshops, talks and readings, and performance events from some of the North West’s most talented writers.
The Manchester Writing School at Man Met has teamed up with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation to launch a new series of in-conversation events called The Longer Read, kicking off proceedings with Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Alan Hollinghurst, of The Swimming-Pool Library fame.
Award-winning 2000AD artist Dean Ormston and internationally renowned DC Vertigo artist Fiona Stephenson curate a unique and colourful comic book art exhibition, featuring their own work alongside the likes of Charlie Adlard, Jamie Hewlett and Mike Mignola.
Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its second year, this time featuring more than 45 events over 11 days.
The monthly book club at Alliance Française welcomes all with an intermediate level of French. This month the focus is on the complete song texts of Jacques Brel, compiled and edited by Robert Laffon.
Join the monthly book club at Alliance Française, to discuss works of literature in French.
Join singer, songwriter and producer Moby for a discussion about his life and music at this event hosted by Manchester Literature Festival, when he’ll be reading from and talking about his new memoir Then It Fell Apart.
Tunde Adefioye joins forces with the Contact Young Company and Young Identity to explore the decolonisation of public culture. This event takes place at a secret location which has yet to be announced.
An extraordinary new festival where music, art, philosophy and sustainability weave together into an exhilarating weekend in the heart of the National Forest, one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects.
Growing up in 1970s Scotland as the adopted mixed raced child of a Scottish couple, young Jackie blossomed into an outspoken, talented poet. Then she decided to find her birth parents…