Festival of Libraries at Manchester Central Library

Festival of Libraries
Manchester Central Library
7th June 2023 – 11th June 2023

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Kit Fan
Kit Fan

The Festival of Libraries is a joyful celebration of the role that Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries play in wellbeing, culture, creativity and more. It’s a festival for everyone that spans internationally renowned institutions such as Central Library, Chetham’s, Manchester Poetry Library and John Rylands Research Institute and Library as well as the network of local libraries across the city region, reflecting Manchester’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Now in its third year, Festival of Libraries enjoys the support and collaboration of authors, artists and creatives, who all believe in the vital community and cultural role of libraries. June’s festival programme will highlight this, with a programme that will surprise and intrigue including live music, library exchanges, dance and theatre, poetry commissions, a writing trail, family-friendly activities and much more, all of which will be free to take part in. It will also blow up a few myths about libraries which Simon Armitage will be leading the charge on in his Masterclass with the Poet Laureate, sharing his love of writing, reading and libraries with audiences, to whom he will also be giving a poetry reading.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage says, “My experience of reading and writing began in the village library where I grew up, then in the nearby town library, then in libraries at various places of study and teaching. For many people they are an invaluable aspect of everyday life, giving access not just to books but to services, learning, conversation and creative thinking. I look forward to celebrating libraries as one of the great and necessary institutions as part of Manchester’s very own city-wide Festival of Libraries in the UNESCO City of Literature.”

Peter James Millson

Joining the festival as part of the ‘Inspired By’ line-up will be non-other than larger than life Cheddar Gorgeous of Ru Paul’s Drag Race fame, who will be recounting her headline-making experiences. Jay Blades, Guy Garvey, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Stuart Maconie are previous ‘Inspired By’ guests and more names will shortly be announced for 2023.

Cheddar Gorgeous says, “Our libraries are not only archives of our past, but spaces that encourage word- and world- making. Library doors are open to everyone and, when we enter, they ask us not only to consider our past but to imagine our future. Through sci-fi, classics, fantasy, poetry and theory libraries allow us to dream a little bigger. I can’t wait to be involved in Manchester’s Festival of Libraries this year, and celebrate the endless possibilities that libraries create for us, without expecting anything in return. This festival is a testament to how these spaces are intrinsic to Manchester’s diverse communities, especially as a UNESCO City of Literature.”

The festival will offer lots of thought-provoking events, such as an in conversation event with award-winning playwright and artist Linda Brogan. Linda will be discussing how her pursuit of memories led to the excavation of the Reno Club, renowned in the 1970s for being the best soul and funk club in Manchester and a space for young mixed-race Mancunians who often weren’t welcome elsewhere; an exhibition at the Whitworth; and now a book, 12 WordsAuthors Carmen, Tia and Catherine were part of the 2016 Reno excavation that took place 30 years after the club was demolished and have written 12 Words alongside Linda, in the process unlocking truths, secrets and confessions.

Around Oxford Road, several great events are happening across the festival, from live, experimental performance from Lowri Evans and Lisa Mattocks to workshops and conversations with Creative Manchester and Manchester Poetry Library. Below we’ve rounded up some of the best events to discover around the Corridor.

Part of this season

literature Writing Workshop with Anjum Malik
Manchester Central Library | 7 June 2023

Join Manchester UNESCO City of Literature Multilingual City Poet AnjumMalik for a celebration of South Asian culture.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Underscore: A Round-Table Discussion on Poetry and Text in Live Performance
Manchester Poetry Library | 7 June 2023

A discussion on poetry and text in live performance, Chaired by John McAuliffe, Professor of Poetry at the University of Manchester.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature “Love to Read: This Beating Heart” with Laura Barnett & Livi Michael
Manchester Poetry Library | 8 June 2023

Manchester Poetry Library welcomes novelists Laura Barnett and Livi Michael to discuss their work as part of the Love to Read series.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Re:Sound
Manchester Central Library | 8 June 2023

Creative work produced by Manchester-based community groups in response to music by artists working with the Greater Manchester Archives.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Inspired by Libraries: Kit Fan In Conversation with Andrew McMillan
Manchester Poetry Library | 9 June 2023

Join poets Kit Fan and Andrew McMillan for an intimate in conversation on the importance of libraries in their work and art.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Masterclass with Simon Armitage
Manchester Central Library | 9 June 2023

Join Simon Armitage for an inspiring one hour poetry writing masterclass to celebrate the Festival of Libraries 2023.

Part of Festival of Libraries

theatre Underscore
St Peter’s Square | 9 June 2023

Underscore is a digital experiment that disrupts the silent power structures of public space through live writing and projection of personal statements.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Inspired by Libraries with Linda Brogan
Manchester Central Library | 10 June 2023

Join in the conversation with award-winning playwright and artist Linda Brogan at Manchester Central Library.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Tasting children’s literature – An edible readathon
Manchester Central Library | 11 June 2023

A free session for young children and parents at Manchester Central Library as part of the Festival of Libraries 2023.

Part of Festival of Libraries

literature Windrush NHS Stories Launch
Manchester Poetry Library | 15 June 2023

Untold Stories celebrates the contribution of workers from diverse backgrounds, in a range of roles, to the delivery of care and to the wider NHS story.

Part of Festival of Libraries

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