Monday, 29 June 2009

Book Fair

I've got some very exciting news today. The Manchester Book Market is returning!

It was very popular three years ago and now it's back as part of the Manchester International Festival.

The fair is running 17th-19th July in St Anns Sqare and as part of it there will be plenty of stalls as well as several readings.

I'm very pleased to say that Bewilderbliss, the magazine I edit, has got a slot for readings on the 17th at 3.30pm. We will (fingers crossed) be launching the new issue there, which contains poetry and prose from several new Manchester writers as well as Mark Piggott, who has a new book out, and Jackie Kay, who also set the theme for the issue.

Read up on what the fair's about and who will be there on the Literature North West website.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Firstly a reminder: it's Word Soup night. Sure, Preston is absolutely miles away to a Mancunian. But I've checked, and there are about five trains an hour there from town, and a long train journey is a nothing more than good book-reading time.

Secondly, the Manchester MA students reading has just been organised. It's the 3rd of next month, and it's another one of the lovely free Central Library lunchtime readings. The list of readers is really good. There's a great mix there, a couple are funny, a couple are experimental, a couple are heartbreaking, and one of them's me! There's definitely something for everyone there.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Knives, Forks and Spoons

Check out Knives, Forks and Spoons, it's a new Manchester-based poetry press. They focus exclusively on linguistically innovative/experimental work.

It's great to see a small press that's confident enough about the fantastic Manchester lit scene to get out work they feel passionately about. I think it's especially appropriate to have this sort of work being published here because our very own John Rylands Library houses the dom sylvester houédard archive, which has the most beautiful examples of concrete poetry.

Knives, Forks and Spoons are currently accepting manuscript submissions, and you can see their site for a list of the things they like and what they don't like. They say they intend to publish pamphlets, chaps and perfect bound books. They already have one publication out (Richard Barrett: backyard poems) and have another one from Tom Jenks in the works.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Fred D'Aguiar

Fred D'Aguiar is a poet, novelist and playwright. He is reading tomorrow at yet another wonderful lunchtime reading at Central Library.

D'Aguiar draws on his Guyanese/British heritage and deals often with ideas of where or what home is. If you need convincing to go along to the reading, check out this site for a recording of him reading his poetry.

I can't make it tomorrow since a friend is having an art show in Stockport then. However, please go along and make sure the room is packed out as it deserves to be.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Central Library Readings

I went to a reading yesterday at central library. It was a poetry reading from Carmine Starnino and Patrick McGuiness and it was absolutely great. I'm working in town this week, archiving the papers of Elaine Feinstein at John Rylands, Deansgate. I just popped out on my lunchbreak and enjoyed some truly wonderful poetry.
There were spare seats in the room, which I thought was a shame, since it was such a great free event. I know that it's a little more effort to go to these readings when you don't work in town. I myself am guilty of not wanting to travel into the busy city centre for just an hour long reading, but I'm going to try harder to do so from now on and I'm going to encourage everyone I know to do it as well.
Manchester Libraries puts out a booklet of all their upcoming events which you can get in hard copy from a library or download from here. There are some great events coming up, don't miss out.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Word Soup #3 - The Poetry Edition

Coming up on 23rd June is the next Word Soup.

Recently my inbox received some good information about what's going on that night, and I'm kindly passing it on to you:

Word Soup #3: The Poetry Edition
@ The New Continental Events Space, South Meadow Lane, Preston 01772 499207
£3 on the door 7.30pm - 10pm

Up until now our focus has been on prose but for Word Soup #3 we're focusing exclusively on poetry.

We've three great performance poets booked to perform (see below) and - in a change to our usual format, have open mike spots available to book on the night. Each open mike slot will be for three minutes, and unlike our first two nights, there is no theme - the night is completely open to new and emerging talent.

Sarah Miller is a playwright and performing poet. She recently performed for Apples & Snakes at PUSH in Contact, Manchester and at the Spoken Word Open Mic in the Brewery, Kendal. Sarah is influenced by youth culture, overhearing conversations and Barrow-in-Furness where she lives. Her plays Asboy, Ice Baby and Surfacing were recently toured by the Ashton Group Young Apprentice Actors.

Gary Bridgens is new to the spoken word scene but has been performing as a clown and street performer for 20 yrs. He took part in Superheroes of Slam which was his first slam last year and got through to the semi final. Since then he has impressed audiences with his witty banter and fast patter uke numbers. He has been support act to internationally renowned Polar Bear and he's been a guest performer and compere for Apples & Snakes in Cumbria.

Ann the Poet has been performing poetry in pubs, theatres and at festivals for fifteen years. She was the Poet Laureate for South Cumbria in 2006. She's a regular compère at the Brewery spoken word nights and at Solfest. She published her collection Synesthestic last year. She features on the poetry/sonic art net albums The Resting Bench by Ann Wilson and Clutter and The Resting Bench Remix Projects 1, 2 and 3 which can be downloaded free at For more info on Ann the poet or to sign up to her mailing list visit

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Book of 1000 authors

The Cutting Room votes have been cast and the literature event has been chosen. It's the book of 1000 authors.

Come along between 1pm and 3.30pm and write your contribution to the book. The text will be projected in real time on a wall so everyone can read it as it grows.

The rest of the Cutting Room events look good as well. I have to admit that a game of musical statues at 5pm appeals to me. The day runs from noon till 11pm and there's bound to be something in there to appeal to everyone, even if it's just watching from the sidelines as other people jump around looking silly.

Cutting Room Experiment

WHEN: Saturday, June 20, 12noon-11pm
WHERE: Cutting Room Square, between Blossom Street and Hood Street, off Great Ancoats Street, Manchester

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Orange Prize Part II

Just a quick update for today:

The reviews the UoM postgrad creative writing students have written for the Orange Prize books are on the Orange Prize blog now.

I've got nothing more to say today. Well in fact I've got lots of stuff to share but it will all have to wait till a later date. I interviewed Jackie Kay for Bewilderbliss, the results of that will go onto the website in a couple of weeks. I've also been reading lots of good stuff in the Elaine Feinstein archive. Check out my other blog to keep up with my progress with that. I will be writing something cohesive about the whole process of my work with the archive. Not sure where that's going yet, but I'll post details here when it's done.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Orange Prize

The time of the Orange Prize 2009 is upon us. Very generously, the Orange Prize people have sent copies of the shortlisted books to Manchester Uni Creative Writing postgrads. Obviously, they expected a review in exchange, but that seems like a small price to pay for a free book. The reviews will be going up the Orange Prize website soon, but The Manchester Review has a sneaky peak of them, so get reading and see which one you want to win.