Manchester’s not exactly low on the culture front these days, but Manchester Literature Festival adds to the path slightly less trodden by injecting a healthy dose of literary goodness to the sprawling metropolis. True to form, this year looks set to be an impressive one, with the fourth Manchester Sermon delivered by Lionel Shriver, talks on Sylvia Plath and graphic novels and a walking tour of Isabella Banks’ Manchester Man mere niblets of what to expect. There’s a lot going on, but our highlights include:

Helen Fielding – Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
One of literature’s most loved heroines Bridget Jones is back. Oh, how we’ve missed her. To mark Bridget’s return to our lives with the release of the third installment, author Helen Fielding will be discussing what’s been going on with our favourite potty-mouthed, Chardonnay-glugging character. Believe it or not, it’s been 14 years since Edge of Reason, so this one is absolutely not to be missed.
Sun 13 Oct, Royal Exchange, St Anns Square, M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833, 3pm, £8/£6,

Lemn Sissay – I Have a Dream (pictured)
You may recognise this name from the alliterative walls of Hardy’s Well in Rusholme, but Sissay’s work has done a lot more than adorn the exterior of a Manchester pub. Having written his first poetry book at the age of 21, Sissay’s career has also won him an MBE and title as official poet of the London 2012 Olympics. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Sissay has been commissioned by MLF and the Manchester Camerata to respond with a poetic vision of our times.
Sat 19 Oct, Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, M2 3WS, 7.30pm, £10/£6 concessions,

The Great Gatsby Uncovered
One of history’s greatest novels has enjoyed a bit of a revamp thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s recent adaptation. Sure, the film will never live up to its literary origins, but it has opened up Fitzgerald’s iconic work to an entire new generation, all of whom have joined the throngs of existing Gatsby fans. Sarah Churchwell, author and Professor of American Literature at the University of East Anglia, will read and discuss the groundbreaking novel, and jazz band Alligator Gumbo will perform live music straight from the roaring 20s.
Fri 11 Oct, Matt and Phreds Jazz Club, 64 Tib Street, M4 1LW, Tel: 0843 208 0500, 8pm, £10/£8 concessions,

MLF runs from Mon 7 until Sun 20 Oct – read more at

Mon 7 Oct - Sun 20 Oct
Jess Hardiman
Published on:
Sun 13 Oct 2013