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What’s On: Literature Events Calendar: May 2021

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As we move into May, there are plenty of exciting literature opportunities to keep an eye out for. From digital book launches to spoken word events, to ongoing literature festivals there is plenty to keep you busy over the next month.

Victoria Kennefick: Stay at Home Festival
Saturday, 1 May, 2:00-3:00pm | Free Online Event

Offered as a part of the Stay At Home Literary Festival, this book talk will feature Aoife Lyall (Bloodaxe) and Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet) as they discuss their debut, body-focused, collections. They will be reading from their work, discussing it, and offering a short workshop to help participants explore and connect with their physical bodies in a safe environment.

QUEER CONTACT 2021: Dean Atta: Black Flamingo
Saturday, 1 May, 1:00pm | Tickets £7

Join Dean Atta as he reads from and discusses his award winning debut novel Black Flamingo. This event is offered as part of the Queer Contact 2021 Festival, and will be hosted over Zoom. Atta will be joined by host Adam Lowe who is a writer, educator, publisher and performer. After the event, Atta will host a virtual writing workshop focusing on flags as metaphors to discuss pride in various forms.

Being Me: Poems about Thoughts, Feelings and Worries
Wednesday, 5 May, 7:30pm | Free Online Entry

Being Me is a poetry anthology featuring poems about thoughts, worries and feelings for KS2/3 children. Poets Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha and illustrator Victoria Wheeler will share poetry from the anthology. They will also be talking to mental health ambassador, TV and radio presenter and author, Katie Thistleton. Teaching resources to be used alongside the book will be shared with attendees. This event is organized by the Manchester Children’s Book Festival and the Manchester Poetry Library.

The New Abject: Tales of Modern Unease
Tuesday, 11 May, 7:00 – 8:00pm | Free Online Entry

This event, which will showcase the latest addition to the award-winning modern horror series from Comma Press. Saleem Haddad and Gaia Holmes, contributing authors of The New Abject, will be joined by Rob O’Connor, Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries at York St John University as they discuss their stories and experiences of writing horror short fiction inspired by the abject. This event is presented as a collaboration between Comma Press, York St John University, York Centre for Writing and York Literature Festival.

Renewing collective poetic practices
Wednesday, 19 May, 6:30pm | Free Online Entry

Hosted by the Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Met, Renewing collective poetic practices is a live event with international performance poet and artist Caroline Bergvall. Caroline Bergvall is an award-winning poet and artist who works across languages, artforms and media. During this live event, Bergvall will be joining the calll from Norway, to discuss the various multidisciplinary projects and collaborations she has started over the global lockdown. Bergvall will focus on the specific explorations of time zones and geographical and online places she has investigated during this period.

Searching for the Words: Writing the Refugee Crisis
Tuesday, 25 May, 6:00pm | £4.90 – £9.21

Running as part of the Writing on the Wall Festival 2021, this event is offered by the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival and Comma Press. Join Hassan Blasim, an Iraqi-born filmmaker and writer, and Christy Lefteri, who was born in London to Greek Cypriot parents, as they discuss their writing. Blasim’s debut collection The Madman of Freedom Square was published by Comma in 2009 (translated by Jonathan Wright) and was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His second collection, The Iraqi Christ, won the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the first Arabic title and the first short story collection ever to win the award. Lefteri was a contributor to Comma Press’ Refugee Tales: Volume IV, and author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Beekeeper of Aleppo, which came about after her time working as a volunteer at a Unicef supported refugee center in Athens. The event will be hosted by Ted Hodgkinson, broadcaster, editor, critic, writer and Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre.

Topo-Poetics: Tim Cresswell on Poetry and Place
Wednesday, 26 May, 6:30pm | Free Online Entry

Hosted by the Manchester Writing School, this live event will feature Dr David Cooper who will be in conversation with the Centre for Place Writing’s inaugural Visiting Professor, geographer and poet Tim Cresswell (University of Edinburgh). Cresswell will discuss the three collections of poetry that he has published with Penned in the Margins: Soil (2013); Fence (2015); and Plastiglomerate (2020) and read from new, yet-to-be-published poetry: hybrid work that focuses on the ‘Child Ballads.’ Cresswell will reflect on the evolution of his poetry with a particular focus on the role that ‘place’ plays in his creative practice. He will also discuss his experimental interest in testing the perceived boundaries between academic research and creative writing

Andrew McMillan ‘pandemonium’
Wednesday, 26 May, 6:30pm | Free Online Entry

Celebrate the launch of Andrew McMillan’s new poetry collection pandemonium. McMillan, a Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Writing School, will be joined by Malika Booker for a discussion about the collection and a Q and A session after the reading. The event is hosted by the Manchester Poetry Library and the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Ongoing: Writing on the Wall Festival
1 May – 31 May | All Inclusive Festival Ticket £40

While we have included one of the events hosted by the Writing on the Wall Festival, their events are taking place throughout May 2021. The Writing on the Wall Festival is Liverpool’s longest-running festival and May’s line-up combines writing, ideas and debate, with positive action, in an effort to bring communities together to explore local and global issues.

About the author / 

Ryann Overbay

Ryann has recently moved to Manchester from Japan, where she lived for five years teaching English literature and working as a travel writer for Voyapon Magazine. She is currently studying her MA in creative writing and is excited to work with aAh! Magazine as a creative editor.

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