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Manchester Literature Festival 2012

Home > London > Books and Writing | Festivals | Literary | Poetry
by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
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A festival where books fly off the shelf

Writers from China, Iceland, Russia, Peru, Poland and India are amongst those featured in the Manchester Literature Festival (MLF).

The festival, now in its seventh year, is distinctive in its international range. One event, 'From St Petersburg to Manchester', celebrates the 50th anniversary of the sister link between the two cities. In another meeting of nations, two authors have been commissioned to exchange letters about their writing lives. Jenn Ashworth, from the North West, will join Turkish author, Nermin Yildirim, in a joint event called 'Manchester Letters', on Saturday 20th October.

MLF also likes to bring literature into the daylight. Guided walks will celebrate Manchester's literary landmarks, as well as Charles Dickens' connections with the city. The 'North by Northwest Literary Coach Tour', on Sunday 21st October, will journey out of Manchester, visiting various locations and ending in the West Yorkshire graveyard where legendary poet Sylvia Plath is buried.

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (made into a film by Stanley Kubrick), is 50-years-old this year. The anniversary will be marked by a special event, appropriately enough at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Pubs frequented by Burgess will also be included in the 'Boho Literary Pub Walk', on Saturday 20th October.

Rising talent is another chapter of the festival. Father-and-daughter writing team AT Boyle, Sophie Coulombeau and Stuart Evers will showcase their talents at 'Northern Debuts'. Manchester based poetry publisher, Carcanet, will be shining a light on debut collections, at Waterstones, Deansgate.

Children and parents can share a love of books in the Family Reading Day, at Manchester Town Hall on Sunday 21st October. Children's authors and performers will bring classics and modern stories to life via readings and interactive storytelling.

All literary festivals need their established stars, as well as their dazzling new talents. Poet Laureate and MLF patron, Carol Ann Duffy, will be reciting her verse alongside LiTTLe MACHiNe, who combine poetry with music. Pulitzer Prize winner, Richard Ford, will discuss his new novel Canada, at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

BBC Radio 4 favourite, Sue MacGregor, will be hosting afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel. Olympics and Paralympics TV presenter, Clare Balding, will discuss her memoir, My Animals and other Family, at the Royal Exchange Theatre, on Sunday 14th October.

Finally, it wouldn't be a Manchester festival without at least a nod to football. Rodge Glass will read from his satirical novel Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, about a new Manchester United recruit. David Conn will speak for the blue side of the city with his book Richer then God: Manchester City, Modern Football and Growing Up. The event, called 'Manchester: Home of the Beautiful Game? is on Saturday 13th October, at the National Football Museum, which recently moved into the former Urbis Centre, in Cathedral Gardens.

In summary, MLF is a festival which is in love with literature. It eschews the idea of giving a platform to celebrities to talk about their autobiographies, which may or may not have been ghost-written. Many of the events are free to attend and, from personal experience, the authors you have never heard of before often turn out to be the most interesting to listen to.
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Why? Explore the literary world by visiting Manchester.
When: 8-23 October
Phone: 0843 208 0500
Where: Beehive Mill Jersey Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M4 6JG, United Kingdom
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