Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

From book launches to festival readings and open mics to creative writing workshops, activities and events in Live Literature Land continue virtually as mochas and pints have to accompany substantial meals, not just a garibaldi or a bag of Monster Munch. Still, we’re excited for the first-ever online incarnation of Manchester Literature Festival, taking place 23 to 25 October with guests ranging from Tori Amos to Nick Hornby – find out more about the programme and read our round-up here.

Dave Haslam launches his latest Art Decades tome – about Sylvia Plath’s Paris years – with Didsbury-based Confingo Press on Tuesday 20 October, talking about it to journalist and broadcaster Miranda Sawyer – for sign-up details, check out the publisher’s website and social media feeds. At the end of October, poet Kim Moore reprises her experimental choose-your-own online reading in the second Poetry and Everyday Sexism event. Kim’s Manchester Writing School colleague Rachel Genn presents her new novel, What You Could Have Won, gassing with Andrew McMillan on 5 November (he pops up again the next night as part of the online Todmorden Book Festival), and promising topics including “glamour, fashion, desires”, according to Twitter, while Nicholas Royle and Lara Williams delve into the world of short stories on 3 December.

Verbose were among the first regular spoken word night in Manchester to head into the ether, and continue to welcome audience and open micers to their monthly Zoom room (on 30 October with a Halloween special in collaboration with Switchblade Society), while after a brief foray into the great outdoors Liverpool’s A Lovely Word are back on the small screen – and their next night on 11 November (and creative writing workshop on 31 October) is organised alongside Homotopia.

Word Central has also been regularly hitting our living rooms (next up: 4 November, hosted by Tony Curry with special guest Kevin P Gilday), while the publisher behind the night, Flapjack Press, has been holding and has lined up numerous live stream book launches: 2 November sees Thick Richard and on 9 November there’s Rose Condo with guest Kieren King.

Poetry publisher Carcanet Press continues its online launch programme on 11 November with an evening, hosted by poet and academic John McAuliffe, presenting the final collection, The Historians, by the late Eavan Boland. Meanwhile fellow Manchester-based publishing house Comma Press hosts its annual National Creative Writing Industry Conference in partnership with MMU 26 to 30 October and launches The New Abject anthology with events – with Altrincham Word Fest on 29 October and with Northern Short Story Festival on 4 November – then revisits Resist: Stories of Uprising on 3 December with panellists including Zoe Lambert. December continues with Evan Jones talking about his two (two!) latest books, and Jessica Andrews chatting to Anita Sethi about all things glittery and Portico Prize. Watch this space for more on those…

Be sure to scroll down for more and check out our Guide To Bookshops In Manchester plus our literary guides to LiverpoolLeeds, Sheffield and Cumbria.

We are so grateful to National Lottery players, The National Lottery, DCMS and Arts Council England for supporting our freelance writers during this crisis. This means that, although venues remain shut and campaigns cancelled, our writers can be reengaged to help arts organisations and artists across the North of England share their online content with our culture-hungry readers.

Here are our picks

  • 1. National Creative Writing Industry Conference online

    Keynote speaker Irenosen Okojie.

    The National Creative Writing Industry Conference, online, Until 30 October 2020 - Book now

    Award-winning novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie delivers the keynote speech for Comma Press’s National Creative Writing Industry Conference, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, this year taking place online over a full week from 26 to 30 October, with various event to sign up to absolutely free.

  • 2. Poetry and Everyday Sexism with Kim Moore

    Poet Kim Moore.

    Poetry and Everyday Sexism, online, 28 October 2020, from £5 - Book now

    Following a sell-out first event in September, poet Kim Moore invites you to join her again for an experimental, audience-directed, choose-your-own-adventure event using live polls to help navigate through the online reading of her PhD thesis text. Be sure to get your ticket asap for the event on 28 October.

  • 3. The New Abject – online book launch with Altrincham Word Fest

    Writer Lara Williams
    Author Lara Williams.

    The New Abject - online book launch with Altrincham Word Fest, online, 29 October 2020, free entry - Find Out More

    Altrincham Word Fest Online rounds off the month with the launch of Comma Press’s new horror anthology The New Abject on 29 October in an event featuring readings by contributors Lara Williams and Sarah Schofield. Get your spook on!

  • 4. The New Abject at Northern Short Story Festival online

    Author Lucie McKnight Hardy
    Author Lucie McKnight Hardy

    The New Abject - online book launch, online, 4 November 2020, from £4 - Book now

    Join Comma Press and Northern Short Story Award on 4 November as they launch The New Abject, an anthology of short stories for the unsqueamish just perfect for a Happy Halloween week, featuring readings by contributors Ramsey Campbell, Matthew Holness and Lucie McKnight Hardy. There’s also an event on the launch date, 29 October, with Sarah Schofield and Lara Williams live from the online Altrincham Word Fest.

  • 5. Rachel Genn talks to Andrew McMillan

    Writer Rachel Genn.

    Rachel Genn talks to Andrew McMillan, online, 5 November 2020, free entry - Find Out More

    The Manchester Writing School’s Rachel Genn launches her second novel, What You Could Have Won, talking about the new “exuberant, limber, sexy, incandescent, frenetic, addictive” tome, out on Sheffield indie And Other Stories, to Andrew McMillan on 5 November. Bring your own sparklers.

  • 6. Rose Condo live stream book launch

    Poet Rose Condo. Photo by Charles Leek.

    Rose Condo live stream book launch, online, 9 November 2020, free entry - Find Out More

    Slam-tastic Rose Condo brings together poems from her three critically acclaimed and award-winning poetry theatre shows to create her first collection, After the Storm, out with Flapjack Press on 9 November, and marked by this special live-streamed book launch, aided and abetted by spoken word artist Kieren King.

  • 7. Carcanet book launch online: Eavan Boland’s The Historians

    Poet Eavan Boland
    Poet Eavan Boland. Photo courtesy Carcanet Press.

    Eavan Boland: The Historians: Book Launch, online, 11 November 2020, from £2 - Book now

    Join Manchester’s Carcanet Press on 11 November for the latest in its programme of online book launches: a special event celebrating the final collection by Irish poet Eavan Boland, who passed away earlier this year. Poet and academic John McAuliffe, Carcanet’s Michael Schmidt and Boland expert Jody Allen-Randolph will discuss her work, while Maureen Kennelly and Colm Tóibín will read from it.

  • 8. A Lovely Word @ Homotopia

    Poet, actor and writer Jade Anouka.

    A Lovely Word @ Homotopia, online, 11 November 2020, free entry - Find Out More

    Head to the mouth of the Mersey on 11 November for a Homotopia special of Liverpool’s most eclectic spoken word night A Lovely Word, featuring actor and writer Jade Anouka on headline duties, dishing up pieces from her debut poetry pamphlet Eggs on Toast and more besides.

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