Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

There’s plenty of sunshine-drenched reading to immerse yourself in from established names and emerging talent, poets and prose writers alike, both in real life as well as online.

This week sees Kendal Poetry Festival taking place 23 to 26 June, featuring appearances by the likes of Ian Humphreys, Carola Luther, Don Paterson and TS Eliot Prize-winner Joelle Taylor – and it’s hybrid, so you can attend either in person in the South Lakes town or via an online link. Also online, Manchester-based poetry publisher Carcanet Press is continuing to host a number of small-screen launches, including the new poetry collection by Ian Pople, who will be chatting about the work with fellow poet Evan Jones.

Kendal Poetry Festival co-director Kim Moore is at Manchester Poetry Library with Radna Fabias at the end of the month, and MPL also welcomes André Naffis-Sahely to launch his new poetry collection High Desert. At the Portico Library, meanwhile, check out the Rewriting The North series (the next is 28 June) and head to Central Library for some Northern noir courtesy the monthly Crime Central. Joining Rob Parker this month is Lesley Kara, Stephanie Sowden and Russ Thomas, bestselling author of the DS Adam Tyler series.

Up the Oxford Road Corridor at Blackwell’s Bookshop there’s loads going on – we’re heading over for the New Short Stories event on 29 June, featuring Naomi Booth, Niamh Mulvey and Saba Sams, introduced by Lucie McKnight Hardy, and again in July to hear from Portico Prize-winner Jessica Andrews. At Cheadle Village’s Greenhouse Books, meanwhile, there’s a Fly On The Wall showcase featuring Matt Broomfield and Jiye Lee (2 July, 5pm).

In Liverpool, various nights like Give Poetry A Chance, Liver Bards and the popular Spoken Word night hosted by Saint Vespaluus at the Mansion House are back in real life, while A Lovely Word is gearing up for a full-on festival at the Everyman in July, featuring the likes of Hollie McNish. Blast! gets a new venue for its number (6) outing – head to The Old Bank Alehouse on Aigburth Road on 30 June – while The Reader’s weekly Poetry Walks also continue in south Liverpool’s Calderstones Park; find out more here.

Over in Leeds, Tubthumping – hosted by Matt Abbott and Maria Ferguson – welcomes Jess Green and Sabrina Mahfouz to The Constitutional in Farsley on 30 June. In Sheffield, pop 14 July on your wall calendar: new night Nine Lives Poetry has invited Helen Mort and Kate Millington to star at its second night out.

West of the Pennines, Saboteur Awards Best Regular Spoken Word Night Verbose continues to fill out the King’s Arms in Salford every last Monday of the month, with headliners Alex Calver and Talya Stitcher on 27 June, and Word Central takes over Manchester Central Library’s events space on 28 June, featuring guest host Melanie Needs introducing Lindy Newns. Speak Easy’s bumper open mic is at Dulcimer in Chorlton every first Thursday of the month (next is 2 July) and Switchblade Society is back on 3 July with performers reading their own and each other’s work at the Northern Quarter’s The Peer Hat.

On the avant front, Saturday 25 June (4pm start) sees a performance at New Cross/Ancoats’ Peste, of Twenty-Four Hours by Stephen Watts, published by Monitor Books & Prototype. The English Shared Futures conference runs Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 July, with lots to check out, including, on the Friday at The Salutation (8pm), New Prose Writing from Dostoyevsky Wannabe and The Real Story, with readings by Emma Bolland, James Davies and Maria Sledmere representing Manchester indie publisher Dostoyevsky Wannabe, and Marie Crook, Adam Farrer and Kate Feld waving the flag for creative non-fictioners The Real Story.

Shopping wise, check out our updated Bookshops in Manchester Guide and don’t forget you need to book in advance for the monthly Elizabeth Gaskell’s House book sale. Manchester Poetry Library, Chetham’s Library, the Portico Library and the Pankhurst Centre are all welcoming visitors, so pop them on your list too. Scroll down for more events and activities, or see our literary guides to LiverpoolLeeds, Sheffield and Cumbria if you’re venturing further afield.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Kendal Poetry Festival at various venues and online

    Joelle Taylor. Photo by Roman Manfredi
    Poet Joelle Taylor. Photo by Roman Manfredi.

    Kendal Poetry Festival, online, Until 26 June 2022 - Book now

    A celebration of contemporary poetry, for its fifth appearance, Kendal Poetry Festival is hybrid, taking place in real life and simultaneously online to showcase workshops, talks and performances from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 June.

  • 2. Naomi Booth, Niamh Mulvey and Saba Sams at Blackwell’s

    Writer Niamh Mulvey. Photo by K Elliott
    Writer Niamh Mulvey. Photo by K Elliott.

    New Short Stories with Naomi Booth, Niamh Mulvey and Saba Sams at Blackwell’s Manchester, Manchester, 29 June 2022, from £3.00 - Book now

    Join Lucie McKnight Hardy on 29 June to celebrate the launch of three new short story collections: Animals At Night by Naomi Booth, Hearts And Bones by Niamh Mulvey and Send Nudes by Saba Sams. Please note the new date. Tickets for original date remain valid.

  • 3. Carcanet online book launch: Spillway by Ian Pople

    Ian Pople. Photo by Mark Epstein
    Ian Pople. Photo by Mark Epstein

    Spillway: New and Selected Poems by Ian Pople: Carcanet Book Launch, online, 29 June 2022, from £2.00 - Book now

    Join Ian Pople as he launches his new poetry collection Spillway: New and Selected Poems, and talks about it with fellow Carcanet poet Evan Jones, online on 29 June.

  • 4. Tubthumping at The Constitutional

    Writer and performer Jess Green.
    Writer and performer Jess Green.

    Tubthumping at The Constitutional, 30 June 2022, from £10.00 - Book now

    Featuring a showcase of some of the UK’s most dynamic spoken word poets both emerging and renowned, Tubthumping at The Constitutional is now fully into its stride after two previous “rip-roaring” events, this time round, on 30 June, featuring Jess Green and Sabrina Mahfouz.

  • 5. Crime Central at Central Library

    Lesley Kara
    Author Lesley Kara.

    Crime Central at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 30 June 2022, from £2.00 - Book now

    There’s murder and mayhem in the library! Manchester Libraries’ new monthly event Crime Central is back for a third outing on 30 June at Central Library, hosted by Rob Parker and featuring the best and brightest crime writing talent both locally and from around the country, including Lesley Kara, Stephanie Sowden and Russ Thomas, bestselling author of the DS Adam Tyler series.

  • 6. Manchester Literature Festival 2022

    Poet Zaffar Kunial.
    Poet Zaffar Kunial

    Manchester Literature Festival at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 7–23 October 2022, from £5 - Book now

    Save the date! Manchester Literature Festival takes place 7 to 23 October 2022, showcasing a range of poetry, prose and more from both household names as well as up-and-coming talent.

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