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The Manchester Review

Doll Heads, by Javier Fedrick

Doll Heads To amuse ourselves during quarantine, we set to work on all your old dolls, scalping each straw-haired head and packing it with dirt. We were left with a crowd of carved grins, middle-distance eyes and open minds, which, together, we filled with thyme, and basil, and childish cress— burying the seeds like fists […]

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The Manchester Review

Michael Schmidt | Gilgamesh, the Life of a Poem | reviewed by David Cooke

Michael Schmidt | Gilgamesh, the Life of a Poem | Princeton University Press: £22.00 The long poem known as Gilgamesh or the Epic of Gilgamesh is the most ancient literary text we have and the earliest surviving work of literature that has the power to move and inspire us. It predates the Iliad and the oldest […]

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Sam Webb

Ben Lerner | The Topeka School | reviewed by Sam Webb

Ben Lerner | The Topeka School | Granta Books: £12.99 A dozen-or-so pages into Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School, the narrator Adam Gordon demonstrates the professional debating technique known as ‘the spread’. A competitor proposes as many arguments as possible within their allotted time. The speech is quick and aggressive, ratcheting ‘to nearly unintelligible speed, […]

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The Manchester Review

Richard Clegg makes the case for Neil Campbell

Give Him A Reading: a review of Lanyards by Neil Campbell and a reading at Waterstones, Deansgate by the author, chaired by Nick Royle, on November 7th, 2019   When the team meets up to plan the Manchester Literature Festival, Neil Campbell deserves a place on any events list. He is one of the few […]

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The Manchester Review

Louder than Words Festival: Jordan Mooney and Cathi Unsworth, reviewed by Alienor Bombarde

Books, Ballet and Bodacious Backgrounds – Defying Gravity and Defining a Punk Ethic Jordan Mooney and Cathi Unsworth were interviewed by John Robb on Saturday, 9th of November, 2019, at the Louder than Words Festival Jordan Mooney, the punk symbol who disappeared from London in the 1980s, has come back to the public eye among […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Emilie Pine and Sinead Gleeson at the IABF, 13/10/19, reviewed by Erin McNamara

Emilie Pine and Sinéad Gleeson were interviewed by Kate Feld at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on 13th October. After introductions, Gleeson read from an essay entitled ‘On the Atomic Nature of Trimesters’ from her collection Constellations, and Pine from the first of her book Notes to Self – ‘Notes on Intemperance’. While very different […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Booker Prize Shortlist, with Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Martin Harris Centre, 11/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Way

“The suffering of the novelist”: 2019 Booker Prize Shortlist Bernardine Evaristo, Lucy Ellmann & Chigozie Obioma in conversation with Ellah Wakatama Allfrey 11th October 2019, Martin Harris Centre An evening with three of the Booker Prize nominees – Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other), Lucy Ellmann (Ducks, Newburyport) and Chigozie Obioma (An Orchestra of Minorities) – […]

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The Manchester Review

Two Memoirs:  Moby, Then It Fell Apart | Patti Smith, Year of the Monkey, reviewed by Richard Clegg

Moby: Then It Fell Apart, Faber & Faber: £14.99 Patti Smith: Year of the Monkey, Bloomsbury: £12.99 Moby and Patti Smith represent two distinct generations of American music. Moby is one of the leading creators of popular electronic dance music. His breakthrough album Play became the soundtrack for films, and many adverts. His videos have […]

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The Manchester Review

Cork International Short Story Festival 2019 (25 – 28 September), reviewed by Phil Olsen

A Partial Diary of the Cork International Short Story Festival 2019 (25 – 28 September) Phil Olsen Like me, the Cork Arts Theatre was established in 1976 (though I was never fondly referred to as the “CAT Club” in my early years). It is here that I arrived on a rainy late September evening to […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Elif Shafak at Central Library, 10/10/19, reviewed by Probert Dean

When Elif Shafak finished her talk, I looked back on the event – an intimate gathering at Manchester Central Library – and reflected on her aesthetic turns of phrase, the lingering visions of her lively prose, and the sobering inevitability with which all discussions now turn to politics. Shafak is described as British-Turkish (or Turkish-British) […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019:  ‘A Little Body Are Many Parts / Un Cuerpecito Son Muchas Partes’, 9/10/19, reviewed by Charlotte Wetton

‘A Little Body Are Many Parts / Un Cuerpecito Son Muchas Partes’ is one of those rare and lovely things: a poetry book with the original language and the English translation side by side. Poems from Legna Rodríguez Iglesias’ eight collections, written in Spanish, sit beside Abigail Parry and Seraphina Vick’s English translations. During the […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Isabel Galleymore and Stephen Sexton, Blackwell’s, 7/10/19, reviewed by Kathryn Tann

Introduced to Blackwells on a chilly October evening are poets Isabel Galleymore and Stephen Sexton, along with their shining debut collections. Both with previously published pamphlets, both lecturers in Creative Writing, yet both with a unique and distinctive voice; each takes their place before the keen audience to read and discuss their latest work. First […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Take 2, Jonathan Safran Foer at the Cosmo Rodewald, 8/10/19, reviewed by Erin McNamara

Jonathan Safran Foer has a plan to tackle climate change – but he wants you to come up with your own. In conversation with Erica Wagner, former literary editor of The Times, the writer discussed his latest book – a non-fiction work on climate change that is not so much a call to arms as […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Take 1, Jonathan Safran Foer at the Cosmo Rodewald, 8/10/19, reviewed by Joss Areté Kelvin

Jonathan Safran Foer, Literature Live at the Martin Harris Centre, Centre for New Writing, 8/10/19, reviewed by Joss Areté Kelvin Acclaimed novelist and non-fiction writer Jonathan Safran Foer is sharing his own vulnerabilities in an effort to get his audience to question our own. His new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Starts […]

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The Manchester Review

Helen Tookey | City of Departures | reviewed by Sophie Baldock

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Jeanette Winterson, Frankissstein, RNCM Theatre, 5/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase

Jeanette Winterson, Frankissstein: Manchester Literature Festival at the RNCM Theatre in partnership with the Centre for New Writing, 5/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase On the evening of Saturday the 5th of October Jeanette Winterson gave a reading unlike any other. Interactive, dramatic, futuristic, her performance was electrifying. Winterson animated the audience with her insightful and […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Common People at The Cosmo Rodewald Theatre, Martin Harris Centre, 5/10/19 reviewed by Charlotte Wetton

Review of Common People, Manchester Literature  I went to the ‘Common People’ event because I crave new stories and new voices. Working-class experience in literature is a rich seam not yet tapped. If I were a publisher, I would be signing up some of these debut writers pronto. Common People is an anthology of memoir – […]

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The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: David Nicholls in conversation with Alex Clark, at the Cosmo Rodewald Hall, Martin Harris Centre, 4/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Way

David Nicholls in conversation with Alex Clark The last time journalist Alex Clark interviewed writer David Nicholls in Manchester, it was, she says, a “mad experience” involving the police and broken microphones. David returned to Manchester on 4th October 2019 as part of his book tour for Sweet Sorrow – a story of first love […]

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The Manchester Review

Paul Muldoon and Alice Oswald: Literature Live at The Martin Harris Centre, Centre for New Writing, 3/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase

Paul Muldoon and Alice Oswald: Literature Live at The Martin Harris Centre, Centre for New Writing, 3/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase An evening in time, out of time, about time. Last night the remarkable Alice Oswald and Paul Muldoon gave the Centre of New Writing an evening of laughter and reflection. Both poets chose from […]

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The Manchester Review

Pharricide (Confingo) by Vincent De Swarte, translated by Nicholas Royle. Reviewed by Richard Clegg

Pharricide (Confingo) by Vincent De Swarte, translated by Nicholas Royle. This short novel is a terrific read. It is always good to find a new author and I must admit this was all new to me. Vincent de Swarte wrote several books for children and five for adults. “Pharricide,” published in 1998, won the Prix […]

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The Manchester Review

Great Painters Are Rare: William Stott of Oldham,1857-1900, an exhibition at Oldham Art Gallery until May 11th, reviewed by Richard Clegg

Great Painters Are Rare: William Stott of Oldham,1857-1900, an exhibition at Oldham Art Gallery until May 11th Reviewed by Richard Clegg  William Stott led two lives, one rooted in Oldham and its environs, the other outside Paris in a centre for modern painters at Grez-sur-Loing where he made his home.  The son of a mill […]

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The Manchester Review

We Were Strangers: Stories Inspired by Unknown Pleasures edited by Richard Hirst. (Confingo, £12.99), reviewed by Richard Clegg

We Were Strangers: Stories Inspired by Unknown Pleasures edited by Richard Hirst. (Confingo, £12.99) The short time that falls between the end and start of the Northern bands, Joy Division and New Order, splits the new city region from the old. Joy Division, through Ian Curtis, are connected to the declining areas of de-industrialisation with […]

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The Manchester Review

Unthology 10, Edited by Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones. Reviewed by Usma Malik

Unthology 10, Edited by Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones. And the question is, always, what to do now? How to act now that the catastrophe  is here? Who do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? A shadow of yourself or the self of your shadow? Fight or Flight? And so readers […]

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The Manchester Review

The Inheritance (Polygon), by Sheena Kalayil, reviewed by Usma Malik

London. A young student falls in love with her University tutor. Married Dr Ben Martin, advocator of women’s rights and author of titles such as ‘Daughters of Africa’ and ‘Gender and Law Reform in Africa’, is a respected member of the academic Faculty. Rita Kalungal, Nineteen, is a first year Anthropology student, and his tutee. […]

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Kei Miller

Letters to James Baldwin

Letters to James Baldwin Dear James, -I wish I could call you – Jimmy, the way that woman you described as handsome and so very clever, Toni Morrison – always called you Jimmy which meant that she loved you, and you her, and that in the never-ending Christmas of your meetings (this is how she […]

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Rommi Smith

Bodies of Colour: A Poetic Script

Bodies of Colour: A Poetic Script 1. DAVE IS ALREADY PLAYING AS THE AUDIENCE ARRIVE. TWO – THREE APPROPRIATE IMPROVISATIONS INSPIRED BY THE COLOURS AND THE STORIES OF THE WALLPAPER IN THE EXHIBITION SPACES. ROMMI IS WITH THE AUDIENCE DOWNSTAIRS, SHE MOVES UPSTAIRS AS THE BULK OF THE AUDIENCE MOVES UPSTAIRS. 2. ROMMI GOES TO […]

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The Manchester Review

Heroines from Abroad (Carcanet), by Christine Marendon, translated by Ken Cockburn, reviewed by Chloé S Vaughan

Heroines from Abroad (Carcanet), by Christine Marendon, translated by Ken Cockburn, reviewed by Chloé S Vaughan ___________________________ Christine Marendon’s Heroines from Abroad, translated by Ken Cockburn, is a revealing collection that reminds us that the power of poetry isn’t limited to the words. The feeling that overcomes you when reading the poems is numinous; they take […]

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Michael Morpurgo

The 2018 Castlefield Manchester Sermon – I wish for you

The 2018 Castlefield Manchester Sermon – I wish for you There is today, and there has been for some time, a pall of gloom and doom hanging over the environment. And with good reason, very good reason. But it is not the whole story. And being downhearted about it all does not help put it […]

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Beth Underdown

Love makes as many

Love makes as many For all the staff and volunteers at NT Quarry Bank, with my heartfelt thanks -Beth Underdown 1918 The looms are quiet, this week. Government orders. There’s not enough cotton, not enough boats getting through; so, for once, the looms are still.         ‘Some folk get on better,’ Martha says, ‘if they close […]

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Benjamin Myers

Salford, 1986

Salford, 1986 Introduction Martin Parr’s photographs capture the frozen moment. They offer fleeting glimpses into passing lives, framed and constrained by the parameters of the print. Who are these subjects? We rarely find out; they are dispossessed of literal voices, as all photographic subjects are. Instead it is left to our imaginations to fill in […]

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Adelle Stripe

Eight Days Left

Eight Days Left The black ambulance pulled up outside the flat at three minutes to eleven. The pavement was overgrown with dandelion stalks and their feathers caught on Sean’s trousers as he used a chipped brick to wedge open the gate. He pulled keys from his pocket and clicked the lock open revealing a cavernous […]

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Linda Grant

Posh

Posh ‘I think you’re going to like this place,’ he said ‘it’s posh.’        And I laughed, because actually it was a good, if obvious joke and I liked him for making it and no, I didn’t think he was making fun of me. It was sweet.        It was when we were walking through the lobby […]

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Helen Mort

there & back

there & back i. there Victoria At ten, my globe was this tiled atlas, crimson-black veins the neural pathways of Yorkshire, Lancashire. Here, it’s always evening and I’m holding my dad’s hand, asking what’s Huddersfield? but now we’re moving, travelling backwards till we’re out of sight, now I can’t see the curve of his face. […]

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The Manchester Review

Take 2: Terrance Hayes, Manchester Literary Festival at the Central library, reviewed by David Adamson

Review: Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin Manchester Literary Festival Central Library, Friday 19th October 2018 David Adamson “something happened / In Chicago & Cleveland & Baltimore & happens / Almost everywhere in this country every day” -Probably twilight makes blackness dangerous A few years ago the intended subject of these […]

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The Manchester Review

Terrance Hayes | American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin | reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Terrance Hayes | American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin | Penguin, £9.99 I’ve been trying to write a review of Terrance Hayes’ American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin all summer. I read the book cover to cover in one sitting when it came out in June. Since then, I’ve dipped in […]

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