Readings
The Manchester Review

Zaffar Kunial, The Whitworth Gallery, Thursday Oct. 19th, Reviewed by Chad Campbell

ZAFFAR KUNIAL The Whitworth Gallery, Thursday Oct. 19th Introduced by Andrew McMillan  Reviewed by Chad Campbell   Poet Zaffar Kunial and painter Raqib Shaw share some common ground. Both have roots in Kashmir (Kunial through his father; Shaw by birth) and England (Kunial by birth; Shaw by virtue of having lived and worked here for […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Imtiaz Dharker, Manchester Art Gallery, reviewed by Namra Amir

Imtiaz Dharker, Manchester Art Gallery, 20 October 2017. As the Manchester Literature Festival nears the end, I thought I couldn’t be further impressed or surprised by the events. Little did I know that Imtiaz Dharker’s collaboration with Manchester Art Gallery would stun me and revolutionise the way we read and discuss poetry. On my journey […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Elif Shafak and Nadeem Aslam, reviewed by Usma Malik

Elif Shafak & Nadeem Aslam, Central Library, 15 October 2017. It’s just gone 1.30 pm and already there’s a sizeable crowd gathered outside Manchester’s Central Library. The talk doesn’t begin till 2pm, but the audience are keen to get inside and secure front row streets. When Elif Shafak, Nadeem Aslam, and Erica Wagner, our chair […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: John Banville and Mike McCormack, reviewed by Tessa Harris

John Banville and Mike McCormack, hosted by Ian McGuire, Martin Harris Centre, 10 October 2017. John Banville and Mike McCormack, hosted by Ian McGuire, was a gentle classic of a literature festival event. Technology, language and loneliness were perhaps the major themes of a discussion that ranged from influences and nationhood to Banville’s creation of […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Jon Savage at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Jon Savage: Burgess, Punk and the Sex Pistols, introduced by Andrew Biswell, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 17 October 2017. Jon Savage moved with Punk to Manchester in the late seventies after the Sex Pistols’ famous ‘76 ‘June Show’ at the Lesser Free Trade Hall; a gig attended by Pistol’s fans (like Steve Morrissey) who […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: The Real Story presents Know Your Place, reviewed by David Hartley

The Real Story presents Know Your Place: Gena-mour Barrett, Abondance Matanda, Andrew McMillan & Kit de Waal; International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 9 October 2017. The title of this event, and the book it launches, makes a clear demand of us: not to reflect on our place, not to consider it, but to know it. Taken […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Refugee Tales II: Caroline Bergvall, Kamila Shamsie & Marina Warner, reviewed by Usma Malik

Refugee Tales II: Caroline Bergvall, Kamila Shamsie & Marina Warner; Central Library, 16 October 2017. This is not an actual title of one of the short story collections that make up Comma Press’s Refugee Tales. It’s how I’ve synthesised the message of the stories. In fact, even the phrase ‘short story collection,’ may be slightly misleading. […]

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Maryam Hessavi

Manchester Literature Festival: Elif Shafak & Nadeem Aslam, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi 

Elif Shafak & Nadeem Aslam, hosted by Erica Wagner; Central Library, 15 October 2017. “Where to begin” – was the place at which Erica Wagner initiated the event, setting up the primary concerns and philosophical line of conversation that would formulate an intellectually invigorating and moving discussion between these two powerful writers, Elif Shafak and […]

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Maryam Hessavi

Manchester Literature Festival: The Things I Would Tell You: Elbadawi, Hamid, Osman, Mahfouz, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi      

The Things I Would Tell You: Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa Hamid, Hibaq Osman and Sabrina Mahfouz, Central Library, 15 October 2017. Hosted by award-winning Sabrina Mahfouz, The Things I Would Tell You event offered insights, experiences and performance from Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa Hamid and Hibaq Osman, who form part of the twenty-two strong compilation of writers […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: The Things I Would Tell You: Elbadawi, Hamid, Osman, Mahfouz, reviewed by Namra Amir

The Things I Would Tell You: Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa Hamid, Hibaq Osman and Sabrina Mahfouz, Central Library, 15 October 2017. Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian playwright, poet and screenwriter. As the editor of the anthology “The Things I Would I Tell You”, she warmly greets the crowds and introduces the writers Asma Elbadawi, Nafeesa […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Colette Bryce and Tara Bergin, reviewed by Joe Carrick-Varty

Literature Live: Colette Bryce and Tara Bergin, Martin Harris Centre, 16 October 2017. Monday 16th October, 2017, Manchester saw a red sun and dust blown from Africa, not to mention gale force winds and a few overturned wheelie bins. But somewhere, somewhere deep in the midst of all this chaos a separate storm was brewing. […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Will Self at Central Library, reviewed by Henry Cockburn

Will Self, hosted by Alex Clark, Central Library, 10 October 2017. Self lumbers onto the stage dressed in a quasi-uniform of Napoleonic blue and high-throated red, mutters to himself through a jawful of gum, then plays peek-a-boo with the armchair. The effect is of a large off-duty circus monkey. The audience leans in, unsure whether […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Sinéad Morrissey & Douglas Dunn, reviewed by Sahar Abbas

Sinéad Morrissey & Douglas Dunn, hosted by Vona Groarke; Martin Harris Centre, 9 October 2017. At the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, under the Cosmo Rodewald Theatre’s star-filled ceiling, two very special stars themselves – Sinéad Morrissey and Douglas Dunn – recited poems of undeniable truth and sheer honesty from their new collections, […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Malika Booker at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi

Malika Booker; International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 8 October 2017. If you didn’t make the Malika Booker event last night, you missed a truly magical theatre production of the imagination; full of the wilderness, the natural world, animals masquerading as political figures, Lazarus rising for ‘more fire’ (!), and women letting ‘citrus oils into the wind’… Malika […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Jon McGregor at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13; The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 7 October 2017. “One of the things for me, about this book,” Jon McGregor explains before he starts the performance “is not to explain things…to people.” He doesn’t get the laugh he deserves. The audience is mostly anxiously clutching smartphones and muttering things like I don’t […]

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The Manchester Review

Chris Kraus, After Kathy Acker: A Biography, reviewed by NJ Stallard

An Evening With Chris Kraus, in conversation with Kaye Mitchell; Waterstone’s, Deansgate, September 27, 2017. “Hope not 2 offend but if I die please dont let the frenemy w whom I shared a bf read my diaries & write my biog” wrote artist Jesse Darling, in a recent tweet, regarding the launch of Chris Kraus’s […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Frank Cottrell Boyce and Geoff White, reviewed by Usma Malik

Frank Cottrell Boyce and Geoff White; Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8 2017. Just as science and theory offer endless opportunities to invent and reinvent stories, so do our existing narratives, and the ‘What if?’ question pops up again, this time in Frank Cottrell Boyce’s incredibly entertaining talk. Stories? He queries. Oh, stories, […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sara Maitland, Adam Marek, Dr Rob Appleby, Ra Page, reviewed by Usma Malik

How to Write Science-fiction: Sara Maitland, Adam Marek, Dr Rob Appleby, and Ra Page; Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8-9 2017. When a Science-fiction writer’s panel kicks off with the sound of foxes howling you know you’re in for an interesting ride. The three men sitting on the front row are in full […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Tony Walsh and Dr Marcus Chown, reviewed by Usma Malik

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 7 2017. Science, Storytelling, Magic and the Universe. It’s been a starry three days at the 2017 Bluedot Festival. I would have loved to cover it all, unfortunately the TARDIS was in for repairs and so I had to make do with my, limited, human resources and the […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: The Dark Web – explained by Geoff White, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Contact stage, July 8 2017. There’s a sense at Bluedot sometimes of the stark difference between the utopia of the open air fields and the darker undercurrent of misdemeanour inside the science talks. Not that there’s anything dangerous or dodgy going on, more that there are confrontations within these fabric walls […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Delia Derbyshire and Mary Casio, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Delia Derbyshire Day – 80th Anniversary Tribute, Nebula Stage, July 8; Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. At festivals, especially big ones with lots of good stuff going on, you get used to wisps of sound from other tents and stages intruding on your experience. I’ve always […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sheena Cruickshank, The Amazing and Horrible World of Parasites, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Mission Control, July 7 2017. It’s hot. I’ve danced in the sun throwing my head back, losing my hat. I’ve burnt my nose. I have an ice-cream and there are tents all round the edges of the field, they’re full of clever people giving talks. I’ll chose somewhere to sit and […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Professor Steve Fuller, Transhumanism: Can You Afford to Live Forever, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Contact stage, July 8 2017. You come to Bluedot for music, sure, and maybe a few fun science experiments with plastic bottles and ping-pong balls. But you also come here to wrestle with some of humankind’s most fundamental and ethically demanding questions. On the table today is a simple one: want […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Jeff Forshaw, Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Mission Control, July 7 2017. It’s a tall order trying to explain life, the universe and everything – or at least how it all started – to a tent full of festival folk on a cloudy Friday in a field in Cheshire in forty minutes. But particle physics Professor Jeff Forshaw […]

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The Manchester Review

An Evening with Chris Packham, The Lowry, reviewed by Emma Rhys

An Evening with Chris Packham: Growing Up Wild, The Lowry; May 9, 2016 I arrived at the Lowry early and was lucky enough to spot Chris Packham in his natural environment – or at least, natural to most of his species – eating lunch at the Tower Coffee Shop. He didn’t notice me. Perhaps if […]

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The Manchester Review

Kate Tempest in conversation with Dave Haslam, HOME, reviewed by Fran Slater

Kate Tempest in conversation with Dave Haslam, HOME, April 17 2016 Something feels a little bit special before the event even gets going. There’s a buzz in the room. You look around as Kate Tempest’s Everybody Down plays through the speakers and you see that the audience is made up of an interesting mixture of […]

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The Manchester Review

Irvine Welsh, The Dancehouse, reviewed by Fran Slater

Irvine Welsh in conversation with Kevin Sampson, April 3 2016 (Photograph of Irvine Welsh & Kevin Sampson, copyright Manchester Literature Festival) Entering The Dancehouse on this wet Sunday evening was a strange experience. We were here for a reading from a new novel and an onstage interview with its author, but the size of the […]

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The Manchester Review

Steve Roggenbuck at The Eagle Inn, reviewed by Lucy Burns

As part of my current project of ‘working on anything except my PhD’, I’ve been revisiting a conference paper I gave last year. The paper was on internet poetry and cuteness (and will hopefully resurface at some point) and uses Steve Roggenbuck’s poetry and the anthology, The Yolo Pages (Boosthouse, 2014) to make a claim […]

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The Manchester Review

Welcome to Night Vale, Albert Hall, reviewed by James D Ward

Welcome to Night Vale Albert Hall, Manchester, 24/09/2015     Podcasts are simply radio for our on demand times, so it’s appropriate that one of the more popular shows purports to be the broadcasts from a community station situated in an otherworldly part of the American Midwest. Welcome to Night Vale, with its mix of […]

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The Manchester Review

Catherine O’Flynn, reviewed by Caitrin O’Sullivan

Catherine O’Flynn at the Manchester Literature Festival Saturday 19th October Waterstones Deansgate   Drenched from the Manchester rain, I stumbled into Waterstones, Deansgate, to hear Libby Tempest warmly introduce the novelist Catherine O’Flynn. I seemed to be the only one in the room lucky enough to be caught in the sudden thunder and lightning, but I […]

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The Manchester Review

Deborah Levy & Sarah Hall, reviewed by Sarah-Clare Conlon

Deborah Levy & Sarah Hall Thursday 17 October, 7.30pm, International Anthony Burgess Foundation   While live Tweeting from Thursday evening’s celebration of the short story, it struck me that both quotes I picked out to share with the ether involved the word “great”. How fitting, I mused: more compact doesn’t have to mean less impact; […]

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The Manchester Review

Clare Shaw and Conor O’Callaghan, reviewed by Chloe Heard

Clare Shaw and Conor O’Callaghan, Manchester Literature Festival at Deansgate, reviewed by Chloe Heard The intimate surroundings of Waterstones was the chosen setting for a reading by contemporary poets Clare Shaw and Conor O’ Callaghan. With a rich northern twang Clare Shaw warmed up a gloomy Mancunian Friday with captivating wit and an insightful explanation […]

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The Manchester Review

A Passion for Sport: Ian McMillan and Owen Sheers, reviewed by Sara Allen

A Passion for Sport : Ian McMillan and Owen Sheers. Manchester Literature Festival at The Green, Oct 16th. Reviewed by Sara Allen   As I walk through the heavy doors of Manchester’s premier sports bar ‘The Green’ with its leather sofas, virtual golf machine and snooker tables, I can’t help but think it the most […]

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The Manchester Review

Elaine Feinstein in conversation with Michael Schmidt, Manchester, reviewed by Joe Carrick-Varty

Elaine Feinstein in conversation with Michael Schmidt, Manchester Literature Festival, 13.10.13.  Reviewed by Joe Carrick-Varty   Elaine Feinstein wrote her first poem when she was eight years old, ‘banging a ball against the garage door to create rhythm’. Who would have known that this Jewish child would flourish into one of the most influential poets […]

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The Manchester Review

I am I am I am: Jackie Kay and Ali Smith discuss Sylvia Plath, reviewed by Eve Foster

Literature Live – I am I am I am: Jackie Kay and Ali Smith discuss Sylvia Plath, Manchester Literature Festival at the Martin Harris Centre, Oct 13th, reviewed by Eve Foster Study windows bellied in Like bubbles about to break These were the opening images of Ali Smith and Jackie Kay’s thoroughly engaging discussion and […]

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