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.
Emma Jane Unsworth
Josef A Darlington
I blog every day
Oddments and snippets
Manchester Cycle Chic
Having a party without me
Naturally Cycling Manchester