The UK’s most innovative literature festival reveals that Orange Prize-winning author Lionel Shriver will launch its fifth edition on 14 October. The packed programme features celebrated writers such as Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, as well as some specially commissioned new work including the inaugural Manchester Sermon to be delivered by Jeanette Winterson at Manchester Cathedral on 21 October. Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney will close the Festival on 25 October.
60 events with outstanding writers spread across 12 days, Manchester Literature Festival 2010 continues to develop its three main strands – READ INDEPENDENT FREEPLAY – as well as featuring new projects linking up with other arts organisations around the city. Since 2006 the Festival has staged a highly innovative series of events around the city in a variety of different locations including Manchester Cathedral, the gothic splendour of Manchester Town Hall, Manchester Art Gallery and Chetham’s School of Music.
History, from the turbulent court of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II to the cloisters of a renaissance nunnery, is brought to life at this year’s festival with renowned historical novelists and historians Sarah Dunant and Alison Weir. Best-selling author and creator of the Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell will be making his only UK appearance to talk about his latest novel, The Fort set in the American War of Independence.
In her anniversary year, the work of Elizabeth Gaskell will be explored through a literary coach tour taking in the recently restored Gaskell House, where she penned many of her works as well as visiting The Gaskell Memorial Tower and finishing with afternoon tea in Knutsford, the inspiration for Cranford. BBC TV Producer Sue Birtwistle and scriptwriter Susie Conklin will also launch the Cranford Companion while this year the ever-popular BBC Writersroom features Cranford scriptwriter Heidi Thomas.
Award-winning TV writer and producer Paul Abbott and Patron of Manchester Literature Festival said this week, “I am delighted to be a patron of such a ground-breaking festival that brings writers of international repute to the city. Since the festival began, it has not only nurtured emerging local talent, but has also provided these new writers with a valuable showcase for their work, which is so important in today’s competitive market.”
Other patrons of Manchester Literature Festival confirmed this year are Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, broadcaster and anchor of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Jenni Murray, broadcaster and journalist Miranda Sawyer, and highly-esteemed poet and publisher Michael Schmidt.
Other confirmed festival highlights are:
Carol Ann Duffy & John Sampson
17 October The Whitworth Art Gallery
Carol Ann Duffy together with the multi-talented musician John Sampson present a special family poetry event with music.
Amanda Craig & Michele Roberts
20 October, Waterstone’s
Two of the UK’s foremost women writers will be discussing their latest works. Amanda Craig’s Hearts and Minds is a thrilling and thoroughly contemporary tale about the invisible lives of immigrants. Michele Roberts short story collection Mud: Stories of Sex and Love, takes the reader to nineteenth century Venice, 1970s England, modern-day France and beyond, exploring women’s desires, memory, grief, love and betrayal.
22 October, MMU
Novelist and Yale University professor Caryl Phillips will talk about his latest novel In the Falling Snow.
Women and Crime Fiction with Val McDermid & Sophie Hannah
22 October, Whitworth Art Gallery
Two of our most popular crime writers discuss gender roles in crime fiction, female protagonists (on either side of the law) and the ongoing debate about women as authors and originators of crime fiction.
Poetry continues to be an important component of the festival with performances from Fleur Adcock, Daljit Nagra, Pascale Petite, CK Williams and Desert Island Poems with Michael Schmidt & John McAuliffe at Chetham’s.
There will also be a healthy spread of literature in translation events, featuring leading writers from China, Spain, Norway, the Czech Republic and Morocco.
The hugely popular Manchester Blog Awards will take place once again in association with partners Manchester Digital Development Agency and Arts Council England. Details of how to enter will be available on the Manchester Literature Festival website.
Manchester Literature Festival also features a series of events especially for children and families including: Children’s Bookshow with Michael Rosen, a Moomin storytelling event with Tove Jannson’s niece Sophia Jansson, in association with NICE festival, and a puppetry and music show, Strange Stones, exploring the life of Mary Anning, the unsung heroine of 19th century palaeontology.
There are a number of trailblazer events for the Festival this year including Postcards from Manchester as part of The Manchester Weekender at venues across the city, 1 – 3 October 2010.