Click on dates in the calendar to find out about events and activities at the Engine House; details of each event are listed underneath.
In conversation: Jeffrey WainwrightThursday, October 2nd, 2014, 7:00 pm | Free, advance booking required
The Manchester Writing School at MMU and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation are delighted to present the 2014/2015 In Conversation series which looks “under the bonnet” to examine the mechanics of outstanding contemporary literature. Special guest authors appear in conversation with writers from the Manchester Writing School to discuss the techniques they use and choices they make when writing, and to explore and debate the issues arising from their work or books that they’re interested in. Each evening opens with a short reading from original fiction by students and graduates of the School. Visit the Manchester Writing School website for more information and contact [email protected] to reserve your place. Presented in partnership with MacDonald Hotels and Resorts.
Danish Crime: Readings and discussion with Lene Kaaberbol, Elsebeth Egholm & Ida JessenMonday, October 6th, 2014, 6:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
From Copenhagen to Manchester, Scandinavian crime has taken the world by storm and two of Denmark’s hottest crime writers are in the spotlight at an event that includes readings and lively discussion of the genre. Lene Kaaberbol is the author of the popular Nina Borg thrillers and The Shamer Chronicles, a young-adult series in which a girl with magical powers investigates crimes. Elsebeth Egholm writes the bestselling Dicte Svendsen mysteries as well as several acclaimed novels including Three Dog Night. The event will be chaired by critic and fellow crime writer Peter Guttridge.
As The Killing, The Bridge and the gritty, windswept crime thrillers of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbø continue to transfix the British public, readers with a taste for Scandi crime won’t want to miss Arne Dahl. The author of the Intercrime series featuring Detective Paul Hjelm that was recently adapted for BBC Four, Dahl comes to Manchester to discuss crime writing and promote the third book in the series. In To The Top of the Mountain, Hjelm and his team are faced with the threat of a terrorist attack in Sweden. Join us for an evening of dark thrills chaired by Peter Guttridge. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
In conversation: Graphic Novels with Stephen Collins & Nick HayesTuesday, October 7th, 2014, 7:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
A must for fans of the illustrated word, this event features two of Britain’s most extraordinary graphic novelists discussing their craft. Stephen Collins won the Jonathan Cape/Observer Graphic Short Story Prize 2010 and his first book, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, became the best-selling graphic novel in 2013. His forthcoming book, Some Comics, ranges from the true identity of Kim Jong-un’s life coach to how everything is ruined by the internet. Nick Hayes is the author of Lovely Grey Day, 11 Folk Songs and The Rime of the Modern Mariner. An update of Coleridge’s famous poem, the latter was described as ‘an extraordinary achievement… simultaneously poetical, polemical and frequently beautiful’ by Martin Rowson. Gorgeously illustrated, his upcoming book Woody Guthrie And the Dust Bowl Ballads is a visual biography of America’s greatest and most enduring protest singer-songwriter. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
What was it like to fall in love with Ernest Hemingway? Drawing on extensive research and travels to Antibes, Key West, Cuba and Paris, Naomi Wood’s Mrs Hemingway gives us a fictional portrait of Papa through the perspectives of his four wives: Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn and Mary Welsh Hemingway. An intoxicating novel that brings to life the story of the most famous writer of his generation, Mrs Hemingway chronicles how the four vivid, accomplished women who married him found unique ways to navigate a union marked by passion and deceit. Naomi Wood is also the author of The Godless Boys, which is currently being adapted for film. She lives in London and teaches creative writing at Goldsmiths. The Times described Mrs Hemingway as ‘a wonderful book: carefully written, richly imagined and emotionally wise.’ Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Talk and Q&A: Sean O'Brien and Frank Cottrell BoyceWednesday, October 8th, 2014, 8:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
Following last year's sell-out Art of the Short Story event, Comma Press brings you the second of its Morphologies masterclasses; a series of talks by contemporary short story writers on past masters of the form. Tonight, two of Britain's best loved writers – multi-award-winning poet and author of The Silence Room, Sean O'Brien, and acclaimed screenwriter and author of the Olympics opening ceremony, Frank Cottrell Boyce – offer personal and professional reflections on two of the most important short story writers of all time, Edgar Allan Poe and Anton Chekhov. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Canongate Lates with Emma Jane Unsworth, Anneliese Mackintosh, Zoe Pilger and Karima FrancisFriday, October 10th, 2014, 8:00 pm | Tickets £7/£5
Three hot early-career writers share tales of young women forging their own bold and unconventional paths in life. Emma Jane Unsworth’s second novel, Animals, follows the filthy, riotous adventures of two best friends in Manchester and has been described by Caitlin Moran as ‘Withnail with girls.’ Anneliese Mackintosh’s first collection of semi-autobiographical short stories, Any Other Mouth, is a frank and funny account of sexual misadventure, bereavement and self-discovery in the vein of Miranda July. Zoe Pilger’s ruthlessly sharp debut novel, Eat My Heart Out, has been described as ‘like a foul-mouthed Nancy Mitford for the Gawker generation.’ The event will also feature live music from singer-songwriter Karima Francis, and will be hosted by Katie Popperwell. Don’t miss this evening of raw, wild and self-revelatory new writing and music. Visit in the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival site for booking details.
Walking tour: Anthony Burgess and Literary Manchester with Jonathan SchofieldSaturday, October 11th, 2014, 3:00 pm | £8, begins at St Ann's Square
This is a tour laced with literary tales of an entertaining and informative nature covering three centuries of the written word in Manchester. With a special focus on Anthony Burgess, the tour also includes quotes and stories involving Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Friedrich Engels, Dodie Smith, Maisie Mosco, JB Priestley, Howard Spring, David Constantine and John Cooper Clarke. The tour finishes at the International Burgess Foundation on Cambridge Street with a tour of the building and a view of the archives. Tours start at the war memorial in St Ann's Square and last approx. 2hrs. Visit www.jonathanschofieldtours.com
Audio exploration of the written word: In the DarkSaturday, October 11th, 2014, 6:00 pm | Tickets are free, advance booking advised
In The Dark is a collaborative project between a new generation of radio producers and radio enthusiasts. Their aim is to create a mini-revolution in the way people think about spoken-word radio by lifting it out of its traditional settings and celebrating it in new and exciting ways. Over the last five years, they have commissioned new works from producers around the world and staged live listening events at festivals, theatres, cinemas and museums. For this special Manchester Literature Festival event, they will be presenting an audio exploration on The Written Word. From the dangerous days of Edgar Allan Poe to unseen chapters, from unusual methods of book disposal to the secrets they might hold, they’ll be bringing listening special stories and sounds – out loud and in the dark. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Bad Language with Matt Haig and the Writing SquadSaturday, October 11th, 2014, 8:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
Manchester’s hottest live lit night, Bad Language, joins forces with The Writing Squad for a bumper MLF edition headlined by novelist Matt Haig. The bestselling author of The Radleys and The Last Family in England, Haig will read from new book The Humans, in which Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world’s greatest mathematical riddle – and then disappears, only to turn up walking naked along the motorway, consumed with loathing for the human race. The Times called it ‘wonderfully funny, gripping and inventive.’ The Writing Squad runs writing development programmes across the North, nurturing gifted young writers through workshops, mentoring, performances and creative partnerships. With the pick of the Bad Language collective’s roster of electrifying performers alongside emerging talent, expect an evening of fresh, original writing. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
A decade on from her internationally acclaimed memoir Daughter of the River, bestselling Chinese author Hong Ying returns to work the fertile ground of her own past with The Good Children. By turns heart-wrenching and brave, the book explores her troubled relationship with her estranged mother. From her mother’s funeral, the author goes back and forth between past and present, through memories and anecdotes to unravel the forty years following her departure from Chongqing to Beijing and then England. Hong Ying was born into a sailor's family and is best known in the English-speaking world for her novels: K: The Art of Love (which won the Primo de Rome in 2005), The Concubine of Shanghai, Peacock Cries and Summer of Betrayal. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
In conversation: Cynan Jones & Evie Wyld with Matt HaigMonday, October 13th, 2014, 6:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
Join us to hear two of the winners of the 2014 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. One of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, Evie Wyld published her debut, After The Fire, A Still Small Voice, to widespread critical acclaim. Her latest novel, All The Birds, Singing, is a dark, suspenseful tale that explores landscapes, nature, outsiders and tentative redemption with brooding beauty. Cynan Jones’s novels include The Long Dry, Everything I Found on the Beach and Bird, Blood, Snow. Set on a rural farm, his latest novel The Dig is a haunting and masterful tale of isolation, violence, masculinity and loss infused with gritty realism. Jon McGregor called it ‘moving, evocative and utterly compelling’ whilst Sarah Waters praised ‘his passion for the landscape – its colours, its creatures, its textures, its scent – is absolutely magnetic.’ The event will be chaired by author and JFU judge Matt Haig. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Preview: Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New ThingsMonday, October 13th, 2014, 8:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
We are thrilled that bestselling writer Michel Faber will be giving a special preview of his first new novel in 14 years. Gorgeously written, The Book of Strange New Things is an original and quietly powerful tale of love, faith, adventure, change and dystopia. Focused around a Christian missionary, it’s a momentous tale of humanity and the search for meaning in an unfathomable universe. New York Times called Faber’s writing ‘wildly entertaining’ and the Guardian stated ‘This is a man who could give Conrad a run at writing the perfect sentence.’ An award-winning writer, he has written eight books including novellas and short story collections. His novel, The Crimson Petal and the White, was adapted into a BBC4 drama and his electrifying debut, Under the Skin, was recently made into a film directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Walking tour: Anthony Burgess's Manchester with New Manchester WalksTuesday, October 14th, 2014, 11:00 am | Tickets £7/£6
He was polymath, a polyglot and a pain in the neck. Immensely talented and insufferably egotistical, he chain smoked for England and wrote more words than Dickens, Wells and Trollope combined. Manchester was his city, which he loved so much he moved to Monaco. As the great man may himself have said: “the future’s clockwork; the future’s orange.” The event begins at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation venue and cafe at 11am with a tour of the archive. At around 11.45am, Ed Glinert will then lead the walking tour around the great man's Manchester haunts. Visit the New Manchester Walks website for booking information.
In 60 books and 27 novels, John Updike earned a reputation as one of modern America’s greatest men of letters. In this authoritative new biography, the first following the writer’s death in 2009, Adam Begley shows us the inner life of a man who saw himself as a literary spy in small-town New England, seeking to capture ‘middleness with all its grits, bumps and anonymities.’ Begley explores how the events in Updike’s life shaped him and reveals a deeply complex nature full of contradictions – a gentle soul with a vicious wit; a gregarious charmer who was ruthlessly competitive. Formerly Books Editor for the New York Observer and a Guggenheim Fellow, Begley’s writing regularly appears in major newspapers and journals on both sides of the Atlantic. Critic Janet Malcolm said of the book ‘this is literary biography at its highest level of truth.’ Begley will be in conversation with Ian McGuire.
A.L. Kennedy has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and won the Costa Book of the Year for her novel Day. Over five previous collections, she’s also shown herself to be a master of the short story. Her latest collection, All The Rage, presents a dozen stories and a dozen different ways of looking at love, or lack of love. Here in the everyday world we all inhabit she reveals the battlefield of the heart, where some characters will prevail and others will be lost. With compassion and dark humour, All The Rage takes us from a shocking admission on a railway platform to an uncomfortable lunch between two apparent strangers that culminates in a passionate kiss. 'You do not know this man. He is practically a stranger. Only he's not.' Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival for booking details.
2014 Burgess Lecture with Blake Morrison: Confessions of the Hack TradeThursday, October 16th, 2014, 6:30 pm | Tickets £6/£4
For the 2014 Burgess Lecture, we are delighted to welcome acclaimed writer Blake Morrison to Manchester to talk about Anthony Burgess’s journalism. Anthony Burgess wrote many hundreds of articles, reviews and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines in a journalistic career spanning more than fifty years. His writing was characteristically provocative and informative, entertaining and extravagant, always readable, never dull, and extraordinary in its range, erudition and energy. Blake Morrison has written for many newspapers himself, and was literary editor of The Observer and the Independent on Sunday before becoming a full-time author in 1995. His many books include South Of The River, The Last Weekend and the memoirs And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me. Join Blake Morrison for a discussion of Burgess’s work, and the ways in which newspaper culture has changed. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Two writers come together for an evening of hard-hitting poetry imbued with the rhythms of everyday Britain. A poet whose work shares much with the American Beats, Tom Pickard was described by Allen Ginsberg as ‘one of the most live and true poetic voices in Great Britain.’ He founded the Morden Tower readings series in Newcastle in 1963 and his Ballad of Jamie Allan (2007) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Carcanet has just published his Collected Poems, hoyoot. Funny, irreverent and sometimes shocking, the poetry of Alan Gillis employs the speech of post-millennial age with great precision. A Belfast native whose work was shortlisted for the TS Eliot and the Irish Times/Poetry Now Prizes, his fourth book Scapegoat will be published by The Gallery Press in October. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
In conversation: Barry Miles on William S. BurroughsFriday, October 17th, 2014, 8:00 pm | Tickets £6/£4
It’s been 50 years since Norman Mailer described William S. Burroughs as ‘the only American novelist living who may conceivably be possessed by genius.’ Radical, relentlessly political and fiercely experimental, with the publication of The Naked Lunch in 1959 and its censorship for obscenity, Burroughs became one of the godfathers of 60s counterculture. And his wild life was every bit as shocking as his work. In the seminal Beat writer’s centenary year, Burroughs’ friend and collaborator Barry Miles has published an authoritative new biography that shows us the mercurial man behind the cult figure and reveals his struggles with relationships, addiction and the conventions of a society in which he was a natural outsider. The Times said of the book: ‘The life of this disturbing and disturbed man has never been so perfectly told.’ Miles will be in conversation with Doug Field.
A modern renaissance man, Ben Watt is a musician, songwriter, DJ, author and one half of bestselling pop duo Everything But The Girl. His first memoir, Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness, was a New York Times Book of the Year and described by William Boyd as ‘a fine testimonial to his fortitude and his power as a writer.’ His second memoir, Romany and Tom, is a funny, engaging and bittersweet tale of love and loss, ambition and stardom, life in clubs and life in care homes. Beautifully written, it chronicles the colourful lives of his parents – jazz musician Tommy Watt and RADA-trained actress and showbiz writer Romany Bain – their love affair, marriage and decline into old age. We’re delighted that Ben will be joining us for a rare 'in conversation' with Observer writer and fellow author Rachel Cooke. Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Born in Manchester, Howard Jacobson is one of Britain’s most acclaimed and prolific novelists. He won the 2010 Man Booker prize for his novel, The Finkler Question as well as the Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic writing for The Mighty Waltzer. A gifted satirist, he’s written about everything from family, friendships and relationships to the death of publishing. His latest novel J is a dystopian thriller in the tradition of Nineteen Eighty Four and Brave New World. Set in a future where the past is a dangerous country, J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. Two people fall in love, not knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Are they acting of their own accord or have they been pushed into each other’s arms? And what is the momentous catastrophe – the event now referred to as What Happened, If It Happened – that dominates life in this world? Visit the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival website for booking details.
Take a look inside the unique and personal collection of books, original manuscripts, compositions, photographs, furniture, paintings, drawings and correspondence with contemporary writers and artists including Stanley Kubrick, Graham Greene and Angela Carter, all amassed by Burgess during his rich and varied lifetime. Join us as we take you on a journey which begins with stories of Burgess's early life in Manchester, to Gibraltar during the Second World War and the final days of colonialism in Malaysia, onto an illustrious international career. We'll show you some of the highlights of Burgess's private collections and reveal little-known aspects of the writer's life along the way. Tours are free and last for approx. 1 hour; only a small number of places are available. Contact [email protected] to reserve your place.
Following the phenomenal success of the Gothic Manchester Festival 2013, MMU's Centre for Gothic Studies presents a programme of events designed to showcase Manchester's rich vein of gothic talent. Visit the Gothic Curiosity Shop and take in an exhibition featuring work from artists Paul Koudounaris and Jonathan Hargreaves , along with curios and curiosities from bespoke jewellery artist Shabby Cheek. Open from 1pm - 5pm.
Gothic Manchester Talk & Film Screening: Gothic Romance and the PhantasmagoricalThursday, October 23rd, 2014, 7:00 pm | Tickets £5, refreshments provided
Dale Townsend (University of Stirling) talks about Gothic Architecture, Gothic History, Gothic Romance and Kenilworth Castle, 1800 - 1830, followed by a talk and film screening of Prepare to Enter the Phantasmagorical from David Annwn Jones, and finished with a Victorian lantern show. Visit the Gothic Manchester Festival website for full details and to book tickets.
Gothic Manchester: Memento MoriatasFriday, October 24th, 2014, 7:00 pm | Tickets £5, refreshments provided
The Memento Moriatas are a group of London-based writers and musicians who tell tales of death and destiny in unique architectural venues, such as the Kensal Green Cemetery or the Coffin Works in Birmingham. For the Gothic Manchester Festival, Kate Mayfield, Kirsten Morrison and Lloyd Shepherd warmly invite the public to join them to hear deliciously dark tales of memoir, art and literature - with some stories and songs very much inspired by decidedly gothic works of art on show in the Manchester galleries. Lloyd Shepherd has written three novels, his most recent is very dark and includes magic, prostitution, madness and secret societies in Georgian London. He'll work on including the Gothic landscape theme into his portion of the evening. http://www.lloydshepherd.com/
Gothic Manchester Festival Conference: Gothic Spaces/Gothic PlacesSaturday, October 25th, 2014, 10:00 am | Tickets £10, including post-event wine reception
This day conference brings together some of the UK's foremost gothic scholars to explore the spatial dimensions of the mode in an exciting and accessible way. There will be papers on the Lancaster witches, on dark green gothic and haunted forests, on gothic architecture, the psychology of place, gothic psychogeography and much more. You don't have to be a gothicist or an academic. Just bring your interest in and knowledge of the dark. From 10am - 5pm. Visit the Gothic Manchester website for full details.
Booklaunch: Graphic Art of the Underground - from Psychedelia to PunkMonday, October 27th, 2014, 6:00 pm | Tickets £4
Celebrating and discussing the history of graphic art from the underground 1965 to 1980, a decade and a half of controversies, and hidden histories, in a wide-ranging debate led by Dave Haslam and featuring Ian Lowey and Suzy Prince, the co-authors of a new book, The Graphic Art of the Underground: A Countercultural History and former co-publishers of the alternative arts and culture magazine, Nude. Copies of the book will be available to buy on the night. Tickets on sale with Quaytickets from Tuesday 7th October. Visit Facebook for more information.
Manchester Science Festival: What's your favourite number? With Alex BellosTuesday, October 28th, 2014, 6:30 pm | £5 + online booking fee
Alex Bellos, bestselling author of Alex Through the Looking-Glass and Alex's Adventures in Numberland, dives into fractals, cones and curves to navigate a sea of numbers. Expect stories of eye-opening encounters with lively personalities all over the world as we learn how numbers have become our friends – and how they’ve changed the world. Calculus, rollercoasters, negative numbers and a shed in Illinois: it’s all here. He has even sifted through 30,000 survey submissions to reveal the world's favourite number. By this talk’s end, Alex will have you hooked on maths. Ten out of ten. Click on the link below to purchase tickets, or call into the Burgess Foundation Mon to Fri, 10am to 2pm (tickets available from 8am on Wednesday 3rd September).