We all know what literature festivals are like, don’t we? The great and the good glad-hand some ordinary mortals in a glamorous location, and books are flogged in an appropriately decorous manner amidst the chatter and chilled wine.
“It’s a festival where innovation is as crucial as celebration: one that uniquely combines the chance to see some of the greatest writers working today with the inspiring opportunity to do-it-yourself”
But, as befits a Manchester event, the Manchester Literature Festival is distinct. It’s a festival where innovation is as crucial as celebration: one that uniquely combines the chance to see some of the greatest writers working today with the inspiring opportunity to do-it-yourself!
Heaven knows there are the biggest of big names - after Orange Prize-winning author Lionel Shriver launches the festival on 14 October, some of the celebrated writers appearing over the next twelve days include Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, and Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, who closes the Festival on 25 October (an instant sell out), as well as best-selling author and creator of the Sharpe novels Bernard Cornwell, making his only UK appearance to talk about his latest novel, Captivate, Kill or Destroy set during the American War of Independence.
But the Festival also prides itself on encouraging and nurturing new writing. Specially commissioned new work, including the inaugural Manchester Sermon delivered by Jeanette Winterson at Manchester Cathedral on 21 October, complements the Manchester Blog Awards and Rainy City Stories; home-grown events that bring attention to the wealth of writing talent in the city.
Back for a second year too, comes Is There Novelist In The House? The Festival’s very own unique “X-Factor for the writing world”. One of the success stories of last year’s event, the Festival along with local publisher Commonword and Manchester City Library offers unpublished writers the opportunity to submit their work for the scrutiny of a panel of experts.With 60 events, in over 25 venues, spread across 12 days means that a host of writers from as far afield as the USA, China and Scandinavia will be descending on the city for this huge celebration of the written word. The festival grew out of the city’s much loved poetry festival, and once more there’s the chance to walk, talk, eat, drink, read, debate, listen, but above all, celebrate Manchester’s unique take on literature.
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