The M20COLLECTIVE Guide to Manchester Literature Festival

October is the month of choice for Mancunian bibliophiles as the Manchester Literature Festival opens, bringing local and international talent together for an exciting programme of events in various locations across the city. Featuring a huge range of all sorts of poetry, spoken word, novels, drama and history, this year’s MLF is set to be a great one. There’s definitely something for everyone! With events selling out fast, make sure to grab your tickets soon. Check out the M20 Collective’s festival highlights for a handy guide to what’s on where…

Novel-based Events

Danish Crime, 6th October, 6pm, Tickets: £6/4

The Killing, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Boy in the Suitcase – Scandi-crime has been at the crest of the recent wave of international crime fiction’s popularity. This event offers an insight into the cleverly-constructed world of Danish crime novels. This night provides enthusiasts with an opportunity to discuss the mystery of writing crime with two of the best European novelists in recent years. Sit down with Lene Kaaberbol and Elsebeth Egholm to hear extracts from their works as well as widening your knowledge of one of the world’s most varied genres.

Hong Ying, 12th October, 1pm, Tickets: £6/4

Hong Ying is most famous for her world-famous memoir, Daughter of the River, and this afternoon-sit down with an outstanding literary talent is not one that should be missed! Returning with The Good Children Ying takes readers between her past and present promising great insights from her life’s worth of experience. A must see for lovers of world literature!

MUST SEE: David Mitchell, 13th November, 7pm, Tickets: £8/6

I was over the moon when I saw that David Mitchell was coming to Manchester this year! Author of the recent film-adapted best-selling novel, Cloud Atlas, this event is the highlight of the entire month! This night offers previews of Mitchell’s much anticipated novel, The Bone Clocks, as well as opportunities to engage with him about his other works. If you were also taken away by the beautifully constructed, but often frustrating, world of Cloud Atlas you must book your tickets now!

Poetry Events

Poets & Players, 11th October, 2.30pm, Tickets: Free!

Presented by Lorna Goodison and Kei Miller this afternoon event blends poetry with music. Manchester welcomes two Jamaican-born poets performing some of their award-winning work for our city! Offering narratives that are both elegant and political you are sure to come away with some big questions about gender-equality, race and wider society. Not only will attendees be treated to these two huge talents but they will also experience some of the best Manchester-based musicians: Matthew Halsall will be joined by Rachael Gladwin and Gavin Barras performing music from their latest album, When The World Was One.

Faber New Poets, 15th October, 6pm, Tickets: Free!

Faber & Faber is one of the best-known publishers in Britain and Manchester Literature Festival is giving you an opportunity to welcome in this year’s newest poets. At this event Faber’s 2014 poets will showcase their work promising a high quality evening of entertainment. Whilst tickets are free, booking is advised to guarantee yourself a place at this highly anticipated event!

MUST SEE: Patience Agbabi, 16th October, 7.30pm, Tickets: £6/5

This event is a unique one throughout the whole festival with award-winning poet Patience Agbabi taking you on a 21st Century re-telling of Chaucer’s famous The Canterbury Tales as part of her new book, Telling Tales! Agbabi’s newest collection embeds lyrical poetry with a new meaning with it being described as “a pilgrimage of punks, badasses [and] silver-tongued fixers”. If you want to see a poet who can deliver variety then look no further!

Family-friendly Events

MUST SEE: The Children’s Bookshow with Daniel Morden, 10th October, 10.30am, Ticket: £4

Aimed at children 9-11, Daniel Morden brings his experience as a professional storyteller to life at this morning event! Step back through time with fairytales of the past from the world over and be witness to a show not readily forgotten!

Family Reading Day, 18th October, 11am-4pm, Tickets: Free-£2 (events need to be booked separately!)

This event is a must for families with young children offering a day packed with amazing literary activities!

Literary Tours

Northern Classics, 12th October, 11am-4pm, Tickets: £16

If you’re not keen on a walking tour but are eager to get to know what Manchester has to offer the literary world then this tour is definitely for you! A coach tour that looks back to slightly older writers than any other tour during the festival taking you to key spots that inspired the likes of Charles Dickens. Take your packed lunch and spend the day soaking up all that Manchester has (and had) to offer.


Literary Manchester Walking Tour, 16th October, 1pm, Tickets: £10.50

For the ins and outs of Manchester’s literary history be sure to book your place on this tour hosted by Anne Beswick! Boasting a tour that covers literary greats such as Anthony Burgess and Shelagh Delaney along with different genres’ journeys through Manchester’s past this tour is bound to be enlightening. Ending with coffee and cake at the People’s History Museum café this walk is suitable for all ages and is bound to attract and excited and interested crowd – the best kind!

Boho Literary Pub Walking Tour, 18th October, 5-8pm, Tickets: £8:

Promising a relaxing walk around Manchester (complete with alcohol!) this tour will take you to the places of interest for the Mancunion writing world. Take this tour for the 18+ crowds and get to know Manchester in a completely different light. Guaranteed to create a conversation live with literary discussion for those who enjoy chatting about authors and anthologies! Meet at the Midland Hotel and immerse yourself in Manchester as the writer’s city.

Other Events

The Writing Squad, 15th October, 1pm, Tickets: Free!

Lenni Sanders and James Varney present The Writing Squad, a programme that helps young writers expand their skills. Based in the North this workshop will help bring out the best in Manchester’s undiscovered talent. Whether your cup of tea (or should I say ink) is  prose, poetry or reporting, this afternoon is made for new writers everywhere.

MUST SEE: Manchester Writing Competition, 17th October, 7pm, Tickets: £5

Organised by 2009s poet Laureate and Manchester treasure, Carol Ann Duffy, this is perhaps one of the must-see nights of the entire festival. Here, the winners of Manchester’s £10,000 writing competition will be announced in a celebration of poetry and fiction. A great way to spend a night rife with literary discussion and new talent that is bound to inspire any fellow writers sat in the audience.

Graphic Novels, 7th October, 1pm and 7pm, Tickets: Free! (1pm), £6/4 (7pm).

Any manga and comic lovers should have 7th October written in their planners in permanent marker! With two events from graphic novelists this is a day to indulge in with Darryl Cunningham, Ian Williams (1pm event), Stephen Collins and Nick Hayes (7pm event) offering their expertise on this often-forgotten genre. These two events offer talks about the creative processes behind graphic greats such as Collins’ The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. Treat yourself to a seat at either of these events and be further captivated by the art of literary reinvention.

Darryl Cunningham and Ian Williams:

Stephen Collins and Nick Hayes:

For a full break down of all the events of the festival:

Alex Webb


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