There are online readings and live launches as Manchester and the North welcomes some great writers – and we’re building up to book festival season, so let’s get planning…
The Portico Library’s Rewriting the North series returns in September, with Catherine Simpson and Adam Farrer talking memoir while Central Library is the place to head for some Northern noir courtesy the monthly Crime Central hosted by Rob Parker. Meanwhile, it’s all Victorian era greetings cards over at the new Manchester Poetry Library, with the free Forget Me Not exhibition… Up the Oxford Road Corridor at Blackwell’s Bookshop, there’s loads going on, including Adam Farrer (him again!) launching his new creative nonfiction book, Cold Fish Soup, and chatting to Jenn Ashworth. Carry along to the Whitworth and, on 25 August, the Grand Hall plays host to an evening with novelists Torrey Peters (Detransition, Baby) and Imogen Binnie (Nevada), brought to you in conjunction with Manchester’s independent gay bookshop Queer Lit.
In Liverpool, various nights like A Lovely Word, Blast!, Give Poetry A Chance, Liver Bards and the popular Spoken Word night hosted by Saint Vespaluus at the Mansion House are back in real life, while The Reader’s weekly Poetry Walks also continue in south Liverpool’s Calderstones Park; find out more here.
Over in Leeds, Tubthumping – hosted by Matt Abbott and Maria Ferguson – takes place regularly at The Constitutional in Farsley. Also in Farsley, head to Truman Books for various events, while Leeds has a brand-new night, with the second taking place on 30 September – Chemistry, hosted by Leeds poet Joe Williams. In Sheffield, keep an eye out for newish night Nine Lives Poetry, whose recent guests have included Forward Prizes-shortlisted Helen Mort, Kate Millington and Toria Garbutt. In Hebden Bridge, meanwhile, get ready for this October’s inaugural Sylvia Plath Literary Festival, and in Huddersfield, there’s a new poetry night called Ink Spill at The Grove.
West of the Pennines, we have a new night in town – or just out of town: Sour Theatre Collective’s Blah Blah Blah poetry night takes place at Café Blah in Withington. Saboteur Awards Best Regular Spoken Word Night Verbose continues to fill out the King’s Arms in Salford every last Monday of the month, and there’s a special pop-up at Ducie Warehouse due to be rescheduled soon. Word Central takes over Manchester Central Library’s events space monthly (next is 30 August and features David Viney) and don’t forget Speak Easy’s bumper open mic is at Dulcimer in Chorlton every first Thursday of the month. At Chorlton Library, the Manchester Poets line-up welcomes Carcanet-published Liverpool-based Helen Tookey on 19 August, then The Poetry Business’s Peter Sansom coincides with Chorlton Book Festival in September. More on that soon.
Online, Manchester-based publisher Carcanet beams in Jay Gao on 24 August, launching his much-anticipated debut collection with a chat to Will Harris. Jay then joins another Carcanet poet Jee Leong Koh IRL at a special summer reading event presented by Carcanet with Peter Barlow’s Cigarette on 21 August. Don’t forget to check out the Women Talking Place Symposium – held in conjunction with the Centre for Place Writing at Man Met, it’s online 2 September and in real life the following weekend.
Shopping wise, check out our updated Bookshops in Manchester Guide and don’t forget you need to book in advance for the monthly Elizabeth Gaskell’s House book sale. Manchester Poetry Library, Chetham’s Library, the Portico Library and the Pankhurst Centre are all welcoming visitors, so pop them on your list too. Scroll down for more events and activities, or see our literary guides to Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Cumbria if you’re venturing further afield.
Here are our picks
Two of our favourite Manchester institutions – Peter Barlow’s Cigarette and Carcanet Press – are teaming up on 21 August to present an afternoon of alternative poetries with a summer special in the Northern Quarter welcoming two Carcanet poets Jay Gao and Jee Leong Koh, among others to be announced.
Imperium by Jay Gao: Carcanet Book Launch, online, 24 August 2022, from £2.00 - Book now
Launching his first collection, Imperium, out now with Manchester’s Carcanet Press, poet Jay Gao will be chatting to Forward Prize-winning Will Harris. The online event on 24 August will feature readings of the text and discussion about it, as well as a Q&A.
Manchester’s independent gay bookshop Queer Lit has teamed up with The Whitworth to bring you an evening, on 25 August, with novelists Torrey Peters and Imogen Binnie, of Detransition, Baby and Nevada, respectively.
Following a summer hiatus, fear not, murder and mayhem returns to Central Library, as Manchester Libraries’ Crime Central is back on 1 September to shine a spotlight on the best and brightest crime writing talent both locally and from around the country.
Like place-writing, then this could be one for you, as Manchester-based writer and The Real Story co-organiser Adam Farrer launches his debut book Cold Fish Soup, winner of the 2021 NorthBound Book Award, at a reading and in conversation event with Portico Prize-shortlisted author and memoirist Jenn Ashworth on 8 September.
On daily except Sundays and Bank Holidays until 17 September, Forget Me Not is a free exhibition exploring the relationship between poetry and pictures in Victorian and Edwardian greetings cards, providing a snapshot of the Laura Seddon Collection, brimming with over 32,500 examples.
A rip-roaring evening featuring some of the UK’s most dynamic spoken word poets: Nymphs & Thugs present Tubthumping at The Constitutional – back after a summer break on 29 September, the new term kicks off with Kevin P Gilday and Sophie Sparham.
Leeds’ newest live literature night Chemistry promises an exciting mixture of headline guests and open mic acts, all introduced by Leeds-based poet Joe Williams. For the second event, the headliners are Jenny Robb and Jimmy Andrex – head to the Chemic Tavern on 30 September for Chemistry 2 (He for Helium).
Save the date! Manchester Literature Festival takes place 7 to 23 October 2022, showcasing a range of poetry, prose and more from both household names as well as up-and-coming talent.
It’s the 30th anniversary of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, the most influential awards for new poetry in the UK and Ireland, honouring fresh voices alongside internationally established names – and this year the glittering awards ceremony will take place right here in Manchester, on 28 November.
Take your pick from The Little Library’s carefully curated collection of classics and new releases, adding a recently read book of your own as a replacement.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and award-winning garden is a must-see, with the famous book sale every second Sunday of the month throughout 2022.
Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press present Word Central, a free event every month featuring open mic performers and a special guest. Stepping up to the Word Central mic for August is David Viney.
Manchester Jewish Museum are celebrating the life of largely forgotten Yiddish poet, Avram Nachum Stencl in friends of yiddish.
Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back in 2022, with a focus on tackling some of the most crucial questions of our time.