Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

There’s much to treat your ears to right now, as authors and poets are flocking to the region, with plenty of famous faces to catch on the road…

Our top picks include Manchester readings by literary legends Armistead Maupin and Roger McGough, and an appearance in Chester by Brian Bilston.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, there’s uncanny readings courtesy Unheim-lich at Levenshulme Old Library’s Weird Women, but if you’d rather stay in than go out, tune in to the Wives and Daughters season beaming out of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House or the full-to-bursting online programme from Carcanet Press, including TS Eliot Prize-shortlisted poet Victoria Kennefick.

Our travels see us venturing East – more precisely, to Poetry at the Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd, Attic Stories in Huddersfield, Rise Up! in York and Chemistry in Leeds, featuring our very own Literature Editor on headliner duties.

Don’t forget to add Manchester Literature Festival to your diary (details of some early events coming soon) as well as the annual Festival of Libraries courtesy UNESCO Manchester City of Literature.

And finally be sure to flick through our Bookshops in Manchester Guide and check out our pages on literary places in LiverpoolLeeds, Sheffield and Cumbria.

Our top picks

Rise Up! at The Bluebird Bakery York

Rise Up! at Bluebird Bakery, York, 28 February 2024, from £10.00 - Book now

Rise Up! is a monthly celebration of poetry with invited guests and ‘lucky dip’ open mic. On 28 February, the York get-together welcomes Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo, supported by two exciting voices: Maya Caspari and Becca Drake.

Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo
Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo

Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller at The Dusty Miller, 5 March 2024, free entry - Find Out More

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub. The four guests at the Dusty Miller on 5 March are Ian Humphreys, Tom Jenks, Saiqa Khushnood and Helen Tookey.

Ian Humphreys
Ian Humphreys

Weird Women at Levenshulme Old Library

Unheim-Lit - Strange and Uncanny Spoken Word for International Women's Day at Levenshulme Old Library, Manchester, 8 March 2024, free entry - Find Out More

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, Levenshulme Old Library has pulled together a programme of activities called Weird Women, which includes various creative workshops plus Unheim-Lit, a showcase of strange and uncanny spoken word.

Writer Gaynor Jones
Writer Gaynor Jones

Carcanet online book launch: Egg/Shell by Victoria Kennefick

Egg/Shell by Victoria Kennefick: Carcanet Online Book Launch, online, 13 March 2024, from £2.00 - Book now

Head into the ether on 13 March for the launch of Egg/Shell, the much-anticipated second collection by TS Eliot Prize-shortlisted Victoria Kennefick, and the Poetry Book Society Spring Choice 2024, published by Carcanet Press, based in Manchester.

Victoria Kennefick / Carcanet Press
Carcanet Press

LIVEwire at The Edge

LIVEwire at The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre, Manchester, 14 March–13 June 2024, from £13.00 - Book now

Following sold-out shows in 2019 and 2021, LIVEwire is back at The Edge on 14 March, and again in June, with an electric line-up featuring performances from Momtaza Mehri, Casey Bailey and Jess Green.

LIVEwire
Photo by Derren Lee Poole

Brian Bilston at Storyhouse, Chester

Brian Bilston at Storyhouse, Cheshire, 19 March 2024, from £17.55 - Book now

Maybe he’s the new Pam Ayres, but Brian Bilston has been described as the Banksy of poetry and Twitter’s unofficial Poet Laureate – and you can catch him on 19 March.

Brian Bilston reading his book 'How to Write A Poem' and a cat.
Brian Bilston

Marianne Brooker at House of Books & Friends

An Evening with Marianne Brooker: Intervals at House of Books & Friends, Manchester, 26 March 2024, from £5.00 - Book now

Marianne Brooker will be at House of Books & Friends on 26 March to discuss her new book, Intervals, published by Fitzcarraldo and longlisted for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

An image of author Marianne Brooker stood in front of green fauna, wearing glasses, smiling and looking up away from camera.
Author Marianne Brooker. Photo: Alexander Burton

Attic Stories at Lawrence Batley Theatre

Attic Stories at Lawrence Batley Theatre, West Yorkshire, 27 March 2024, from £3.00 - Book now

Love words? Head to Lawrence Batley Theatre’s monthly night of words, shared spoken and sung, hosted by Rose Condo. On 28 February, the special guest performer is Rob Gee then on 27 March it’s Ciarán Hodgers, a multi-award winning Irish poet based in the UK, who cut his teeth on the spoken word scene of Salford and Manchester.

Ciarán Hodgers. Photo by Wesley Storey
Ciarán Hodgers. Photo by Wesley Storey

Armistead Maupin at Aviva Studios

An Evening With Armistead Maupin at Aviva Studios, Manchester, 4 April 2024, from £25.00 - Book now

It’s your chance to catch one of the most influential writers of the last century as Armistead Maupin heads out on the road for a UK tour to celebrate the long-awaited tenth novel in the Tales of the City series, and pops back into Manchester, on 4 April.

Image of Armistead Maupin looking to thier side, wearing a navy blue cardigan and magenta scarf
Armistead Maupin. Photo courtesy of artist

Roger McGough at Waterside

Roger McGough: Alive & Gigging at Waterside, Manchester, 5 April 2024, from £20.00 - Book now

One of the famous Liverpool Poets of the Sixties, Roger McGough – ‘the patron saint of poetry’ according to former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy – takes to the stage on 5 April with his latest show, Alive & Gigging, featuring new poems as well as old favourites.

Roger McGough
Roger McGough. Photo: Vicki Sharp

Festival Of Libraries in various venues

Festival of Libraries at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 13–16 June 2024, free entry - Find Out More

The fourth Festival Of Libraries is a five-day multi-venue celebration of Greater Manchester’s libraries happening 13 to 16 June.

Simon Armitage. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster

Manchester Literature Festival 2024

Manchester Literature Festival at Contact Theatre, Manchester, 4–20 October 2024, from £5.00 - Book now

Manchester Literature Festival runs from 4 to 20 October and presents inspiring live literature and spoken word from international writers and home-grown talent.

Max Porter. Photo by Francesca Jones
Max Porter. Photo by Francesca Jones.

Wives and Daughters season at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House online

Wives and Daughters - Events Season at Elizabeth Gaskell's House, online, Until 30 November 2024, from £5.00 - Book now

Each year, the team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on Manchester’s Plymouth Grove picks one of the famous 19th-century author’s texts to take – in modern parlance – a deep dive into: in 2024, it’s the turn of Wives and Daughters. 

Elizabeth Gaskell's House

More literature events

Poet Joe Williams
LiteratureLeeds
Chemistry at The Chemic

Leeds’ live literature regular Chemistry offers an exciting mix of open mic acts and invited headliners, this month poets Dean Wilson and Sarah-Clare Conlon.

free entry
Ian Humphreys
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Image of Armistead Maupin looking to thier side, wearing a navy blue cardigan and magenta scarf
LiteratureManchester
Armistead Maupin at Aviva Studios

It’s your chance to catch one of the most influential writers of the last century as Armistead Maupin heads out on the road for a UK tour.

from £25.00
Roger McGough
LiteratureManchester
Roger McGough at Waterside

One of the famous Liverpool Poets of the Sixties, Roger McGough – ‘the patron saint of poetry’ according to former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy – takes to the stage.

from £20.00
Writer Gaynor Jones
LiteratureManchester
Weird Women at Levenshulme Old Library

To mark International Women’s Day, Levenshulme Old Library has pulled together a programme of activities called Weird Women, which includes Unheim-Lit, a showcase of strange and uncanny spoken word.

free entry
actor with pig puppets The Three Little Pigs at Waterside Arts
Spotlight on

Things to do at February half term

Looking for things to do with the kids in the February half term holidays? Check out our guide.

Take me there

Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Manchester
Park
Platt Fields Park

Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield is steeped in history, the land having been acquired by the Platt family in 1225.

HOME Manchester
Manchester
Theatre
HOME Manchester

Now back open with a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

Cumbria
Event venue
Penrith Old Fire Station

Main venue for Eden Arts, an artist-led organisation based in Eden in Cumbria creating projects around mass participation, local distinctiveness and digital engagement, from Picnic Cinema to The Winter Droving.

The MerseyMade building in Liverpool
Liverpool
Shop
MerseyMade

In the MerseyMade shop you’ll find bottled gin from the likes of Turncoat Gin, Anfield Gin, Albert Dock Gin and Three Graces Gin. Yep, Liverpool REALLY likes its gin.

The Hepworth Wakefield
Wakefield
Gallery
The Hepworth Wakefield

Winner of the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award, The Hepworth in Wakefield is easily one of the leading cultural highlights of the North.

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.