Monday, July 23, 2007


The nomination period is now open for the

2007 Manchester Blog Awards.

Cash prizes will be awarded in five categories: political blog, personal blog, arts and culture blog, best new blog and a new category recognising the best creative writing on a blog.

To nominate blogs, send URLs for one entry in each category to mancblogawards at by September 7th 2007. (In order to qualify, writers of the blogs must live within reasonable commuting distance of Manchester. And yes, you can nominate your own blog. ) Manchester Blog Awards Director Kate Feld (The Manchizzle) will draw up a shortlist after the close of the nominating period, and the winners will be selected by a judging panel that will include Richard Fair of BBC Manchester and Dave Carter of Manchester Digital Development Agency.

The winners will be announced at:

The Manchester Blog Awards 2007
at MohoLive, Oldham Street
on 7pm Wednesday 10th October

Last year’s event was such a hit, we’ve decided to get bigger and better for 2007. We’ve organised a star-studded gala affair in the brand new MohoLive venue on Oldham Street. The evening will be a riotous celebration of new and engaging online writing, with readings from Manchester bloggers and music from the city’s mp3 bloggers.

We’re delighted to be able to host a reading from blogger and MMU graduate Caroline Smailes, whose debut novel, In Search of Adam, was recently published by Friday Fiction, the new fiction imprint from The Friday Project, the innovative publishing company that specialises in putting blogs in print. Caroline’s blog was hugely instrumental in getting her book published, and we’ll talk to her about that too.

Manchester writer and blogger Elizabeth Baines (The Tart of Fiction / Fictionbitch) will be reading the final installment of her Festival commissioned Blog Story, What Would You Do?, a tale set in Manchester that she’ll be writing in six sequential posts on a blog – with readers voting on what turn the plot should take. To find out more about this project, visit

The Manchester Blog Awards is a free event, but please book tickets in advance. The Manchester Literature Festival box office goes live mid-August. To book tickets,
Call: 0870 428 0785 or book online:

Get Blogging Workshops

This year, Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Digital Development Agency are also delighted to offer two blogging workshops on Saturday 29th September:

Blogging for Writers 11 am -1 pm
With writer and blogger Elizabeth Baines and Kate Feld of The Manchizzle
Putting your work online gives you a chance to flex your creative muscles and reach a whole new readership. This workshop aimed at writers will take participants through starting a blog; explore fiction, poetry and nonfiction blogs; and look at how some writers have used blogging to their best advantage.

So You Wanna be a Blogstar? 2 – 4 pm
With Kate Feld of The Manchizzle and and Chris Horkan of Mancubist.
What makes a blog work? In this workshop, we’ll look at the elements that go into successful blogs, and discuss the finer points of style, design, focus, and attracting readers. Perfect for a blogger or aspiring blogger who’s familiar with the basics but needs a little inspiration.

Workshops will be held at MDDA, Portland Street, £2. Computer stations and wireless internet available. Each workshop limited to ten, so book early. The Manchester Literature Festival box office goes live mid-August. To book tickets, Call: 0870 428 0785 or book online:

To find out more visit the MLF website at; or The Manchizzle blog at Contact Kate Feld, on 07960 285891, or via email: kate.feld at

Manchester Blog Awards is supported by the Manchester Digital Development Agency and is part of the Manchester Literature Festival, October 4-14 2007.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Urban Myths Re-told

Manchester Literature Festival is pleased to announce the launch of this national flash fiction writing competition and performance installation project, coordinated in association with Urbis and the Interactive Arts Course at MMU.

We are inviting submissions of micro fictions that tell or retell an urban myth. The micro fiction or flash fiction genre forces writers to dispense with the excessive, superfluous and unnecessary elements to convey a succinct idea or story. This format is particularly suited to the Chinese-whisper characteristic of Urban Myths, where partial truths are laced with fantasy as they pass from teller to teller. We invite you to create your own version of what happens in the dark alleys and night clubs of cities and towns. You can use horror, science fiction or comedy to pack your punch.

You can submit up to five short fiction works of no longer than 250 words each on the theme of Urban Myths. Participants can be any age, and must live in the UK. Entries will be accepted in hard copy by mail only (see details below). All entries must be accompanied by a covering page which details the writer’s name, mobile phone number, email address and mailing address in order to be eligible.

The deadline for entries is Friday August 17th at 5pm. The submissions will then be judged by a literary panel including Katherine Beacon (BBC writersroom) and flash fiction author, David Gaffney, who will select the ten strongest entries. Students from the Interactive Arts degree at MMU will then interpret the successful ten flash fiction pieces and use the work as inspiration for the creation of new artworks in various genres (i.e. film, photography, sculpture, performance). This will result in a promenade performance installation piece, featuring all of the successful selections of micro-stories as interpreted by the Interactive Arts students.

The event will take place at Urbis on October 11th at 6pm as part of the Manchester Literature Festival 2007. The audience will be led around the Urbis building as darkness falls…. and the Urban Myths are re-told again.

The overall winner of the competition will receive a complimentary night for two, including dinner, bed & breakfast, in one of City Inn’s stylish contemporary hotels. City Inn is the hotel partner for Manchester Literature Festival. Check out their website for hotel details: and watch this space for special deals for festival goers to be announced in August. (* This prize is subject to terms and conditions.)


Writers are asked to submit their flash fiction works by sending them along with a covering page detailing their name, mobile phone contact details, email address and mailing address.
Please post to:

Creative Programmes
Cathedral Gardens
Manchester M4 3BG

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Manchester Literature Festival & Jodrell Bank

Manchester Literature Festival is planning a number of exciting new projects with Jodrell Bank over the next couple of years. We hope to launch the first of these in the autumn – more details to follow soon. In the meantime, please check out Jodrell’s summer Literary Festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope:

First Move Literary Festival 15 – 17 Jun

The Hot Spot, Jodrell Bank’s very own ‘Summer Pavilion’ hosts the First Move Literary Festival to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first move of the Lovell Telescope under power. The programme is now finalised and is as follows :

Sat 26th May

National Poetry Competition Run by The Times (see the Books Section and Times Online), leading poetry publishers Carcanet and Jodrell Bank in order to find a poem to send to the moon on June 17th.

Fri 15th June

10.30am to 2pm Talking to the Moon. Schools poetry workshops writing poems destined to be sent to the moon and back on Sun 17 Jun. (Attendance arranged by Cheshire Education Authority).

7.30pm Alan Garner. The award-winning author speaks about his sense of time and place. Introduction by Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times. Book signing to follow.

9.15pm Jodrell at 50. Astromomer Ian Morrison introduces Jodrell Bank and the Lovell Telescope. Tickets for the evening are £6.00 for adults and £5.00 for concessions. Tel: 01477 571 339 or 01477 571 321 or email:

Sat 16th June

2pm It Dances – An Interpreted Move. The Jodrell Bank Observatory is delighted to invite you to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope’s First Move. Come and be talked through the moves the Telescope makes as it points across space and time to observe the universe. Cream teas available on the lawn.

7.30pm Jeanette Winterson. The stellar author of Tanglewreck, Gut Symmetries, The Passion and Oranges are not the Only Fruit. Introduction by Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times. Book signing to follow.

9.15pm Moving through Space & Time. Astronomer Tim O’Brien explains our view of the Universe.Tickets for the evening are £6.00 for adults and £5.00 for concessions. Tel : 01477 571 339 or 01477 571 321or email:

Sun 17th June

2pm Moonbounce. The poem written by the winner of the national competition run jointly by Jodrell Bank and The Times will be read out, transmitted to the moon, bounced off its surface and its echo picked up by the Lovell Telescope. Poems written by children at the workshop on Fri 15 Jun will also be moonbounced. Tickets are £6.00 for adults and £5.00 for children. Tel : 01477 571 339 or 01477 571 321 or email:

7.30pm The Space Race - Jed Mercurio and Alastair Gunn. The author of Bodies, currently working on a new TV adaptation of Frankenstein, discusses his most recent book Ascent, a fictional account of a Soviet manned mission to the Moon prior to the launch of Apollo 11. Alastair Gunn, an astromomer at Jodrell Bank, sets the discussion in the context of Jodrell Bank's contribution to the space race. Introduction by Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times. Book signing to follow. Tickets are £6.00 for adults and £5.00 for concessions. Tel : 01477 571 339 or 01477 571 321 or email:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Trailblazer event: Edmund White for queerupnorth

Tuesday 15 May 07, 8pm

at Essential, Bloom Street, Manchester M1
Tickets: £9 (Subject to booking fee)

Booking: tel 0870 428 0785 or book online

A special appearance from one of America’s greatest living authors presented by queerupnorth and Manchester Literature Festival.

Edmund White’s semi-autobiographical trilogy (A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room is Empty and The Farewell Symphony) is one of the definitive chronicles of modern queer life. He’s also been acclaimed for his fiction novels, his short stories, and biographies of Jean Genet and Proust.

He’s particularly renowned for writing that combines frankness, poignancy and hilarity, from his memorable tales of coming out to his vivid depictions of living with HIV. He’ll talk about his life and his books, but he’ll also treat us to a special preview of his new novella Chaos in an evening that’s not to be missed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Manchester Literature Festival are looking for a Festival Administrator / Events Manager

Location: Festival Office, Central Manchester

Salary £24,000 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 Administrator / Events Manager to provide year round administrative and marketing support and to manage the actual programme of events that take place as part of the annual festival and one off trailblazer events. You must have excellent organisational and communication skills.

You will report to the Festival Director and be responsible for the recruitment and supervision of a team of volunteers. Manchester Literature Festival is a Limited Company.

For a Job Description and Person Specification please contact

Cathy Bolton email: director at

or Tel: 0161 236 5725.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 28th March

Potential Interview date: Thursday 12 April (tbc)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Diké Omeje

We are very sad to report that the poet Diké Omeje died of cancer at the weekend. Diké was a dynamic and inspirational force on the performance poetry scene in Manchester and beyond. He captivated audiences across the country with his thoughtful words and captivating presence. Diké was a firm favourite in many of the Manchester Poetry Festival programmes and brought his unique brand of wit and poetic dexterity to the first Manchester Literature Festival through his involvement in The Burgess Project and the Mancunian Meander. He had two collections of poems published Crafting the Practice (Crocus Books) and the Mindfield (Cheers Ta), and was published in many anthologies including Poetry Slam (Manchester Poetry Festival).

Diké was highly regarded and well loved amongst his contemporaries. He was always encouraging new poets and was a keen supporter of the many performance nights that have flourished in the city in recent years. We are immensely grateful that he dedicated so much of his 34 years to poetry. He was, in short, an impossible act to follow.

Cathy Bolton & Fee Plumley (Manchester Literature Festival) & The Burgess Project Team

For more information on Diké or to post your own condolences please visit

Commonword are raising a memorial contribution towards Dike’s funeral expenses. If you are able to make a donation please let them know by email how much you are able to commit and send a cheque made payable to Commonword Ltd to: Commonword 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS. They will pass on all money received to Dike’s family.

Photograph: Diké Omeje during The Burgess Project development weekend. Credit: Jamie Kennerley, September 2006.