Thursday, November 05, 2009

November in Manchester: Literary News

Well howdy. It's been a while, no? Now that the Literature Festival dust has settled, I'm here with a lot of long-overdue literary news things.

November in Manchester, an ambitious "social media love story" undertaken by Tom Mason, an SEO copywriter whose first love is creative writing, is now live. I spoke with Tom about it at Social Media Cafe and he told me how it works: he's written a story which is going to be published via characters' first-person tweets and blog posts (here are blogs for main characters James and Persephone.)

Readers can take part by sending in pics and films representing the characters and/or scenes they experience during November in Manchester (photo above is from their Flickr Group.) It's not really a collectively written story, more a collectively illustrated one that employs social media in its delivery. Interesting idea.

A wave to those intrepid Manchester writers furiously sprinting through National Novel Writing Month. Good luck, guys! In case anyone is just finding out about this excellent endeavour and doesn't want to wait another year to take part the folks who run it also do short story and script-centred projects throughout the year, so sign up to their list to find out about those.

Some news on the publications front:

Author, dreamblogger and literary Mancunian of note Nicholas Royle has started up independent publisher Nightjar Press, which got things rolling last month with chapbooks from Manchester writer Tom Fletcher (who writes a blog at Fell House) and Michael Marshall Smith.

Knives, Forks and Spoons press is now publishing poetry and organising readings, their next one features Simon Rennie, Alec Newman and John G. Hall and is at Central Library on Nov 26 at 6:30. The press was begun by Richard Barrett earlier this year and is being continued by Alec Newman. They live on Facebook here.

Lit zines The Shrieking Violet and Belle Vue (write up of it at The Mithering Times) both have fresh editions out, as does new-to-me zine Geeek and web journal The Manchester Review (now on twitter at @mancreview).

A new writing group is setting up shop at Nexus Art Cafe. Called Bad Language, it's being organised by Dan Carpenter. The first meeting was Nov 3 but as I didn't get around to posting about it til now, get in touch via Bad Language's twitter account or contact me and I'll pass on Dan's email.

And if anyone missed it, Manchester's butt-kicking literary scene gets a glowing write-up in the Guardian Books Blog by Jerome de Groot. Interesting debate in the comments on whether Manchester is tiresome about blowing its own horn. Maybe I see the original writer's point. Honestly, we've got a lot to brag about. I would say that, though. Mancs are known for being gobby, and Americans, well - we're not generally considered backward in coming forward.

What do you think? Should Manchester stop grandstanding? Answers on a postcard TO THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD, EVER please.

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