11 new Manchester books to read during lockdown and beyond

From music, TV and history books to Manc Noir thrillers and young adult fiction, these new titles will keep Manchester bookworms entertained

We love reading Manchester books, whether they’re set in our city or written by a local author. And this year, there’s a whole host of new releases to catch up with.

From non-fiction about Manchester’s music scene, favourite TV show or history to crime thrillers and new young adult fiction, there really is something for everyone.

So whether you’re looking to treat yourself or for a perfect present, these new titles should keep all Manchester bookworms entertained this lockdown and beyond.


The Rats’ Tales: The Official Biography

In the past decade, the UK’s most famous busking band The Piccadilly Rats have conquered the country from London to Blackpool, appeared on the main stage at some of the biggest festivals in the UK, and even appeared on ITV’s Judge Rinder Show.

Their ability to stop commuters and shoppers in their tracks by the sight, sound and sheer insanity of their performance has left many onlookers wondering just who these people were, and how the hell they got here.

Now, Martin Green’s official biography, published in September with a foreword by Clint Boon, tells the official story. 

Out now in paperback and ebook, published by Empire Publications.

While We Were Getting High: Britpop and the 90s

Liam Gallagher outside Man City’s old ground at Maine Road July 1994. Photo by Kevin Cummins from While We Were Getting High

Photographer Kevin Cummins documented the rise and fall of Cool Britannia – and now his new book discusses its legacy with key players.

Kevin spent the 90s as chief photographer at NME, and While We Were Getting High is a nostalgic look back at the Britpop era through hundreds of striking photos – many never seen before.

A must for any 90s indie kid, the book, published in September, includes portraits of Oasis, The Charlatans, The Verve and many more.

Out now in hardback and ebook, published by Cassell Illustrated.

I Wanna Be Yours

Photo: Paul Wolfgang Webster

The Bard of Salford has had an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry; Bernard Manning to Linton Kwesi Johnson; Elvis Costello to Gregory Corso; Mark E. Smith to Gil Scott Heron and Joe Strummer and on to more recent fans and collaborators like Alex Turner, Plan B and Guy Garvey.

And now, aged 71, John Cooper Clarke has written his first memoir, interspersed with stories of his rock’n’roll and performing career and named after one of his most famous poems, I Wanna Be Yours.

Published in October, it’s a memoir fizzing with John’s trademark wit and wicked humour, revealing an incredible career which starts in Salford, spans five decades and as many continents, and features an incredible cast of characters along the way.

Out now in hardback, ebook and as an audiobook, published by Picador.

60 Years of Coronation Street

Celebrating the show’s diamond anniversary later this year, 60 Years of Coronation Street is an exhaustive, compelling and entertaining history packed full of features and long forgotten photos.

The book takes readers through every year with a unique timeline that highlights key plot lines and significant production events, accompanied by interviews with key actors, producers and production staff.

A special section on the show’s creator, Tony Warren, details how the programme evolved from page to screen and is illustrated with rare imagery and artefacts from his own archive.

Out now in hardback and ebook, published by Hamlyn.

Regeneration Manchester

Len Grant has been a photographer in Manchester for three decades, documenting the construction of some of our most iconic architecture and charting the revival of our most blighted neighbourhoods.

His early commissions included documenting the construction of The Bridgewater Hall – the new home for the Hallé orchestra – and on the other side of the city, he photographed from start to finish, the new indoor arena at Victoria Station.

This new book brings all his projects together in one 176-page retrospective volume.

Published on 10th November in hardback by Manchester University Press.

Manchester: Something Rich and Strange

Moving far from the glitzy shopping districts and architectural showpieces, away from cool city-centre living and modish cultural centres, this book shows us the under-appreciated and overlooked parts of Greater Manchester in which the majority of Mancunians live, work and play.

It tells the story of the city thematically, using concepts such a ‘material’,  ‘atmosphere’, ‘waste’, ‘movement’ and ‘underworld’ to challenge our understanding of the post-industrial metropolis.

Bringing together contributions from writers from across the region alongside a range of captivating photos, this book explores the history of Manchester through its chimneys, cobblestones, ginnels and graves.

Published on 19th November in paperback by Manchester University Press.

111 Places in Manchester That You Shouldn’t Miss

Authors Julian Treuherz and Peter de Figueiredo have collected 111 unusual and interesting local places in this new book, combined with stunning photographs.

It aims to take readers to an alternative Manchester, from Peterloo to the Pankhursts, from Elizabeth Gaskell to Anthony Burgess, from the Sephardic Synagogue to the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, and of course to Madchester and the famous music scene of Morrissey, Tony Wilson and the Haçienda.

Both locals and visitors to the city will almost certainly find themselves with a list of new places to discover once lockdown is over.

Out now in paperback, published by Emons Verlag.


The Mermaid’s Pool

David Nolan, author of the superb Black Moss, is back with a second helping of Manc Noir – and things are about to get even darker.

It’s 1988 and ecstasy is flooding the streets of Manchester. Over one weekend, Detective Inspector Smithdown is faced with a missing single mum, machete wielding gangs in Oldham, simmering racial tensions across communities and a mutilated body found at the edge of remote lake with a mythical reputation.

The locals say bad things happen at the Mermaid’s Pool. They’re dead right.

Published on 13th November in hardback, paperback and ebook by Fahrenheit Press.

Quiet Acts of Violence

This new crime thriller, published in the summer, is Manchester novelist Cath Staincliffe’s 26th novel and is set in her home city.

A dead baby is found, and her mother may well be in danger. Manchester’s version of Cagney and Lacey, detectives Donna Bell and Jade Bradshaw, are on the case. But will they get to the bottom of it in time?

Cath, who is also the creator of ITV’s hit series Blue Murder, writes about the northern working class with compassion and humanity.

Out now in hardback, audiobook and ebook, published by Constable.

The Game Weavers

This debut by young BAME author Rebecca Zahabi is a fantasy YA novel with LGBTQ themes exploring love, identity and coming-of-age.

Half British, half Iranian, 25-year-old Rebecca grew up in France but has been resident in Manchester for several years, completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester.

Her first novel, published in October, is ideal for fans of magical realism – a love story with fantasy themes set in a contemporary Britain where LGBTQ+ rights have taken a backwards step.

Out now in paperback, published by ZunTold Publishing.

When The Past Kills

MJ Lee was born in Manchester, and the city provides the setting for his new book, the latest instalment of a gritty crime series that fans of Stuart Macbride and Joseph Knox will love.

A scream breaks the air in the coroner’s office. An execution is being broadcast live on the internet. It’s a shocking incident, and for Manchester-based DI Thomas Ridpath it means an old case is back to haunt him.

Just as Ridpath’s life is getting back to normal, he is forced to revisit the case that defined his career: the Beast of Manchester investigation rears its head once again. Now, coppers are being targeted – but who will be next?

Out now in paperback, published by Canelo Crime.


Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to editorial@ilovemanchester.com

Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a real difference in the lives of others, especially those close to home.


This week