Welcome to Issue 14 of The Manchester Review. This issue features our usual mixture of exciting, high quality poetry and fiction, from both established and emerging writers. We are particularly pleased to be able to feature, alongside all the great writing, David Summers’ wonderfully deft oil paintings. David, a long time Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia, is best known for his distinguished scholarly work—but he is also, as you will soon see as you explore Issue 14, a terrifically skilled painter of light and space. We are delighted to be able to showcase his work here.
Since our last issue, which came out in the autumn, the cultural landscape of Manchester, our home city, has changed in some exciting and significant ways. February saw the spectacular reopening of the redesigned Whitworth Art Gallery, and only last month, in May, we witnessed the officially opening weekend of HOME—a remarkable new arts centre incorporating two theatres, five cinema screens and a new gallery space. Whatever the political rights and wrongs of Mr. Osborne’s putative “Northern Powerhouse,” there is no doubt that we in the North are living in potentially vibrant and exciting times, and that art and culture is increasingly seen as a key element of the larger effort to rebalance the U.K. and shift some measure of power and prosperity away from its traditional home in the Southeast. As lovers of literature and the arts based in the North, we at The Manchester Review can only welcome these changes, but we also know that art, as it almost always does, will exceed its political and strategic brief, and that its energy and unruliness will survive any kind of co-option, however benign. Art and culture can, and will, play an important part in the public rebranding of the cities of the North, but beyond and behind this public realm, there remain the smaller, stranger, and more vital private spaces in which art is created and where, oftentimes, it is best understood.