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Rainy City Stories

Natalie Bradbury puts her head in the clouds to re-write Manchester

Published on October 14th 2008.


Rainy City Stories

Do you ever make up your own stories about people waiting in the queue at the Post Office, wonder what might have once gone on in deserted, derelict buildings or hypothesise about what happens behind closed doors? Or even just fancied writing your memoir?

If so, a new website might be for you. They say that everyone has a novel inside them, and Rainy City Stories, which has just been launched as part of the Manchester Literature Festival, invites members of the public to send in their own stories relating to Manchester.

The interactive project has kicked off with site-specific stories from four established local authors: Nicholas Royle, Jackie Kay, Mike Duff and Rajeev Balasubramanyam.

Visitors to the site are greeted by a map of Manchester, over which hover small rain clouds signalling the part of the city where a story takes place. Clicking on a cloud opens a tale, and readers whose interest is piqued can get a closer look by zooming in further with Google Earth.

Jackie Kay describes chance meetings and dog walking in Chorlton woodland, as well as paying homage to the Unicorn grocery and referencing topical issues such as the recession. She also uses the story 'Take Yesterday' as a platform to enter the debate about independent shops versus chain supermarkets.

The stories, which take place in the first person, are similar to blogs or diaries. Kay adopts a friendly tone, and offers advice such as a recipe for roast chicken.

Rajeev Balasubramanyam portrays the flip-side, in 'The Tablet of Bliss', a strange fantasy based on the familiar figure of David Beckham. His story is set in an unwelcoming Whalley Range where 'the air is damp and smells of beer'.

Mike Duff uses dialect in 'Rats and Mice' to create an informal persona and recount a night time train journey loaded with menace.

Nicholas Royle relives another journey, an evening drive along the roads of Manchester.

The organisers, Kate Feld who writes the blog Manchizzle and Chris Horkan, who runs Mancubist, also invite images, audio and video and graphic stories.

If you are itching to put pen to paper, and describe a wander through Withington or a drama in Didsbury, for instance, get writing.

There will also be related writing workshops and events featuring some of the Rainy City Stories writers in the 2009 Manchester Literature Festival.

www.rainycitystories.com

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Mr Blue SkyOctober 14th 2008.

It is tiresome this rainy thing...I suppose the clouds on the site are sort of funny, could do with some more of them though, in otherwords stories to make this site more complete.

BgutOctober 14th 2008.

it's clicheying it down right now

Thoroughbred MancOctober 14th 2008.

Not that rainy city cliche again.

ChrisOctober 14th 2008.

Thanks for the mention - and I hope ManCon readers feel inspired to submit their stories, then there'll be plenty of clouds on the map!

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