With Manchester Literary Festival still just a dot on the horizon (or we’d like to think so anyway, given it is in October and we’d like at least a little bit of summer before then), their preview shows offer a chance to drink in the culture before the main event itself. The latest, hosted in the lavish surrounds of The Portico Library, offer a two day discussion on the art of letter writing, as well as discussion on how and why it has fallen out of favour as the preferred medium of long distance communication so quickly.

Day one busies itself with 19th century letters – their form, their function, and keynote speaker Dr. Suzanne Fagence Cooper, (author of ‘Model Wife: the Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, Ruskin and Millais’), addressing the subject ‘Written Out: Women’s letters and the Victorian Art World’.

Day two drags things towards the modern day, with Emma Harper of the Postal Heritage Museum examining the development of letters through the 20th and 21st century, before moving on to the use of letters in literature and the difficulty of mastering the art of good correspondence. A little dry for some, but certainly a riveting subject for many.

Fri 28 Jun – Sat 29 Jun , The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HY, Various times, £70 for both days (£35 for Friday alone, £40 for Saturday), email librarian@theportico.org.uk for tickets, http://www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk/

Fri 28 Jun - Sat 29 Jun
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Thu 13 Jun 2013