#MLF20 is Manchester Literature Festival’s first digital offering, a weekend comprising 17 digital events, featuring special conversations with leading national and international authors, activists, poets and hosts.

As always, the Festival features renowned and award-winning writers alongside the literary stars of tomorrow, including poetry showcases with UK and US poets.

From collective moments of protest and resilience, such as #BlackLivesMatter and Clap for Carers, to glimpses into the homes and family lives of co-workers, our shared humanity has never been clearer. This year’s Manchester Literature Festival reflects this connection through stories that deserve to be heard, voices that call for change and powerful expressions of hope and resilience.

Authors featured in this year’s festival include:

Angela Davis in conversation with Jackie Kay                                                         

Legendary writer, campaigner and civil rights activist Angela Davis in conversation with poet and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay will discuss activism, protest, equality, social justice, the Black Lives Matter movement and her commitment to change and Radical Hope.

Tori Amos                                                                                                      

In her only UK event this Autumn, cult U.S. singer, songwriter and author Tori Amos shares her ideas on music, creativity, activism, feminism, her relationship with her muses and her new memoir, Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change and Courage with host Kate Feld.

Kae Tempest in conversation with Max Porter                                                                                                                                                                                            Poet, playwright and recording artist Kae Tempest talks about creativity, emotional connection, reflection and their first non-fiction book, On Connection, with Max Porter author of Lanny and Grief is The Thing with Feathers.                                                                                        

Maaza Mengistein in conversation with Kamila Shamsie                                                                                                     

Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, American Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste will be in conversation with MLF Patron and former Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Kamila Shamsie about her extraordinary novel, The Shadow King. They will discuss the challenge of writing historical fiction, the impact of war, the women written out of African and European history, and the Ethiopian writers and novels that have been an influence and inspiration.

Nick Hornby in conversation with Katie Popperwell                                                                                                 

Acclaimed British novelist and screenwriter in conversation with broadcaster Katie Popperwell about his timely new novel, Just Like You, and adapting State of the UnionWild and Brooklyn for the screen.

Tayari Jones and Brit Bennett                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Two of America’s most exciting and compelling Black writers discuss, Silver Sparrow and The Vanishing Half, their engaging and timely novels explore race, class, passing, identity and sisterhood. Tayari won the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her last novel, An American Marriage.

Daisy Johnson and Sophie Mackintosh, hosted by Jeanette Winterson                                                                                                                                                   Two of the UK’s most imaginative and promising young writers discuss their powerful and disturbing new novels, Sisters and Blue Ticket, with fellow author Jeanette Winterson.

Romalyn Ante, Will Harris and Nina Mingya Powles                               

Three young poets perform work from their excellent, debut full-length collections – Antiemetic for HomesicknessRendang and Magnolia – all exploring home, belonging, language, identity, culture and family with Manchester Poetry Library Director Becky Swain.

Andrés Neuman, hosted by Mariana Casale                                                                  

Acclaimed Latin American author in conversation about his new novel, Fracture, a tale of love, catastrophe, memory and identity. Andrés was one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists and one of the original Bogotá 39.

Jericho Brown, Rachel Long, Raymond Antrobus and Safiya Sinclair                                                                                                                                                         MLF Patron and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay hosts this Picador showcase featuring four prominent Black poets. Jamaican poet Safiya Sinclair and British poet Rachel Long read from their brilliant debuts, Cannibal and My Darling from the Lions. Raymond reads new work alongside poems from his debut collection, The Perseverance and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Jericho reads from his collection, The Tradition.

Najwan Darwish, Atef Alshaer and Paul Batchelor                                                                                                                                                                                  Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish, UK poet Paul Batchelor and bridge translator Atef Alshaer read poems in Arabic and English from their dual language collection, Embrace, and discuss the translation process with Martin Kratz.

Slay in Your Lane present Loud Black Girls, featuring Yomi Adegoke, Elizabeth Uviebinené, performance artist Selina Thompson and singer songwriter Nao                                 

Two years after their first Slay in Your Lane anthology, editors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené return to the Festival to discuss their new anthology, Loud Black Girls, and their commitment to platforming and amplifying the voices of Black women. They will be joined by contributors from the anthology including singer Nao.

New Daughters of Africa, featuring Margaret Busby with Tjawanga Dema, Eve L. Ewing, Bridget Minamore, Aja Monet and Lola Shoneyin                                                                                      

Marking the paperback of her ground-breaking anthology featuring 200 women writers from the African diaspora, editor Margaret Busby discusses the book and the original Daughters of Africa published two decades ago. The event will also feature powerful readings from British, Nigerian and U.S. poets.


Cabaret for Freedom:  A Celebration of the Life and Work of Nina Simone

A special showcase of poetry and music celebrating the life and work of cultural icon Nina Simone, featuring Akilah Akinola, Ellouise Bridge, Malika Booker, Zena Edwards, Shirley May, Ugochi Nwaogwugwu and Young Identity. 

As always there are events for families to enjoy together – Mischief and Mystery in Moominvalley and Don’t Worry Little Crab story-telling with puppets!

MLF will also be presenting two partnership projects:

Your Local Arena presents: The Ballad of Ewan MacColl                                                                                                                                                                           From Wednesday 21 – Sunday 25 October, the Festival website will screen the BBC Arena documentary about the Salford singer, songwriter, playwright and working-class activist Ewan Maccoll. Poets and artists, Ella Otomewo, Cheryl Martin, Louise Wallwein, Stuart Maconie, Jennifer Reid, Peggy Seeger and Tony ‘Longfella’ Walsh will respond to the documentary through a series of new commissions, conversations and an online workshop.

The Poetry Exchange                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Festival followers will get a chance to book a digital session where they can discuss ‘A poem that’s been a friend to them’ with two members of the Poetry Exchange team.

Manchester Literature Festival will operate a ‘pay what you can’ pricing scheme with a number of options of how to support its work and future. Tickets will be available to book via the MLF website from 30 September 2020.

For the full programme, dates, times and how to book visit https://www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk


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