Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New blogs: Part 2

I've long been a fan of Len Grant, the Manchester-based photographer and writer whose work focuses on telling the stories of the people the media typically ignores: asylum seekers, addicts, people fighting like hell to win their way back to a better life - sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. So I was delighted to learn that Len's current project is a blog: Her First Year documents in words and pictures the story of baby Mia and her mother Frances, who are living in supported accomodation for vulnerable young mothers. It's a beautiful project in every way, please go check it out.
On a day when we're all fairly disgusted with the lack of attention paid to women's sport in the UK, it's good to see new additions like Girl On A Terrace , a lower league football blog from the perspective of a female Rochdale AFC fan. Any more sport blogs out there written by women? Give us a shout.
Anyway, here's the second part of the enormous list of new (to me, at least) Manchester blogs I had to add to my blogroll. If I've left anyone out, send me an email.

arts & culture, design/fashion blogs:
Old Fashioned Susie
northwest is best
Beauty's Bad Habit
Curious Damsel
Pepper and Buttons

literature/writing blogs
Katie Anderson Writer
Beau Brummell Press
I hug my books
Julian Lee Robinson
Craig Pay
You, me, and the story
The Poplar Tree | it's not chick lit or pulp fiction
Chetham's Library
Music blogs
Carnival Saloon
Film/Television blogs
Cathode Ray Tube
Foodie blogs
Little Red Courgette
Tea and Sympatico
City/neighbourhood blogs
Manchester Meanders

Digital/tech blogs

Personal blogs
.....haven't had a dream in a long time
On the Edge; A Freelancer in the Recession
what red said
The Fag Casanova
My Wonderful Life
Image copyright Len Grant

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Art of Blogging at Cornerhouse Thursday

Just a quick post to say I'm running a session called The Art of Blogging at Cornerhouse Thursday evening. It's not a "how to start a blog" session (one of those is planned for early 2012), rather this one is meant for people who already have a blog and are looking for some pointers and inspiration.

We'll be looking at a number of successful blogs and discussing strategies for developing a distinctive voice and identity for your blog, finding things to blog about, building a readership, and using links, photos and comments well, among other topics. It's going to be an informal, discussion-based session, so come with questions and problems and we'll do our best to address them all. It's taking place from 6-8pm at The Annexe at Cornerhouse this Thursday 10 November, £4/£3 concs. You can book tickets here.

UPDATE: As of Weds afternoon this has now sold out. If anyone missed out and would like to attend another workshop like this, or even a workshop about some different aspect of blogging, please let me know in the comments - it helps us plan future sessions.

Gorgeous image of Cornerhouse cinema from zawtowers (via Flickr)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Manchester Blog Awards 2011 recap (and new blogs)

So I think the 2011 Manchester Blog Awards were the best yet. A hefty dash of creative nonfiction was provided by the winners of The Real Story competition from my digital lit sideline Openstories. The five readers were wonderful and benefitted from an exceedingly friendly audience who really listened. And then came loads of excellent shortlisted bloggers reading a tasty smorgasboard of different writing - from short stories to microfiction to razor-sharp satirical emails. And then came the ever-popular Socrates Adams reading from his new novel Everything's Fine, which I just read and can say it is (as expected) deeply funny and exceedingly well-written. And then the crowning of the new winners, a very deserving bunch. Apologies to the one or two people who were disappointed by the absence of acceptance speeches, or our shocking lack of sufficient hoopla and fol-de-rol. Next year, maybe we should have the awards presented by celebrity dogs on unicycles. Whaddaya say?

On the night I got to thinking about the many amazing writerly partnerships and endeavours that started up from people meeting at the blog awards (I'm thinking especially of the Flashtag Manchester brigade and their various individual projects, side projects, events and one-off collaborations.) It might seem to someone unfamiliar with the Manchester writing scene that everyone at the blog awards knows each other. And yes, many of the writers shortlisted for blogs every year do know each other. Some met at the same event years ago and went on to do things together. More will have met there this year. Others know bloggers from writers' groups, university writing courses, or by being involved with one of the other bountiful opportunities available to writers in Manchester (the events and publications of the Bad Language collective, Tales of Whatever, The Night Light, Blank Media Collective, etc. )

The point is, writing brought these people together. If you're standing on the sidelines feeling left out, don't be a wallflower. There will always be the odd stuck-up ignoramus, but for the most part this is one of the friendliest and most inclusive writing scenes I've ever encountered. Come along to one of the aforementioned events and introduce yourself to the guy sat next to you, or to a writer whose work you liked, or to the girl behind you in the bar queue. Who knows what could come of it? What I'm saying is: it's definitely a clique. It's a clique that's big enough to encompass Greater Manchester and we're all personally invited to join it, kapeesh?

Anyway, we always hear about loads of new blogs via MBA nominations. They're additions to the ALREADY INCREDIBLY LONG list of new blogs I have been meaning to add here for ages. Hence the massive bumper edition of new blogs.... so many I'll have to publish this in two or three parts over the next few weeks. I'm not going to be able to do my usual helpful introduction to each one this time, but will simply give you the links. They'll all then be added to the categories in the Great Manchester Blogroll at the side. Happy readings.

Writers' Blogs
What Vanishes
Emma Jane Unsworth
Nici West
Josef A Darlington
I blog every day
Bad Penny

Personal Blogs
Richard Frosty
Jilted Generation
Oddments and snippets
Random Thoughts

Arts&Culture/Design/Fashion Blogs
Cava Coma
Manchester Cycle Chic
Manchester LAB
Caitlin's Country
Clothes Pony

Music Blogs
Having a party without me
Unchained Melodist

City/Neighbourhood Blogs
Mancunian Wave

Tech Blogs
Tony Tickle

Journalism/Media Blogs

Sport Blogs:
Naturally Cycling Manchester