After a COVID-safe digital outing in 2020, Manchester Literature Festival returns to the real world in 2021 from October 9-17 – bringing with it a batch of headline events from literary giants and musical legends.

It’s hard to avoid the overwhelming sense of “at last” about the names now announced. Fourteen years after we lost Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, Paul Morley has written the biography Wilson personally charged him to write. There’s a return from Booker prize winner Bernardine Evaristo – the first black woman to ever win the competition, for her truly remarkable tapestry of stories Girl, Woman, Other – who’ll talk about her personal revolutionary story (strap in – it’s astonishing). And music fans will also be delighted to see Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie on the bill, having penned the frontline autobiography that everyone’s been restlessly anticipating for 30 years, Tenement Kid – which lands on the shelves just a few days before Bobby comes to Manchester.

Adelle Stripe hosts a lively discussion with Bob Stanley and Tessa Norton about Excavate! – their new title about “the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall” – while Anita Sethi take ‘a journey along the backbone of Britain’ with her book ‘I belong here’.

Now that the festival has revealed its final line-up, we know that many festival favourites are returning to the city, such as Alan Johnson with his debut novel and journalist Anita Sethi with her first book. Elif Shafak and Colm Tóibín will discuss their latest novels while Lemn Sissay will be in conversation with Rachel Holmes about her biography of the natural born rebel, Sylvia Pankhurst.

A digital festival is also planned for November 2021 with more details here.

Sat 9 Oct - Sun 17 Oct, Various venues across Manchester
Sarah Walters
Published on:
Sun 3 Oct 2021