Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

There’s plenty to check out on the live literature front, not just in the UNESCO City of Literature itself (follow @MCRCityofLit on the interwebs), but also further afield. We head over the hills for some capital talent in Yorkshire courtesy avantgarde organisers Electric Arc Furnace and we follow local legend Lemn Sissay as he takes his Something Dark show out to the Boroughs, specifically Oldham. Festivals include Queer Contact 2018, with an all-girl line-up of performers at Central Library’s Outspoken showcase led by poet and playwright Jackie Hagan, and HOME’s annual PUSH Festival, with a Pen:Chant pop-up introduced by spoken word stalwart Ben Mellor. Pre-empting this year’s Manchester Literature Festival, returning in October, there’s a special ‘Bookend’ with the launch of Coal Black Mornings, the new memoir from Suede frontman Brett Anderson (but be quick – tickets are selling like hot cakes!). Meanwhile, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with the launch of fun novel The Gods of Love from Manchester-based debutante Nicola Mostyn on 9 February, the appearance of Forward Prize-winner Vahni Capildeo at the year’s first Poets & Players on 17 February and the upcoming tenth birthday of experimental poetry reading series The Other Room, featuring Jazmine Linklater (pictured) on 21 February.

Here are our picks

More in Literature

Families 17–19 August 2018, from £20.00

Just So Festival 2018 at Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire

The best family festival in the UK? We think so. Adventure together into a wonderland of the best outdoor theatre, music, comedy, literature and other curious creative escapades. With midnight feasts, pillow fights and the bonkers Tribal Tournament be sure to snap up a ticket fast.

Susie Orbach
Literature 16 April 2018, from £8.00

Susie Orbach in conversation with Jeanette Winterson at Martin Harris Centre

Psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, writer and social critic Susie Orbach will be in conversation with Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit author Jeanette Winterson at this Centre for New Writing special event.

Poet Sophie Collins
Literature 12 February 2018, from £5.00

Literature Live: Sophie Collins and Carol Mavor at Martin Harris Centre

Poet Sophie Collins and author and art historian Carol Mavor read from their work and chat to poet Vona Groarke of the Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester in this event presented in partnership with The Real Story. 

Literature 3–4 March 2018, FREE

World Book Day at Dunham Massey

Encourage the kids to mark World Book Day at Dunham Massey by getting dressed up as their favourite character, listening to stories and buying special World Book Day token books.

Culture Guides

Black Men Walking at the Royal Exchange


Vibrant and celebratory – you may be having a dry January but the Northern theatre scene is sure to satisfy your creative thirst.


Featuring live scores, forgotten curiosities and cutting edge indie gems – we take a look at the best cinema coming to a screen near you.


2018 kicks off to an exciting start culture-wise, with a number of major anniversaries to be marked and must-see exhibitions in store.


Think January can’t be a magical month? Think again with our guide to the best things to do right now with kids and book ahead for.


Manchester’s top music venues have been busy filling their diaries for the year ahead – with early highlights include Iron and Wine, Jeff Tweedy, Mogwai and Joan as Police Woman, plus whole seasons by the likes of The Stoller Hall and the RNCM.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Jeremy Deller, The Problem With Humans, 2017. Courtesy the artist and The Hepworth Wakefield. Part of 'School Prints'
Education 12 January–3 June 2018, FREE

School Prints at The Hepworth Wakefield

Theatre 19 January 2018, from £12.00

Finding Alice at The Lowry

Risham Syed Untitled Lahore Series 10, Courtesy the artist and Project 88, New North & South, Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 30 September 2017–25 February 2018, FREE

Risham Syed at Manchester Art Gallery

Theatre 19–20 January 2018, from £11.50

Airplay at The Lowry