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Review: The Manchester Anthology VI

On the 6th September, the 2017/18 MA Creative Writing class launched The Manchester Anthology VI at HOME. At the event, the writers read small sections of their work, showcasing a wide range of styles, forms and subject matter. Each piece seemed to be completely unique but hearing them read aloud together, it was clear there was something equally intriguing across all the work.

The anthology contains poems, short stories and extracts from novels. From the freezing waters of Antartica to post-revolutionary Iran, reading the anthology doesn’t just feel like reading the work of one class, but reading work from around the world.

While much the work is personal and at some points seemingly autobiographical, a lot of the stories and poems deal with political issues. For example, Thomas Lee’s The Matter of Britain takes readers into “an exaggerated post-Brexit dystopia”; it’s fun to read, but scary to think about. While Lee’s work takes us into the future, stories like Windmills by J.C.Wilson, take us into the past. Windmills is an extract from “a novel of several interconnected lives impacted by the Yugoslav Wars”, and as is the case with much of the work in the anthology, I look forward to reading more of it.

The poetry in the anthology is just as diverse in style as the prose. Joe Carrick-Varty, a winner of the 2017/18 New Poets Prize, writes simple but affecting poems. In Swing Set, he manages to capture something significant in a small moment, which I think is the mark of a poet worth reading. Roma Havers’ poems are similarly intimate but experiment further with form, pushing the language of the everyday in fun and unexpected ways.

Sadly I can only provide a snapshot of the work in the collection — there are 26 writers in total — but I hope it is clear that the range of voices and perspectives throughout The Manchester Anthology VI provides something for everyone. Whether you like poetry of fiction, crime or sci-fi, realism or surrealism, there’ll be more than a few new writers of interest here. It will be interesting to see which of these writers go on to publish books and whether parts of these stories and poems will make their way into their future work. As Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire, writes in her introduction to the anthology: “so much is achieved and — even more excitingly — so much more is promised.” So keep an eye out for what these writers do next, but for now, you can read the full anthology for free at

Tags: book review, Creative Writing MA, home mcr, Kamila Shamsie, poetry, short stories, The Centre of New Writing, The Manchester Anthology

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