Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reading, writing and listening

Ah, October. Plenty to blog about on here at the moment, but not much time to do it. That's because my blogging energies are currently divided between the Manchester Blog Awards blog and the reinvigorated Manchester Literature Festival blog (not forgetting Creative Tourist), with whatever's left trying feebly to keep up with the three Twitter accounts I seem to have acquired. Ain't social media grand?

Anyway, while I'm here, I'll stick in a reminder to come to the blog awards, which is on Wednesday Oct 21 at Band on the Wall. It's hard to pick other literature festival events to recommend as so many are enticing this year, but I'm looking forward to Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing launch tomorrow. Yep, that's the sequel to Douglas Adams revered Hitchiker's Guide series - I haven't read or heard any of it yet. But whatever the book's like, you've got to respect the man for voluntarily exposing himself to so much fanboy "how dare you step to The Master" bitching.

Then I'm going to catch the much-missed No Point in Not Being Friends Monday night at Matt and Phred's, and Tuesday is our Rainy City Stories Live tour. I wish I could go to the entire Short Weekend, but I have a scheduling conflict involving the other literature festival launching this week, the excellent Lancaster Litfest. If anyone's up that way next weekend I'm going to be reading my own writings at the launch of Flax's Mostly Truthful anthology of creative nonfiction, along with some Manchester blogfriends. I'm really excited because this is my first creative writing to be published since sixth grade. Yay! Anyway, it kicks off at 2pm in the Storey Auditorium on Saturday Oct 24 - info here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Vote for Jenn

Friends of the Manchizzle, please take a moment to vote for Jenn Ashworth in the Guardian's Not the Booker Awards. Her first novel A Kind of Intimacy has been shortlisted for this exciting new award.

Jenn is a fine lady. Few people know this, but during the Second World War she was part of an elite female spy unit that singlehandedly saved the French resistance. I know she might be uncomfortable bragging about things like this herself, so I'll tell you confidentially she's an accomplished accordion player and can beat the pants off anyone at five card stud. And the crazy part is, Jenn is resistant to many new strains of bacteria and may be able to cure swine flu by just breathing on you.

Okay, so I may have embroidered a bit there in the spirit of Jenn's fabulous blog Every Day I Lie a Little. One thing Jenn is for sure, though - a damn fine writer. So go vote for her in the Not the Bookers. It only takes a minute or two. But voting closes at noon tomorrow. Don't delay!

And remember, you can hear Jenn reading her work and talking about it too at the Manchester Blog Awards October 21.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Manchester Blog Awards shortlist announced

The shortlist for the 2009 Manchester Blog Awards is now available for your perusal on the MBA website.

I had a lot of fun picking this year's shortlist. As much as I try valiantly to keep up with blogs in the city, I was totally unprepared for the sheer number of new blogs out there - in many cases, of a very high quality indeed. It seems to me that people have really figured out what blogging is for and how to make it work. There were so many good blogs this year that I had to expand the shortlist to five in each category.

I'm especially happy about how many great newcomers there are in the city and neighbourhood category. We added this in 2008 after seeing an uptick in blogging about Manchester, but this really exploded this year. I love how all of these folks are offering up their own highly personal takes on different aspects of life in the city.

Perhaps this has something to do with the rise of hyperlocal content and citizen journalism. Maybe it's because we're losing local media outlets right and left, and bloggers are stepping in to fill the vaccum. Or maybe we're just lucky enough to have a healthy online community who enjoy Mancunian life so much they want to share it with people. I think it's probably a little bit of each. Long may it continue.

Another big trend this year: Mommyblogs ... erm, and Daddyblogs (congratulations Mr. Jones) Perhaps I should just call them "parenting blogs" and have done with it, but this sounds far too serious and worthy to me. I'll have to come up with something, though, because there are getting to be so many of these things that I'm going to have to add a new category on the blogroll soon. Some lovely writing on there. And a just-emerging trend: foodie blogs. Yes, we're finally getting more of these. Look for some additions to the blogroll soon.

Anyway, enough blathering from me, go and read the shortlist. And if anyone is wondering what happens next, or who will be choosing the winners, you can learn all about it over at the blog awards site. Winners will be announced at the all-singing, all-dancing blog awards evening at Band on the Wall October 21.