September continues apace, with the always popular and super-useful Northern Lights Writers’ Conference back for a sixth outing, with a line-up that’s already bulging but still growing, including Body Tourists author Jane Rogers taking on keynote speaker duties. Back too is the Manchester Indie Book Fair, and, in a change to the usual literature schedule, this year Chorlton Book Festival has come forward a couple of months and centres around Chorlton Library 20 to 28 September.
Some of the Forward Prizes poets are putting on a preview ahead of the glittering awards ceremony in London and more poetry dates as we approach the latter half of September include: Peter Barlow’s Cigarette featuring Jeremy Over, Eleanor Rees, Mamta Sagar and Steven Waling, Poets & Players on 21 September, featuring Sasha Dudgale, James Byrne and Kathryn Bevis, Bad Language on 25 September with acclaimed poet Jean Sprackland headlining, plus, on 26 September, the last-ever instalment of avant gardeists Murmur, coinciding with a launch of their much-anticipated anthology, called, er, Murmur Anthology I. This one takes place at Siop Shop and has readings from Rachael Allen, Bryony Bates and Allan Fielden. Busy week, that.
Prose wise, Verbose on 23 September has a theme of “body” and features invited guests Treats and Supper Club author Lara Williams (also at Blackwell’s in October, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves) and former host Zena Barrie, while a book launch of note taking place at the aforementioned campus-based book shop is that of multi-award-winner David Constantine‘s fifth collection of short stories, on 24 September (it was his story ‘In Another Country’ that inspired the motion picture 45 Years).
Then it’s October and Manchester Literature Festival, including the (now sold out – sorry!) event featuring new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage chatting to Elbow frontman Guy Garvey – more on MLF soon – and Burnley Literary Festival, including a short-short fiction showcase in a caravan – Flash In The Van, natch, on Saturday 5 October, featuring our very own Literature Editor alongside Michael Conley, Kate Feld, David Gaffney, Tania Hershman and Fat Roland. It’s also the seventh Lakes International Comic Art Festival, the seventh Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival and the seventh Gothic Manchester Festival (more soon), plus the special one-off Dancing With Words on 3 October, showcasing a trilogy of new performances for National Poetry Day, and an evening with bestselling author Jojo Moyes. The Centre For New Writing’s Literature Live programme at Martin Harris Centre relaunches after the academic break, starting on 3 October with Paul Muldoon and Alice Oswald, recently named as taking on the prestigious role of Oxford Professor of Poetry. Strap yourselves in: after something of a slow summer in Literature Land, things are getting moving again, so be sure to keep checking back…
Before you get back to your books, 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 and the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, Chet’s. Our updated Guide To Bookshops In Manchester is here, and there’s a regular secondhand book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House; combine with a look at the new Ruskin exhibition on until July 2020. Fancy heading out of town? Our tips for trips include must-go Literary Places in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Cumbria.
Here are our picks
Award-winning author David Constantine and the writer behind Oscar-nominated motion picture 45 Years launches his much-anticipated fifth short story collection The Dressing-Up Box and Other Stories, out in September on Manchester’s own Ancoats-based Comma Press.
Ahead of the the glittering awards ceremony in London in October, hear from the poets shortlisted for the prestigious 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection at this exclusive preview event at the Manchester Writing School’s base camp in old Cornerhouse.
All your indie literature and culture needs catered for in one place as independent publishers Dostoyevsky Wannabe get the gang back together to bring you a third Manchester Indie Book Fair, taking over the International Anthony Burgess Foundation for a relaxed afternoon of book-browsing and beer-drinking.
Join Jojo Moyes, bestselling novelist and author of Me Before You, as she celebrates the publication of her latest novel, The Giver of Stars. The book is being described as her best yet and is based on a true story rooted in America’s history.
Poets Lydia Allison, Lucy Burnett and Shamshad Khan have teamed up with dancers and choreographers for this innovative project that has created three brand-new performance pieces combining words and movement to be showcased on National Poetry Day.
Mrs Gaskell would be proud – a regular book-buying opportunity literally on her doorstep. Peruse the secondhand tomes then perambulate around the rather pleasant gardens and soak up the atmosphere of the North & South author’s Plymouth Grove villa. Check out the Ruskin exhibition too – on until July 2020.
As part of this year’s Manchester Literature Festival – running 4 to 20 October – the newly appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and one of Manchester’s singer-songwriter exports, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, chat about writing to see what, if any, differences there are between the creation of poetry and that of songs.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is back in the Cumbrian town of Kendal for a seventh year, bigger and better than ever, and with plenty of storytelling treats in both words and pictures, with graphic novel launches and appearances by the likes of Comics Laureates past and present Charlie Adlard and Hannah Berry.
Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival, 14–21 October 2019, from £3.00 - Book now
Not just literature – and ideas! – the seventh festival has on offer drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts plus children’s and young people’s shows and events to get you reading and thinking. Guests include bestselling and award-winning authors plus well-known broadcasters and acclaimed illustrators.
Chorlton Book Festival is back for a 15th time, centring around the Chorlton Library hub, with a varied line-up of readings, talks and events.
Join poet Jennifer Lee Tsai as she delves into the CFCCA archive to produce poetic responses. The poetry workshop focuses on themes of migration, identity and inheritance.
Marking the start of the Centre For New Writing’s Live Literature programme for this university year, this event brings together two of the finest English-language poets at work today: Alice Oswald and Paul Muldoon.
Join Dr Matthew Screech, Senior Lecturer in French at Manchester Metropolitan University for a discussion about the use of comics in the francophone world.
Catch bestselling, much-loved author of groundbreaking series Tales of the City and LGBT activist Armistead Maupin on his first-ever UK tour.
Roger McGough launches his new collection joinedupwriting in his home town of Liverpool. Described as ‘exuberant’, the poems within range from forgotten friendships and the idiosyncrasies of family life to the trauma of war and contemporary global politics.