Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

There’s plenty on as we head into June, including a county-wide celebration of libraries and some tempting sniffs of upcoming real-life live literature…

First of all, happy birthday to Manchester’s Word Central, in conjunction with Flapjack Press, which turns five on 3 June with a shindig featuring regular host Tony Curry in the headline spot. The night before, Speak Easy is live on Zoom – but pop Thursday 1 July in your diary for its return in person, picking up proceedings at Chorlton’s Dulcimer following the sad demise of Sip Club. Also back in real life after taking a break in June is Liverpool’s A Lovely Word… back on Thursday 1 July with headliner poet Curtis Watt at St James’ Gardens below the Anglican Cathedral and on Thursday 5 August with Afflecks creative-in-residence Joy France at Princes Park wooden henge.

While we’re talking alfresco in Liverpool, The Reader’s Spoken Word evening is back in the Secret Garden in Calderstones Park for a second outing on 17 June, and aims to continue apace every third Thursday of the month. Find out more in our preview here. The weekly Poetry Walks and Shared Reading groups are also back on, so if you like your literature served with a side order of gorgeous surroundings, read on here.

The programme for Manchester’s first-ever Festival Of Libraries has been revealed, and runs 9 to 13 June with plenty to pick from, including an evening with three writers connected to the city through the Manchester Writing School: Lara Williams, Keith Hutson and Oliver Harris. The Writing School’s Malika Booker, meanwhile, is chatting to poet Jason Allen-Paisant about his debut collection with Manchester’s Carcanet Press on 30 June, while Richard Price launches his new Carcanet book the week before on 23 June.

Looking to July, and Didsbury Arts Festival welcomes Mike Garry and Manchester International Festival has a programme loaded with poetry, prose and more – see our previews on Arcadia, I Love You Too and Notes On Grief.

The Elizabeth Gaskell’s House book sale is back on 13 June, so get your place booked as soon as possible, and check out our Guide To Bookshops In Manchester. And don’t forget to 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

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The Little Library in Spinningfields

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Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
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Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

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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.

Activity 4 August 2021 7:00 pm, from £4

Sir Walter Scott and Elizabeth Gaskell

Join Dr. Diane Duffy for a look into the literary works of Sir Walter Scott and his relationship to Elizabeth Gaskell in our literary canon.

Activity 8 September 2021 7:00 pm, from £4

Children’s Literature: With Prof. Kim Reynolds

Professor Kim Reynolds will be exploring the world of children’s literature that Elizabeth Gaskell may have read to her own four daughters and the influence this may have had on her own writings.

Literature 15–17 October 2021, from £14.00

Lakes International Comic Art Festival

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is back in the Cumbrian town of Kendal, bigger and better than ever, and with plenty of storytelling treats in both words and pictures.

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