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.

The Portico Library team up with Blackwell’s to host Portico Prize-winner Jessica Andrews and up the Oxford Road Corridor at the Bookshop itself, there’s loads going on – we’re heading over for the launch of acclaimed new author Camilla Grudova‘s debut novel. At Cheadle Village’s Greenhouse Books, meanwhile, there’s a Fly On The Wall showcase featuring Matt Broomfield and Jiye Lee (2 July, 5pm). Head to Central Library for some Northern noir courtesy the monthly Crime Central hosted by Rob Parker.

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 – head to The Old Bank Alehouse on Aigburth Road – 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 – takes place regularly at The Constitutional in Farsley. Also in Farsley, head to Truman Books for various events – including a reading by Stu Hennigan of his lockdown book Ghost Signs. 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. In Hebden Bridge, meanwhile, this autumn’s inaugural Sylvia Plath Literary Festival will be launched on 15 July with readings from poets Victoria Gatehouse, Gaia Holmes and Eileen Wright.

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, and there’s a special pop-up at Ducie Warehouse on 18 July, and Word Central takes over Manchester Central Library’s events space again on 26 July, with a special birthday open mic party. 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.

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.

Online, Manchester-based poetry publisher Carcanet Press is continuing to host a number of small-screen launches, including the new “best of” by 2020 Forward Prize Best Collection winner Caroline Bird, who will be chatting about the work with fellow poet Rachel Long.

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. Camilla Grudova book launch at Blackwell’s

    Author Camilla Grudova
    Author Camilla Grudova

    CHILDREN OF PARADISE - Camilla Grudova in conversation with Naomi Frisby, 12 July 2022, from £3.00 - Book now

    Head to Blackwell’s book store on 12 July for the Manchester launch of Camilla Grudova’s debut novel, Children Of Paradise, and hear from an acclaimed new author who has been compared to Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood.

  • 2. Carcanet online book launch: Rookie by Caroline Bird

    Poet Caroline Bird
    Poet Caroline Bird

    Rookie: Selected Poems by Caroline Bird, online, 13 July 2022, from £2.00 - Book now

    We’re excited for the 13 July launch of Rookie: Selected Poems by Forward Prize-winning poet Caroline Bird, when she will be reading from the new collection, out with Manchester-based Carcanet Press, and chatting about it with fellow poet Rachel Long, author of Forward Prize-shortlisted My Darling From The Lions.

  • 3. Jessica Andrews and Lara Williams at The Bank below The Portico Library

    Jessica Andrews
    Author Jessica Andrews.

    MILK TEETH - Jessica Andrews in conversation with Lara Williams at The Portico Library, Chinatown, 26 July 2022, from £3.00 - Book now

    We’re back in the hostelry below Manchester’s best-kept library secret where the Portico Prize 2020 was awarded to then debut novelist Jessica Andrews – on Tuesday 26 July, she is launching her second book, Milk Teeth, reading extracts and chatting about it with Lara Williams.

  • 4. Crime Central at Central Library

    Lesley Kara
    Author Lesley Kara.

    Crime Central at Manchester Central Library, Manchester, 28 July 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 fourth outing on 28 July at Central Library, hosted by Rob Parker and featuring the best and brightest crime writing talent both locally and from around the country.

  • 5. 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.

  • 6. Forward Prizes at Contact and online

    Helen Mort. Photo by Jonathan Pow
    Helen Mort. Photo by Jonathan Pow.

    Forward Prizes at Contact Theatre, Manchester, 28 November 2022, from £15.00 - Book now

    It’s the 30th anniversary of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, the most influential awards for new poetry in the UK and Ireland, honouring fresh voices alongside internationally established names – and this year the glittering awards ceremony will take place right here in Manchester, on 28 November.

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