Spotlight: Manchester’s Literary Scene

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Manchester is a city filled to the brim with literary knowledge and opportunities for any passionate student writer to explore. From its outstanding libraries, university and local events, it’s no wonder Manchester was granted the City of Literature status by UNESCO.

Did you know that Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Met is the first one of its kind in the North West? If poetry is not your passion, The Portico Library offers events and exhibitions such as bookbinding workshops and discussions with writers. Other iconic libraries include Manchester Central Library, the stunning John Rylands Research Institute and Library, and Britain’s oldest public library, Chetham’s Library – each waiting for you to explore their own unique history and knowledge.

When you’re not attending lectures, you’ll want to keep up with literature based events in the city. Look out for the Manchester Literature Festival in October, with highlights including the Manchester’s Multilingual City Poets panel, and in-conversation events featuring Ian Rankin, Nihal Arthanayake and David Olusoga.

In late November, be sure to support Manchester Met’s very own lecturers Helen Mort and Kim Moore, who are shortlisted for the 30th Anniversary of the Forward Prize. Manchester Writing School will also host the 2022 National Creative Writing Industry Day and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in November. Watch this space for events celebrating the book launches of alumni writers Minoli Salgado, Laura Barnett and Mark Pajak, too.

If you’re a fellow writer looking to make your mark, get involved in zines like the one you’re reading right now. aAh! holds regular Rise workshops in journalism, editing, pitching,

magazine production and graphic design to boost your skills, confidence and portfolio. BBC Writersroom and web zine, Polyester, also have regular open calls – both creative and non-fiction – and are waiting for your submissions.

Want to speak your word to a crowd? There are tons of great venues waiting with open arms. Chorlton bar, Dulcimer, is a great option. The same can be said for Young Identity, a spoken word collective which also hosts regular writing workshops. Looking for some festivals? The Switchblade Society holds one for local poets as well as our last pick Sayin, who, as well as poetry, support rappers and musicians who perform without a backing track.

Manchester Met’s societies are also a great community to tap into, welcoming writers from every field. MMU Creative Writing Society plans to accept a range of submissions, as well as hold workshops for writers of prose, script and poetry. There’s also the Borderline Theatre Society for playwrights, and the Hive Radio Society for writers of radio. If you’re looking to mingle with fellow bookworms, MMU Book Club Society will help you connect with other readers or expand your tastes.

No matter which parts of Manchester’s literary scene you get involved in, make the time to link up with your fellow readers and writers. Whether they’re classmates or friends, sharing your work with others will help you find more opportunities you never thought possible. Have fun exploring!

To stay in the loop with events sign-up to the Manchester Writing School mailing list and follow @McrWritingSchl

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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