Friday, December 08, 2006

Want to become MLF's new Director?

In August 2006 Chris Gribble left to become the Chief Executive of the New Writing Partnership in Norwich. Cathy Bolton took over as Acting Director to lead us through the first festival in our new format, and now it is time to recruit for the more long-term position.

If you have always wanted a festival of your own, here's your chance...

Manchester Literature Festival
Festival Director

Location: Office, Central Manchester
Salary £30,000 pro-rata (3 days per week)

This appointment is initially for 12 months with the potential for renewal for a further 2 years.

The new Manchester Literature Festival with its strong brands Read, Independent and Freeplay is looking to appoint a Festival Director to build on the successes of the first year and strengthen the festival for the future. The Director must have vision and drive, good knowledge of the Literature Sector and enthusiasm for developing an innovative and adventurous festival.

The Festival is delivered across the City with a range of partners and organisations. We are looking for a good communicator who can build strong partnerships, generate new funding and develop exciting festival projects.

Manchester Literature Festival is a Limited Company. You will report to a board and have responsibility for an Administrative / Events Manager. The post of Festival Director is challenging in offering the chance to exercise a wide range of skills, creative, commercial and organisational, with a large degree of autonomy.

For a Job Description and person specification please contact
Jane Mathieson e mail
or Tel 0161 236 4451

Closing date for applications: Mon 18th December
Potential Interview date: Friday 5th January (tbc)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Burgess Project hits Manchester streets

The hugely ambitious Burgess Project hit Manchester's streets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week and was a massive success. With a bonkers mix of churches, text messages, tour buses, crime scenes, furry pianos and sing-alongs, presided over by the Big Brother-like presence of Anthony Burgess, those who had booked on and those intrigued passers-by that joined in the fun in St Ann's and Exchange Squares were unanimous in their praise. Despite the many threats to proceedings including traffic wardens, fines for dropping a cigar, broken heels, teenagers at the Triangle, rain and temperamental tvs, the Burgess Project wove its merry way through the city centre and, thanks to the hard work of all involved, proved an gob-smacking and certainly different highlight of the first Manchester Literature Festival!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Under the belly of the whale

It's not often you get the chance to hear a poetry reading while surrounded by stuffed animals and skeletal swimmers, but that's the Manchester Literature Festival for you.
American poet and well-known liberal Sharon Olds paid her first visit to Manchester last night for an exclusive reading, held in conjunction with The Poetry School. The event was a sell-out with a queue of hopefuls hovering in hope of a returned ticket for what was proving to be one of the events of the festival so far. After mingling in Cafe Muse, the crowd were led, school crocodile fashion, up to the Animal Gallery of Manchester Museum where they were sat under the skeleton of a whale. Yes, the skeleton of a whale. A more impressive or unusual setting you couldn't have asked for. Despite a few initial technical difficulties (the sound men were given their own round of applause when the microphone was finally persuaded to work), Sharon Olds soon had the audience entranced with readings from her Selected Poems and previews of new works. A Q&A session gave an insight into Old's techniques and influences before it was time to be let out, blinking, onto Oxford Road, heads still full of poetry and taxidermy...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Royle Visit

Back to Matt and Phreds last night for the launch of local author Nicholas Royle's new book of short stories, Mortality. After a slight panic at about 6.55pm when it seemed the author had gone walkabout, normal service was resumed and the reading took place only slightly later than planned. Nicholas Royle's tales of Fallowfield Film Club and references to Fletcher Moss Gardens went down well with a sizeable crowd, boosted by Nicholas's very own fan club/students. Another great night at MLF was rounded off with the mellow sounds of Matt and Phred's jazz band taking us into the wee hours, ready for another day of reading and writing fun tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

a shaggy dog tale

If you went down to Matt and Phreds last night, you'd certainly have had a big surprise. Cult classic Ed Barton was on hand to perform a selection of his poems form new book Bad Leg and perform was certainly the word. As well as a series of short films and musical support from Rachel Pratt & The Nature Corner and The Delicate Hammers, Ed donned a series of rather disturbing animal costumes to better renact his tales of dogs and monkeys and Germans. Editor Ra Page bore the brunt of Ed's evil eye and was 'encouraged' to read a poem himself centre stage-bravo.
Across town at Urbis, the Manchester Blog Awards celebrated the best online voices in conjunction with Verberate. Congratulations to overall winner 43 - detailing the trials and tribulations of that long, long journey from Piccadilly to Manchester Airport. Best personal blog went to A Free Man in Preston, best arts and culture was won by Yer Mam and best political was taken by Normblog. Congratulations all round!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Authors in the art gallery and other stories

It was a night of celebrity authors, wine, inspiring readings, interesting company, wine, glamour (fee's fabulous ballgown), and wine.
As the Whitworth Art Gallery filled with eager Boyd fans (Boydettes?) there was a buzz going round the beautiful surroundings that said the Manchester Literature Festival had arrived. Fuelled by wine and nibbles, the already enthusiastic crowd was put in a receptive mood. William Boyd was a confident speaker, regaling his audience with tales of WWII espionage and the war of minds to persuade the Americans to join the war effort. His latest novel, Restless, certainly went down well last night, with Waterstones doing a roaring trade and Mr Boyd giving his autograph a lot of practice.
Other first day events, including Pennine Poets, Original Modern Stories and Mike Garry all also went swimmingly with positive reactions reported all round. Here's to another equally fantastic nine days!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Manchester Literature Festival open for business

Hey hey - we made it! The first ever Manchester Literature Festival has launched! And we're off to a flying start today (Friday) with the first Original Modern Stories recordings, Pennine Poets anthology launch, Mike Garry on a Mancunian Meander and William Boyd at Whitworth Art Gallery-phew.
We hope to see you at some (or all, if you're a hardcore lit fan) of the amazing events taking place over the next ten days. Keep checking back for news and reviews from the frontline of the festival...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sign up for free Eventext

If you want all the latest news on events around Manchester (including, of course, the fabulous and imminent MLF) then you won't go far wrong by signing up for Manchester City Council's free Eventext service.

As well as exclusive competitions and offers from Manchester Literature Festival, you'll be the first to know about all the other ace events happening around Manc this winter, including Manchester Comedy Festival, In The City Live and the ever popular Christmas markets.

Simply text 'EVENT' to 60600 to subscribe and you'll soon have the latest news, reviews and exclusive offers at your fingertips. Most importantly all the texts are free and you can opt in or out at any time. Find out more, including terms and conditions, at

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tickets selling fast...

With phones and computers red hot in the MLF office, tickets for the festival's events, readings and projects are selling like the proverbial.
BitchLit at Waterstones on 19th October is already a sell-out while Sharon Olds at Manchester Museum on 18 October and launch night favourite William Boyd at the Whitworth Art Gallery are also fast reaching capacity. Make sure you get your mitts on tickets for your favourite events by emailing now!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Manchester Festival of Palestinian Literature tickets on sale now

Start forming an orderly queue as the hottest literary tickets in town are now officially on sale. The first ever Manchester Festival of Palestinian Literature opens on Friday 13 October and runs all weekend. Highlights to get in your diary include:

  • Mourid Barghouti - renowned author of I Saw Ramallah
  • Carol Ann Duffy & Salma Kahdra Jayyusi
  • Guy Garvey performing with Reem Kelani at Matt and Phreds
The festival website is now also open for business - - where you can check out all the events, including the festival market, and plan your weekend in full.

Tickets cost £5.00 per event (£4.00 concs) or if you really want to immerse yourself there's a festival pass available for the frankly giveaway price of £30 (£25 concs).

Email to book now for the festival they're calling 'A literary Buena Vista Social Club'.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Book crossing for National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day is Oct. 5, and North West libraries are marking the occasion with a poetry-specific Book Crossing effort.

Library staff will be leaving specially purchased poetry collections by poets from the North West region, in public places such as health centres, leisure centres, pubs and cafes, hairdressers’ salons - wherever they think someone will have time and curiosity enough, to pick up a book and read a poem or two. Finders of books can read and keep them, or pass them on, after registering their “find” on

While books are being released, four poets are going to be spreading the word about the Book Crossing project at readings across the region. Rosie Lugosi in Liverpool (3pm at Tate Liverpool), Mandy Coe in Manchester (BBC mobile studio), Joy Winkler in Carlisle (Castle) and Jennifer Copley in deepest Cheshire (Deep Store) are all reading briefly before leaving their own collections somewhere in the locality.

The NW Book Crossing project is co-ordinated by Time To Read, the NW Libraries Reader Development partnership. For more information about the project as a whole, please contact Jane Mathieson Tel 0161 236 4451 or e mail

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Manchester Blog Awards

Check out Manchizzle's blog for info on how to nominate your blog for the First Annual Manchester Blog Awards as part of the Manchester Literature Festival!

Categories are:
Best Arts and Culture Blog ( incl. music, photo, art, film, lit, fiction blogs, etc.)
Best Political Blog
Best Personal Blog
Blog of the Year (Open to any kind of blog)
The nominating period started on Sept 10th and closes on October 1. You can nominate yourself or someone else, and selections will be made by a panel of judges early October. Please email your nominations to:

The deadline has now been extended until October 7th! Quick, get your nominations in.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Manchester Independent Book Market

Fri 1st & Sat 2nd Sept saw the first ever Manchester Independent Book Market at St Ann's Square. Organised by (DXN) Diversity Exchange Network and Literature Northwest (with support from CIDS), this was the first time the region's independent publishers have been invited to promote their wares by Manchester Specialist Markets (the fellas who put on the German, Flower, Christmas and Farmers markets).

It was excellent to see so many sellers and buyers (particularly those braving the rain on the Saturday!) mingling, with live entertainment provided by Chloe Poems, Anwen Lewis, Maria Roberts and Dike Omeje - amongst others.

The spanking new MLF brochures managed to arrive hot-off-the-press just in time for the market and were quite literally flying off the stalls - it bodes well for a good inaugural festival! Here's hoping this becomes a regular event! Particular thanks to Duncan and Ra for all their hard work.

Welcome to MLFestival's Blog

This is where we will be updating you on the activities to be seen and heard during the festival, and inviting your comments.