Monday, May 09, 2011

Spring literary happenings

Word people: There are so many great events for writers and readers floating around in Manchester at the moment it's really hard to keep up. Here are a few particularly good things on the horizon:

The shiny new International Anthony Burgess Centre has an appealingly eclectic series of events up and running, including Elemental Opera's performance of the complete Mahler Song Cycle over two nights, and poet August Kleinzahler, as well as literary salons, book launches and workshops. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Amid all the gloom and doom following the announcement of the Arts Council's Portfolio funding roster (RIP Greenroom, fingers crossed for Castlefield Gallery, Litfest and folly) there was a bright spot for Manchester literary folk: Comma Press, Literature Northwest and Madlab joined forces and won funding to create a new writers' centre at the Edge Street space. Look out for more events like their upcoming short story writing workshop.

Chorlton Arts Festival
has a couple of good literary events on tap: Womens' writing website For Books' Sake is coming to town for a one-off event Friday 20th May at Lloyds Hotel. Books & Blues, a free celebration of the famous and forgotten female blues voices throughout the ages, will feature spoken word, storytelling and live music plus a bookswap booth and prize giveaways. On Thurs 26 May, Flash Mob Literary Salon will feature readings from the writer-organisers of the super short writing competition (Sarah-Clare Conlon, Ian Carrington, Tom Mason, David Hartley and Benjamin Judge) as well as the reading of the winning entries, wordgames and silliness and a special guest appearance by Nik Perring, author of micro fiction collection Not So Perfect.

There's a fanzine convention happening at the lovely Victoria Baths on May 14, with stalls featuring self-published books and zines to browse, talks, a film showing and workshops. To have a stall on the day, either as an individual zine or group of friends, costs £10 (email Natalie.Rose.Bradbury AT

Station Stories is a site specific live literature promenade event using digital technology and live improvised electronic sound. Six writers (Jenn Ashworth, Tom Fletcher, David Gaffney, Tom Jenks, Nicholas Royle and Peter Wild) will read live their specially commissioned stories inspired by the station and the people who use it and work there. Audiences are linked to the writers' microphones by wireless headsets, so they can hear them while wandering around the station. It's a collaboration between Manchester Literature Festival, Bury Text Festival and the Hamilton Project, and takes place 19-21 May.

Monday, May 02, 2011

May in Manchester

Hello friends. Oh, it's lovely to be back in the cosy confines of blogger. I've been unable to get on here and tell you about cool stuff happening in Manchester because I've been busy with my new job, which is ... telling people about cool stuff happening in Manchester. Now I have even more of you emailing me with cool stuff to tell everybody about, but less time to get that much-sought-after information out of my inbox and on here. So if you've emailed me about something supercool you're doing lately but found me strangely unresponsive, this is probably why. I'm sorry. I'd like to say this situation will improve. But I cannot.

Anyhoo. The ever-so-cuddly Adam Buxton, half of the insane genius comedy duo Adam & Joe, is coming to Manchester May 18 to introduce a screening of the BFI's BUG: The Evolution of Music Video at the Zion Arts Centre in Hulme. If you've never heard Adam & Joe (!!!) stop whatever you're doing and go check out their amazing 6Music show here. This event is part of the Diesel School of Island Life programme, which also includes interesting things like wild food foraging May 14 at Fletcher Moss Park and a talk on sloganeering at Cornerhouse May 30, as well as the more typical major brand promotion fare of DJ nights at the Deaf. To sign up to get tickets, go here.

Last spotted in Victorian London,
The Burlington Fine Arts Club
will be resurrected as a members-only, BYOB pop up social space during the Manchester International Festival. It's an effort to give local artists a space to exhibit, network, discuss ideas and a place for everyone to engage with Manchester’s grassroots contemporary art scene. Each section will be curated by a selected artist, DIY collective or independent gallery... and if you're interested in doing one of these residences, today's the last day to apply, so get on it.

FutureEverything is almost upon us. There's always some good stuff on but I'm hearing especially good things about the art and music programmes this year. If wishes were horses, I'd be driving my landau over to see On Ways to Disappear Without Leaving a Trace (pictured above) 65daysofstatic soundtrack Silent Running, Warpaint and Beach House. I have even remembered not to call it Futuresonic approximately 50 percent of the time I've referred to it in conversation - a marked improvement over last year for me. If you're a a blogger covering the festival this year, they're asking for people to send content to their portal here.

Another one for the Manchester-based arts and culture bloggers: Opera North are inviting a few bloggers to attend an upcoming production of Carmen at The Lowry and write it up, following a successful similar event in Leeds. It will be an ‘access some areas’ event with a backstage tour, the chance to have a meet and greet with cast members and pre-show. It happens Friday May 20 at 5:30, and if you're interested email julia.lumley AT