Manchester Literature Festival announces programme of live events

This year's MLF features a new book about The Fall and Paul Morley's long awaited biography of Tony Wilson

The programme and ticketing arrangements for this year’s Manchester Literature Festival have been announced.

The Festival will feature a live events programme packed with award-winning writers and musicians including Bernardine Evaristo, Bobby Gillespie, Tracey Thorn, Andrew O’Hagan and Paul Morley and will run from 9th-17th October 2021.

Highlights include An Evening with Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo hosted by Jackie Kay and From Manchester With Love: Paul Morley in Conversation, in which the best-selling author will be discussing the long-awaited biography of Factory Records co-founder and all-round Manchester hero Tony Wilson.

At the helm of Factory Records and The Haçienda, Wilson unleashed landmark acts such as Joy Division and New Order into the world as he pursued myriad other creative endeavours, appointing himself a custodian of Manchester’s legacy of innovation and change.

Over a prolific 40 year career, Manchester music legends The Fall created a world that was influential, idiosyncratic and fiercely original. They are the subject of another event at HOME – Excavate! The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall by Bob Stanley and Tessa Norton is described as a definitive insight into the influential world of Mark E. Smith and The Fall, featuring never-before-published essays and ephemera from fans and collectors

Other events feature Bobby Gillespie, Tracey Thorn and Andrew O’Hagan, author of the critically acclaimed novel Mayflies which charts an epic night of youthful excess in 1980s Manchester, set against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, to its tragic aftermath 30 years later.

“The 2021 line-up of the Manchester Literature Festival looks, as ever, like an education in itself” said John McAuliffe, director, Creative Manchester, at The University of Manchester.

“The Festival’s stories, poems and interviews promise to start and sustain conversations for all of us who will be attending events, online and in-person, this October.”

Now in its 16th year, The Festival has quadrupled in size from 2006 when it featured 30 events attracting an audience of 3,000 to the 2019 Festival which featured 75 events and attracted an audience of over 12,000.

Last year, MLF delivered its first digital festival featuring 17 online events broadcast on Crowdcast over a long weekend. The Festival included 70 writers and four specially commissioned films. It reached a much more geographically dispersed audience than usual with 18% of the audience joining the events from overseas. 10% of the audience were based in the US and the remaining international audience joined from a total of 51 countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia.

Over the past 15 years, the Festival has featured many of the biggest names in literary fiction and spoken word as well as prominent cultural figures from across the globe, including Martin Amis,  Simon Armitage, Margaret Atwood, Kate Atkinson, Malorie Blackman, William Boyd, Roddy Doyle, Margaret Drabble, Carol Ann Duffy,  Neil Gaiman, Seamus Heaney,  Nick Hornby, Howard Jacobson,  Hanif Kureishi, Linton Kwesi Johnson,  Deborah Levy, Armistead Maupin, Johnny Marr, Val McDermid, David Mitchell, Walter Mosley, Andrew Motion, Jo Nesbo, Ben Okri, Arundhati Roy, Will Self, Lemn Sissay, Kamila Shamsie, Zadie Smith,  Colm Toíbín, Rose Tremain,  and Jeanette Winterson.

Festival patrons include former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, award-winning journalist and Observer critic Rachel Cooke, poet Jackie Kay, broadcaster and former anchor of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Dame Jenni Murray, poet and publisher Michael Schmidt, acclaimed novelist Kamila Shamsie and author and broadcaster Erica Wagner.

Manchester Literature Festival is constantly updating audience guidance in line with government guidance for performance venues.  Capacity at events will be reduced and the wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser will be encouraged. Information and updates are available on the website.

Further Festival events will be announced in September. Following the success of the 2020 online festival, a digital programme of events is planned for November 2021.

Find out more and book here.


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