4 exciting local literature festivals in the North West

Liverpool University The Liverpool Literary Festival. An audience with Colm Toibin at St. Georges Ha

Liverpool University The Liverpool Literary Festival. An audience with Colm Toibin at St. Georges Hall - Credit: Archant

In a world where social media is increasingly a major focus, the simple pleasure of reading books and discussing them with others can seem rather lost. These local literature festivals, however, are making sure we will remain in love with the written word…

Manchester Literature Festival

When: October 6th- 21st

Entering its 13th year, the Manchester Literature festival has expanded to include 75 events across various locations in the city. To mark the centenary year of women’s suffrage in the UK, the festival takes pride in celebrating pioneering women. This year’s festival celebrates women’s words, experiences and their stories ranging from a re-imagined perspective of the Trojan War, to a young woman being recruited by the secret service, to modern women discussing mental health and an examination of living as an ethnic minority.

Booker Prize-winning author Pat Barker reimagines one of the most famous conflicts, The Trojan War, from the perspective of a woman and the journey she embarks on, as she struggles to become the author of her own story.

From one war to another, we follow Kate Atkinson’s lead protagonist as she is pulled into the world of espionage and the actions of her past collide with her present self; a powerful novel full of wit and empathy to discuss over afternoon tea in the historic Midland hotel.

Touching on non-fiction works, Woman’s Hour presenter Dame Jenni Murray will share her book on History of the World in 21 Women; comedian Susan Calman will talk about embracing kindness and joy. Jo Brand will discuss her thoughts on feminism and power in her new book, Born Lippy: How to do female.

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Manchester Literature Festival has commissioned new voices for this year. The events, across a wide range of venues, highlight the city’s impressive cultural history as well as the spoken word. Locations include sites of architectural splendour like Manchester Central Library, The Whitworth Art Gallery and Dancehouse.

For full details and ticket information visit: www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk

Knutsford Literature Festival

When: October 10th- 14th

With Knutsford Literature Festival reaching the grand age of 19, this year brings a slew of exciting speakers. With the centenary anniversary of the Suffragette movement, already provoking discussions and events throughout the year, it will of course be a strong theme at the festival.

Expect extraordinary authors such as Tessa Boase who will discuss her novel ‘Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather’, described as ground-breaking. It brings to light cruelty to animals and also highlights the power of Edwardian fashion. With a step back in time, you can reminisce about local areas such as Didsbury where many of the first Royal Society for the Protection of Birds meetings were held.

Another exciting feature will be the tale of Agatha Christie and her sleuthing, by Andrew Wilson. (Christie was no stranger to Cheshire - she visited the Cheadle area often.) It’s a gripping story, which includes mystery, death, and offers a look at the vulnerable side to Christie’s life. It should keep readers hooked.

From fiction, we turn to the historic narrative of the Romanovs, Russia’s imperial family who perished in 1918. Here Helen Rappaport uncovers conspiracies, betrayals and family rivalries. Turning to Britain’s history, Clatterbridge-born writer Julie Summers discusses the upheaval many endured when hundreds of country houses were requisitioned to provide accommodation for armed forces. With the juxtaposition of opulence and ordinary people, Julie, author of Jambusters, captures an important time in the social history of Britain.

Labour politician and former Home Secretary Alan Johnson will discuss his memoir and how music has been an integral part of his life. His words will take you into a world of Dansettes and jukeboxes, an exciting trip back in time.

Knutsford Literature Festival is on at various venues around the town. Early booking is advised. For full details and tickets visit:


Liverpool Literary Festival

When: October 19th-21st

Expect a weekend full of debates, readings and discussions in some of Liverpool’s most beautiful venues that showcase the dynamic culture of this vibrant and cosmopolitan city.

You can enjoy workshop events such as ‘How to be your own Archers scriptwriter’ with Mary Cutler where individuals can create mini storylines, and ‘how to hook your listener’ with Sara Davies who will be teaching the basic elements of radio drama.

Embracing the new voices of literature, Liverpool is giving voice to three exciting figures from a new generation of writers, Sally Roonery, Lisa McInerney and Anthony Joseph, who have all enjoyed critical success.

Guests can also take a walk on the dark side with crime writer Val McDermid at her lecture, ‘Killing People for Fun and Profit.’ The bestselling author will be discussing her work, the inspirations behind her novels and the fatal attraction that readers have to crime fiction. Who doesn’t love to sink their teeth into a gripping mystery or thriller?

From fiction to Time Team and Blackadder, a date with Tony Robinson should prove to be an interesting event. The popular actor and presenter will discuss his life and work and his fascination with British history.

Visit www.liverpool.ac.uk/literary-festival/ for timings and full details.

Chester Literature Festival

When: November 10th-December 1st

Chester’s award-winning Storyhouse, one of the country’s most successful cultural buildings, is the setting for the festival of words and ideas next month. Spend an evening at a tantalising prelude to the festival with the best-selling author Jodi Picoult who has written over 20 highly acclaimed novels that tackle issues and subjects many would shy away from. Exploring racial injustice, how damaging family expectations can be, and in her latest novel, the complicated issue of the rights of pregnant women, she always aims to create discussion and understanding.

For the foodies out there, An Evening with Nigella is a must. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of her first book as Nigella talks about her life in food, and get to the heart of what it means to be an all-round food enthusiast and an award-winning author.

Ahead of the festival, on October 14th, there is the chance to enjoy some time with TV presenters Stacey Dooley and Sir Michael Parkinson. His remarkable journey from a small town in Yorkshire to the very top of the broadcasting industry is well-known. His talk show style led to him presenting a show that defined many people’s Saturday night.

With literary discussions involving novelists, bloggers and playwrights and some performances by up and coming musicians, Chester Literature Festival should not be missed.

For more information about the Chester Literature Festival visit www.storyhouse.com/literature