Literature Events in Manchester and the North

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

There are plenty of online readings and live launches as Manchester and the North welcomes some great writers with book festival season getting underway, and there are loads of new spoken word nights and open mics to check out…

The Portico Library’s Rewriting the North series continues in October, while Central Library is the place to head for some Northern noir courtesy the monthly Crime Central hosted by Rob Parker. Meanwhile, Manchester Poetry Library celebrates its first birthday, and up the Oxford Road Corridor at Blackwell’s Bookshop, there’s loads going on, including Thea Lenarduzzi talking to Kaye Mitchell about her debut Dandelions.

In Liverpool, various nights like A Lovely Word, Blast!, Give Poetry A Chance, Liver Bards and the popular Spoken Word night at the Mansion House are back for the autumn season. Meanwhile, The Reader’s weekly Poetry Walks also continue in south Liverpool’s Calderstones Park every Thursday morning – bring a brolly and find out more here.

Over in Leeds, Chelping returns for the autumn, and its open mic compère Matt Abbott co-hosts Tubthumping with Maria Ferguson at The Constitutional in Farsley. Also in Farsley, head to Truman Books for various events and the new Ink Slinging: Farsley Literature Festival, while Leeds has a brand-new night, with its second outing on 30 September – Chemistry, hosted by Leeds poet Joe Williams. In Sheffield, keep an eye out for new night Resonance and also Nine Lives Poetry, in new venue John St Kitchen. In Hebden Bridge, meanwhile, get ready for this October’s inaugural Sylvia Plath Literary Festival, and, in Huddersfield, check out the new poetry night Ink Spill at The Grove.

West of the Pennines, we have a few new nights in town – or just out of town: Sour Theatre Collective’s Blah Blah Blah poetry night takes place at Café Blah in Withington, just round the corner from Beatification at Fuel. There’s also Crooked Poets hosted by John Darwin at Crooked Man Bar in Prestwich on the first Tuesday of the month, as well as Express Yourself hosted by David Scott (aka Argh Kid, BBC Radio Manchester) at Bask in Stockport on the last Wednesday of every month. Saboteur Awards Best Regular Spoken Word Night Verbose is back at the King’s Arms in Salford on 26 September, and Poets & Players returns on 24 September, with a new venue in the form of Burgess Foundation, and readers including Fiona Benson and Anthony Anaxagorou. Word Central takes over Manchester Central Library’s events space monthly and don’t forget Speak Easy’s bumper open mic is at Dulcimer in Chorlton every first Thursday of the month.

At Chorlton Library, the Manchester Poets line-up in September welcomes Carcanet-published Carola Luther on the first night of Chorlton Book Festival – read our guide to the highlights of the 18th CBF here, including a Flapjack Press showcase and reading and Q&A with David Gaffney. Online, Manchester-based poetry publisher Carcanet Press continues with its virtual launches and Salford-based Flapjack Press poets are the guests of Henry Normal In Conversation, back on a small screen near you throughout September.

For book purchases, head to Northern Monk on the afternoon of 25 September, when indie press Death Of Workers While Building Skyscrapers is putting together a small publishers fair. You can also delve into our Bookshops in Manchester Guide and don’t forget you still 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. Henry Normal in conversation online

    Poet Henry Normal
    Writer Henry Normal.

    Henry Normal in Conversation, Until 28 September 2022, free entry - Visit now

    Join Henry Normal online every Wednesday in September as he chats and shares poems with award-winning wordsmiths from Salford-based Flapjack Press: John Darwin (7 September), Janine Booth (14 September), David Viney (21 September) and Rob Steventon (28 September).

  • 2. Tubthumping at The Constitutional

    Poet and performer Sophie Sparham.
    Poet and performer Sophie Sparham.

    Tubthumping at The Constitutional, 29 September 2022, from £10.00 - Book now

    A rip-roaring evening featuring some of the UK’s most dynamic spoken word poets: Nymphs & Thugs present Tubthumping at The Constitutional – back after a summer break on 29 September, the new term kicks off with Kevin P Gilday and Sophie Sparham.

  • 3. Thea Lenarduzzi in conversation with Kaye Mitchell at Blackwell’s

    Author Thea Lenarduzzi
    Author Thea Lenarduzzi.

    DANDELIONS - Thea Lenarduzzi in conversation with Kaye Mitchell at Blackwell’s Manchester, Manchester, 29 September 2022, from £3.00 - Book now

    Thea Lenarduzzi reads from her debut book Dandelions, winner of the 2020 Fitzcarraldo Editions / Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize, and talks about it to the University of Manchester Centre for New Writing’s co-director Kaye Mitchell on 29 September.

  • 4. Chemistry at Chemic Tavern

    Jimmy Andrex. Photo Margutte.
    Jimmy Andrex. Photo Margutte.

    Chemistry 1: Clare Shaw & Rachel Bower at The Chemic Tavern, Leeds, 30 September 2022, free entry - Find Out More

    Leeds’ newest live literature night Chemistry promises an exciting mixture of headline guests and open mic acts, all introduced by Leeds-based poet Joe Williams. For the second event, the headliners are Jimmy Andrex and Jenny Robb – head to the Chemic Tavern on 30 September for Chemistry 2 (He for Helium).

  • 5. Manchester Literature Festival 2022

    Kamila Shamsie by Alex von Tunzelman.

    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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Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
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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.

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Baby Bear at Z-arts

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The World of Independent Publishing at The Constitutional

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Culture Guides

Jadé Fadojutimi at The Hepworth Wakefield

Exhibitions

Enjoy these brand new exhibitions (and hide from the late summer downpours) opening this month in Manchester and the North.

Families

As we say bye to the summer holidays and begin to welcome in the cooler months, Manchester’s events and activities continue to bring joy and fun to families.

Music

Autumn’s a fine old time for gigs in Manchester and the North. From otherworldly folk to life-affirming soul, here are our top picks for October onwards.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

As the new theatre season gets ready to launch, we champion some of the star performances happening over the next few months.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North as we head into autumn.

Cinema

David Bowie, Japanese classics and some early spooky screenings all feature in this month’s cinema guide.

Tours and Activities

Every season change is an excuse to try something new, and when it comes to tours and activities, autumn delivers!