Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

Despite the traditional summer break for many of our favourite regular nights, and news of the imminent sad demise of others, there’s still plenty of poetry and prose to catch, from brand-new tomes available at indie markets and national magazine dos to a brand-new series of talks and an exhibition dedicated to Banned Books, on at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Glossy poetry periodical PN Review launches its latest edition with a summer party at Castlefield Gallery on 18 July, featuring various readers including Simon Armitage, while his Poetry Live! colleagues Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke launch the new People’s Poetry Lectures for the Manchester Writing School on 24 July with a chat about Dylan Thomas.

We’ve also had tons of avant garde evenings lately, including if p then q’s 10th birthday party at the Peer Hat, and more experimental poetry is yours for the taking at bi-monthly Peter Barlow’s Cigarette, back in August, and the next installment of new night No Matter, taking over The Other Room slot at The Castle – the next one is on the 15th and features Sarah Bernstein, Carl Gent and Linda Stupart (watch this space for more on those soon).

if p then q also crop up at a special Manchester Independent Books And Arts Fair on 28 July, when you can pick up lots of lovely books, pamphlets and zines from Manchester’s finest indie presses and collectives, including Dostoyevsky Wannabe, if p then q, ZimZalla, Knives Forks & Spoons, Generic Greeting and Dodo Ink. Look out also for the hot-off-the-press anthology Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities: Manchester, the latest in a series featuring the likes of Bristol, Brooklyn, Glasgow, London, Santiago and fellow UNESCO City of Literature Norwich.

Hot summer streets getting you down? Might we suggest a literature trail in the hills that’s just perfect for blowing away the cobwebs… All aboard the Northern Poetry Train to Hebden Bridge for a lit trip up the Calder Valley (there’s an illustrated map you can download), via the Dantzic Street entrance of Victoria Station, where you can take in the first part of Helen Mort’s poem there & back, commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival. Keep going and you can head to Leeds Library for the launch of Strix #4 and the literary magazine’s first birthday or to Sheffield’s Electric Arc Furnace, with readings from Emilia Weber, Tom Betteridge and Katy Lewis Hood – both on 17 July.

And don’t forget to keep checking back; we’re regularly updating our top picks both in the currently-not-very-at-all Rainy City and further afield in the North West environs.

Here are our picks

More in Literature

Dan Hays, Spring Snow, 2009. BIBLIOTECH: from bookshelf to big data at The Portico Library, Manchester
Exhibitions 6 July–18 August 2018, FREE

BiblioTECH: from bookshelf to big data at The Portico Library

Do you prefer to hold a Kindle in your hands or a book? ‘BiblioTECH: From bookshelf to big data’ at The Portico Library uses art to examine the opportunities and challenges that arise when we adapt to new technological formats for storing and sharing information.

Elmi Ali: Water Seeds Not Stones at the STUN Studio, Z-Arts
Literature 20–23 October 2018, from £7.00

Elmi Ali: Water Seeds Not Stones at the STUN Studio, Z-Arts

A new show from Elmi Ali, one of the most exciting artists to emerge from Manchester’s vibrant and diverse spoken word scene.

Culture Guides

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North


It barely needs stating; absolute top of our list of exhibition highlights this summer has to be Liverpool Biennial 2018, which opens on 14 July. But that’s by no means all there is to look forward to.



Who says summer is a quiet time for theatre? We’ve got open-air performances, free interactive family events, a ten-day summer festival and much more in our theatre guide.


Pop-up cinemas, outdoor screenings and movie marathons — we’ve got it all this summer.

Just So fish festivalgoer courtesy Teneigh


The best outdoor and indoor adventures to keep us all busy. Journeys of the Imagination at Quarry Bank, festival fever at bluedot and Just So and astonishing circus capers with Contact in the City.


While this summer’s festivals – including bluedot, The Good Life Experience and Festival No. 6 – provide a welcome distraction, the likes of the RNCM and The Stoller Hall continue to provide adventurous programming.