Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance…

Diarise Didsbury Arts Festival for 24 June until 2 July, when loads of live literature will whet your wordy whistles, including poet Mike Garry and author Okechukwu Nzelu. Read our round-up of all the poetry and prose goings-on here.

At Manchester Central Library, Word Central features open mic performers alongside a special guest – for June, it’s Gerry Potter with a brand-new collection of pomes – and the Festival Of Libraries is back for a third year, welcoming Poet Laureate Simon Armitage among others.

Online, the Mary Barton season of talks continues to beam out of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Portico Library is running a hybrid season featuring rambler-in-residence Anita Sethi.

A Lovely Word celebrates Liverpool as a poetry city, uniting, inspiring and galvanising the spoken word scene with its poetry events showcasing local talent alongside headliners from around the country and prize-giving slams.

For more from the land of literature, flick through our Bookshops in Manchester Guide and see our pages on the UNESCO city of Literature and literary places in LiverpoolLeeds, Sheffield and Cumbria.

Our top picks

Walk Write Workshop with Anita Sethi at The Portico

A Walk Write-Shop with Anita Sethi at The Portico Library, Chinatown, Until 21 June 2023, from £10 - Book now

The Portico Library is running a series of Walk Write Workshops until June with its Rambler in Residence Anita Sethi, who has curated a season of events exploring protest, the right to roam, wellbeing and access to nature; the next are on 6 and 21 June.

Writer Anita Sethi
Writer Anita Sethi.

Festival Of Libraries in various venues

Festival of Libraries at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, Until 11 June 2023, free entry - Visit now

The third Festival of Libraries starts on Wednesday 7 June and runs until Sunday 11 June, offering a five-day multi-venue celebration of the UNESCO City of Literature Manchester’s libraries, with guest speakers including the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Simon Armitage. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster

Poetry workshops with Tom Branfoot at Man Met

‘Doubt Wisely’: Poetry Workshops on Doubt with Tom Branfoot at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, Until 14 June 2023, free entry - Visit now

Join Manchester Cathedral’s new Writer-In-Residence Tom Branfoot for a series of free workshops, entitled Doubt Wisely, presented in partnership between the Cathedral and Man Met’s Manchester Writing School and Manchester Poetry Library, running Wednesday afternoons to 14 June.

Tom Branfoot. Photo Eleanor Hall, Museum of the Home
Writer Tom Branfoot. Photo: Eleanor Hall, Museum of the Home

Benengeli 2023: The “Epic” in British and Hispanic literature at Instituto Cervantes

Benengeli 2023: The "Epic" in British and Hispanic literature at Instituto Cervantes Manchester, Deansgate, 14 June 2023, from £7.00 - Book now

Join a panel of esteemed writers for a discussion dedicated to epic narratives in contemporary British and Latin American fiction.

Benengeli 2023
Writer Rosa Ribas. Image courtesy of Jordi Cotrina.

Didsbury Arts Festival at various venues

Didsbury Arts Festival at Didsbury Baptist Church, Didsbury, 24 June–2 July 2023, free entry - Find Out More

Didsbury Arts Festival has plenty to offer the connoisseur of fine words in this year’s programme, which runs from 24 June to 2 July, when Mike Garry takes to the stage for the closing event.

Poet Mike Garry. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster
Poet Mike Garry. Photo Paul Wolfgang Webster.

Word Central at Central Library

Word Central at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 27 June 2023, free entry - Find Out More

Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press present Word Central, a free event every month featuring open mic performers and a special guest – on Tuesday 27 June, it’s Gerry Potter with a brand-new collection of pomes.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)
Poet Gerry Potter. Photo Lee Baxter

A Lovely Word Poetry SLAM at Shakespeare North Playhouse & Liverpool Everyman

A Lovely Word at Liverpool Everyman Theatre, City Centre, 27 June–5 July 2023, free entry - Find Out More

In an exciting new collaboration between Shakespeare North Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, 12 to 14 poets will be competing in A Lovely Word’s Poetry SLAM 2023: the first takes place on 27 June at Shakespeare North Playhouse and the second is on 5 July in ALW’s usual home at the Everyman.

Writer and performer Hollie McNish.
Writer and performer Hollie McNish.

Okechukwu Nzelu at Didsbury Arts Festival

Okechukwu Nzelu at The Art of Tea, Didsbury, 29 June 2023, free entry - Find Out More

Award-winning author and “the future of Black British writing” Okechukwu Nzelu talks to Ayesha Ansari-Choudhury for Didsbury Arts Festival on 29 June.

Okechukwu Nzelu
Author Okechukwu Nzelu.

MIF23: They at John Rylands Library

THEY at John Rylands Research Institute and Library, City Centre, 5–9 July 2023, from £10.00 - Book now

The band’s back together. Regular MIF collaborators Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight unveil a brand-new production – a chilling adaptation of a lost dystopian masterpiece turned cult classic. Part of Manchester International Festival, performances take place 5 to 9 July.

Actor Maxine Peake. Image: Paul Husband
Actor Maxine Peake. Image: Paul Husband.

Mary Barton season at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House online

Mary Barton Season, online, Until 13 December 2023, from £5.00 - Book now

The team at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on Plymouth Grove has already celebrated the author’s famous novels Cranford and North And South, and in 2023 it’s the turn of Mary Barton: A Tale Of Manchester Life. The special season of events and online talks runs throughout the year.

Elizabeth Gaskell's House
Elizabeth Gaskell's House

More literature events

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)
LiteratureManchester
Word Central at Central Library

Manchester Libraries and Flapjack Press present Word Central, a free event every month featuring open mic performers and a special guest.

free entry
Until
LiteratureLiverpool
Poetry Walk at The Reader in Liverpool

Every Thursday morning you’re invited to join the Poetry Walk with The Reader in Calderstones Park. Get into the great outdoors and escape the everyday, while exploring poetry and making the most of the beautiful surroundings in a safe and socially distanced way.

free entry
Sarah Autumn
Until
LiteratureLeeds
Radical Reading Book Group at Left Bank Leeds

Join the Radical Reading Book Group every six weeks to discuss a book from The Reading Room Library – which you can find at Left Bank Leeds in collaboration with London-based independent radical publishers Pluto Press.

free entry
Things to Do in Liverpool
Spotlight on

Things to Do in Liverpool

Our guide to the thriving city of Liverpool, where new creative futures are written against the backdrop of a unique history.

Take me there

Literature Events in Manchester and the North

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.

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.

The Whitworth
Manchester
Gallery
The Whitworth

This much-loved gallery-in-a-park is open for business, showcasing some of the city’s finest contemporary and historic exhibitions.

Salford
Restaurant
Black Friar

Salford’s Black Friar has one of the most impressive Sunday roast options in the North.

Velvet Hotel
Canal Street
Hotel
Velvet Hotel

Velvet Hotel is a 4* boutique hotel on Canal Street, the heart of Manchester’s famous Gay Village.

Culture Guides

Exhibitions

There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!

Music

We look towards a summer filled with quality festivals, from cultural behemoths to grassroots gems.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House
Families

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester
Theatre

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.