It’s always a highlight in the local cultural calendar, so we’re certainly thankfully the Chorlton Book Festival is still going ahead this year – albeit in an online-only form. Events start this Saturday – and you don’t even need to find your way to that well-to-do suburb – as they’re all digital. A host of published writers will be taking part in online Q+A’s and appearing in specially commissioned videos. There’s also photography and performance poetry, too. Some events require booking but they will all be free to watch on Facebook Live or Live Webinar. Below you’ll find our picks of five events you can’t miss…

How to Survive Lockdown with the Wisdom of Literature | Sat 19 Sep | 8pm

Comedian Daliso Chaponda, who you may know from Britain’s Got Talent, had a tough quarantine. Living alone, he went months without human contact. To help him through, he read books about people in isolation (Robinson Crusoe, The Count of Monte Cristo), and others about pandemics (The Andromeda Strain, Love in the Time of Cholera) and now, with tongue firmly in cheek, he presents his discoveries about how to cope with hardships. Spoiler: Befriend a cannibal.

Okechukwu Nzelu: Author of The Private Joys of Nnenna Malony | Sun 20 Sep | 6.30pm

Manchester-born and Cambridge-educated, Okechukwu Nzelu is an author and teacher. In 2015, he was the recipient of a New Writing North Award and his debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, was published earlier this year. A humorous and heart-warming story, it’s a meditation on race, sexuality and belonging. Fans of Zadie Smith and Candice Carty-Williams are sure to enjoy it. The book won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for a number of others.

Northern Noir: Crime Writers Panel | Tue 22 Sep | 7pm

This webinar features four writers discussing what makes Manchester and the North ideal settings for murder mysteries. A police officer turned author, Paul Finch is the creator of the Mark Heckenburg book series. Acquainted with people’s darker natures, former divorce lawyer Caroline England is now a best-selling thriller writer. Cath Staincliffe is a novelist and creator of the ITV series Blue Murder. Chris Simms takes inspiration from the city’s underbelly for his hard-hitting novels featuring DI Jon Spicer. Expect to explore the dark corners of writing true crime…

Ruth Estevez: Author of Jiddy Vardy and Erosion | Wed 23 Sep | 5pm

Ruth is based in the festival’s Chorlton stomping ground and when she’s not writing, she works at The Portico Library. Set mainly in her native Yorkshire, her books deal with identity, belonging and people living on the edge. Jiddy Vardy is a historical love story against a backdrop of wild seas and smuggling. Her latest novel, Erosion, takes place during the lead up to Bonfire Night, and appropriately enough, it’ll be released on November 4 2020.

Henry Normal: Writer, Poet, TV and Film Producer | Wed 23 Sep | 8pm

A BAFTA award winner for his services to television, Henry Normal was a co-writer on The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family. With Steve Coogan, he co-founded Baby Cow Productions, which went on to make many hit comedies, including Gavin & Stacey and The Mighty Boosh. He presented a show on Radio 4 featuring poetry, comedy and stories about raising his autistic son. He has a new poetry collection titled The Beauty Within Shadow and during this live streamed event, you can expect to hear more about his extensive body of work.

Sat 19 Sep - Fri 25 Sep
A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Thu 17 Sep 2020