The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Editors’ Picks: The Manchester Literature Festival

From 7th October to 20th October, celebrated authors will be descending on venues across Manchester. Books Editors Esmé Clifford Astbury and Annie Muir reveal their top picks

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With seven years of enviable line-ups under its belt, the Manchester Literature Festival promises to delight.

“Once again,” says Cathy Bolton, Director of the Manchester Literature Festival, “we are making Manchester the destination of choice for literature lovers this October; launching some of the hottest new books of the autumn season, and presenting an exciting series of bespoke commissions, talks and walking tours celebrating some of the city’s rich literary heritage and inquiring spirit.”

On 11th October, the author and American scholar Sarah Churchill explores the time, place, music and people that inspired and shaped F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novel, The Great Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby Uncovered’. She is joined at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club by jazz troupe Alligator Gumbo who will provide the sounds of the roaring ‘20s.

On 13th October, Roddy Doyle will be talking about his new novel The Guts at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Doyle is perhaps best known for The Barrytown Trilogy, a series of novels centred around the Rabbitte family. Fans will be pleased to hear that Jimmy Rabbitte will be making a comeback.

Another well-loved character is set to return this year: Bridget Jones. Comic novelist and screenwriter Helen Fielding will also be at the Royal Exchange Theatre on 13th October, launching her latest addition to the Bridget Jones series, Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy, and filling fans in on what their favourite singleton (not so single anymore?) has been up to.

‘I am, I am, I am: Reflections on Sylvia Plath’ on 13th October marks the 50th anniversary of the Bell Jar and her posthumous collection of poems, Ariel. Two contemporary authors, Jackie Kay and Ali Smith, consider the infamous poet’s legacy, as well as the ways in which she has influenced their own work and lives.

Jeanette Winterson discusses myths, wonder, storytelling and the imagination with Audrey Niffenegger on 13th October. Winterson is the author of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing. Niffenegger has written three graphic novels: The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress and The Night Bookmobile. She is perhaps best known for the international bestseller The Time Traveller’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry.

Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Camerata have organised a special programme marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Lemn Sissay has been commissioned to respond to the speech and create his own ‘poetic vision for our times’. Join him and witness something special at the Manchester Town Hall on 19th October.