Manchester Literature Festival: Writing in the North
What distinguishes the landscape of the North? And how do you capture it on the page? Two novelists distinct in their portrayal of a foreboding Morecambe Bay are in conversation about their haunting new novels that follow families in search of a miracle.
Jenn Ashworth’s Fell, told through the combined voices of a husband and wife who are no longer alive, explores what ordinary, imperfect people do in the face of mortality.
Andrew Michael Hurley’s gothic novel The Loney, described as a ‘masterful excursion into terror,’ by The Sunday Times, follows two brothers, one mute and the other his protector, as the boys and their parents seek help from a sacred shrine on the desolate stretch of coastline known as The Loney.
Join us as we explore just what it is about the Lancashire coastline that inspires stories that cause the back of your neck to prickle. Hosted by MLF’s Kate Feld.
Manchester Literature Festival: Sarah Howe
At this event, poet Sarah Howe presents selections from her acclaimed debut collection, which explores the duality of her Anglo-Chinese heritage and sees the poet travel back to Hong Kong in search of her roots. Written with a deft and exhilarating command of language, the poems in Loop of Jade build into a profound meditation on hybridity, intermarriage and love, migration and inheritance.
Loop of Jade won the 2015 TS Eliot Prize: the first ever debut collection to be awarded one of British poetry’s most prestigious prizes. AS Byatt called it ‘one of the very best books of poems I have read for a long time — complicated and moving and very accomplished.’ Sarah’s pamphlet, A Certain Chinese Encyclopaedia, was published in 2009, and she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2010. She will be introduced by fellow poet John McAuliffe.
Manchester Literature Festival: Anna Beer
Since the birth of classical music, women who dared to compose have been patronised, slandered and had their authorship questioned. Come lend an ear to the remarkable composers who bravely challenged the musical establishment only to be silenced by history.
Cultural historian and biographer Anna Beer discusses her new book, Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music, and the secret history of eight women composers including Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi and Fanny Hensel.
Anna’s previous books include much-praised biographies of Milton and Lady Bess Raleigh; she is a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and 6 Music. The Sunday Times said, ‘Anna Beer’s eye for detail is outstanding.’ Join us for this moving musical journey ranging from Florence of the Medicis to London in the Blitz. Chaired by Manchester Camerata’s Samantha Morgan.
Manchester Literature Festival: Refugee Tales with Marina Lewycka & Dragan Todorovic
Those with ‘citizenship’ enjoy basic human rights – like the right not to be detained for more than 14 days without charge. Unfortunately, these rights do not extend to some of the most vulnerable people in society. To raise awareness of the detainee, asylum seeker and refugee experience in this country, and to call for an end to indefinite detention, The Refugee Tales Project commissioned 14 authors to work with refugees who had direct experience of Britain’s detention system, re-telling their stories anonymously as a modern day equivalent to The Canterbury Tales.
Tonight, Marina Lewycka (author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and herself born in a refugee camp), and the poet and novelist Dragan Todorovic (author of Diary of Interrupted Days) tell two of these stories. This event is presented in partnership with Comma Press, and chaired by Lynne Fanthome.
RedEye: Photography Meets Design, the Making of a Photobook
The creation of a successful photobook relies on the harmonious partnership between photographer and designer. With each individual bringing their own creative outlook to the project, they must figure out a form of successful collaboration whilst respecting each other’s artform. This relationship is often a tricky one, with both the photographer and designer approaching the project with their own unique insights and requirements.
This event, chaired by Bruno Ceschel of Self Publish Be Happy, explores this often difficult, but hugely rewarding partnership, and considers what is takes to make a great photobook. Bruno will give a talk about his work with Self Publish Be Happy before inviting designers and photographers on stage to give a real-world example of the production of a photobook. For more information and tickets click here.
Manchester Literature Festival: Hwang Jung-eun & Deborah Smith
Korean fiction is on the ascendancy, and we’re thrilled that one of the most successful of South Korea’s younger generation of writers, Hwang Jung-eun, will come to Manchester to talk about her novel, One Hundred Shadows, published for the first time in English by Tilted Axis this Autumn. The book won Korea’s version of the IMPAC Prize and is a potent concoction of oblique fantasy, offbeat almost-romance, and hard-hitting social issues.
Hwang Jung-eun is the author of two acclaimed short story collections and three novels. She will be in conversation with Tilted Axis publisher and translator Deborah Smith, who along with Han Kang has just won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian. They will discuss Hwang Jung-eun’s writing, explore the rising interest in Korean fiction globally, and consider the art of translation from those on both sides of the process. Join us for what’s sure to be an unforgettable evening of talk about international fiction in translation. Chaired by Jerome de Groot.
Manchester Literature Festival: Garth Greenwell & Andrew McMillan
Join us to hear two acclaimed young writers whose work navigates the complicated territories of desire, masculinity, sexuality and the body. Garth Greenwell’s astonishing debut novel, What Belongs to You, follows an American professor in Sofia, entering an intense relationship with a hustler and facing up to his past. New York Times Book Review called it ‘a rich, important debut, an instant classic to be savoured by all lovers of serious fiction because of, not despite, its subject: a gay man’s endeavour to fathom his own heart.’
Poet Andrew McMillan’s debut collection, Physical, is a hymn to the male body – to male friendship and male love – muscular, sometimes shocking but always moving. The book won the Guardian First Book Award and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Award. Michael Symmons Roberts called it ‘a glorious, vivid exploration of the body as the loved and broken ground on which we meet and are transformed.’ The event will be hosted by Adam Lowe.
Manchester Literature Festival: Olivia Laing
Why is the state of solitude such a source of shame in our society? Laing’s latest book, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, is a profound meditation on creativity, art, solitude and urban alienation. She will talk about her own experience of living in New York and how it granted her deeper insights into the work of Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, outsider artist Henry Darger and queer icon David Wojnarowicz.
Olivia is the author of two acclaimed previous books of nonfiction, The Trip to Echo Spring and To The River – each similarly located at the intersection of memoir, travelogue, critical biography and philosophy. The New York Times said ‘this book serves as both provocation and comfort, a secular prayer for those who are alone — meaning all of us.’ Olivia will be in conversation with MLF’s Kate Feld.
Manchester Literature Festival: Jonas Hassen Khemiri
A young man dies in a car crash, and an unnamed writer tries to piece together his story. In fragments of conversation, correspondence and interviews, a picture slowly forms – but the truth about what happened to Samuel, or why it matters, isn’t so simple. Dazzling and inventive in form, Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Everything I Don’t Remember is a bittersweet tale of love and memory, and an intriguing narrative puzzle from one of Sweden’s most exciting and bestselling authors.
He is the author of the generation-defining debut novel One Eye Red, and the acclaimed Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger. The winner of the prestigious August Prize, Everything I Don’t Remember is Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s fourth book and the first to be translated into English. Hari Kunzru called it ‘heartbreakingly sad and laugh-out-loud funny.’ He will be in conversation with MLF Chair Jerome de Groot.
Manchester Literature Festival: Bad Language
Manchester’s two-time Saboteur Award-winning literature night hosts an evening of new poetry featuring poet, screenwriter and Manchester Poetry Festival founder Henry Normal. Henry returns to poetry after a glittering career in television comedy bringing us the likes of The Royle Family and The Mighty Boosh; his seventh collection, Staring Directly at the Eclipse, offers poems about death, human frailty and other classic conversation stoppers. The Scotsman called him ‘the Alan Bennett of poetry.’
He will be joined by three other poets: Melissa Lee-Houghton won a 2016 Northern Writers’ Award, was shortlisted for a 2016 Forward Prize and named a Next Generation Poet in 2014 by the Poetry Book Society; she has published two collections. Mark Pajak’s poetry won a 2016 Northern Writers’ Award and was shortlisted for a Bridport Prize; his pamphlet Spitting Distance will be published in late 2016. Genevieve Walsh is a fixture of the Yorkshire spoken word scene, and a member of the poetry performance group A Firm of Poets.