Manchester Literature Festival is back in town, promoting contemporary poetry and prose from across the globe, as well as Manchester’s own incredible literary history.
University Professors, writers, poets, editors, journalists and readers of all ages will come together, from 12th October – 25th October, at venues across the city to celebrate the written word. But, which of the events is worth a punt?
To mark the festival’s 10th birthday, the schedule is bigger than ever, with Festival Co-directors Cathy Bolton and Sarah-Jane Roberts promising to invite, “back many of our favourite writers from the past decade and hand-picking some of the most gifted emerging storytellers, destined to make big literary waves in the coming decade.” 85 events will take place, some having already taken place in September, prior to the official festival start date. They’ll span talks and seminars, walking and coach tours, film screenings and things for the little ones.
Top names include Margaret Atwood, Patricia Duncker on George Eliot, Jeanette Winterson, who will launch her re-telling of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, Simon Armitage and, of course, Carol Ann Duffy.
On my must-see list is:
An Evening with Robert Harris
Harris was a Panorama and Newsnight reporter before turning his attention from broadcast and newspaper journalism to fiction. He’s authored many thrillers, including Fatherland, which I studied when at University as part of a course on literature of the Third Reich. Harris will discuss politics, power and corruption in conversation with Carol Ackroyd.
Royal Exchange Theatre
Monday 12th October, 7:30pm
Elizabeth Gazkell’s Manchester
Join Ed Glinert on a walking tour of Manchester, pin pointing many sights and sites of Gaskell’s Manchester, ending at the newly reopened Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for tea and cake.
Meet outside St. Ann’s Church
Tuesday 13th October, 1:30-4pm
Jeanette Winterson, The Gap of Time: The Winter’s Tale Retold
Winterson is the acclaimed author of many novels, including the multi award winning Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. I’ve read and studied Winterson for years and got to meet her a few years back at the launch of her memoir, Why Be Happy, When You Could Be Normal? When signing my copy, she said she liked my name #fangirling
Winterson will discuss her new work, a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. re-set in a post-credit crash London and the US city of New Bohemia.
Royal Exchange Theatre
Tuesday 13th October, 7:30pm
Patricia Duncker on George Eliot
Duncker is an icon to any undergrad who was lucky to hear her lecture at The University of Manchester. Her opening address to the School of English, on my first day of University was inspiring, to say the least. She raised an eyebrow and bellowed into the microphone, “University is a time to experiment,” a brief pause, “Lord knows I did,” a whip of her pashmina and she strode off the stage.
Duncker’s works include many gripping and tantalising fictions, including the mind boggling The Curious Case of The Composer and His Judge, which I highly recommend. Here though, Duncker will explore Eliot’s later life, the relationship between author and reader and her new work Sophie and the Sibyl.
Wednesday 14th October, 6:30pm
An Evening with Carol Ann Duffy
Join Duffy in celebrating the launch of the Poet Laureate’s first Collected Poems, spanning 8 collections and 30 years.
Hallé St. Peter’s
Sunday 18th October, 7:30pm
Armitage’s poetry touches the hearts and adorns the bookshelves of most poetry enthusiasts. For his best-seller Walking Home, the poet trekked the Pennine Way. Now, he’s busking his way through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and this will be the topic of his discussion.
Tuesday 22nd October, 6:30pm
Find the full schedule here
See you at the event!