Preview: Manchester Literature Festival 2019

I’m a huge fan of the Manchester Literature Festival, it’s been going since 2006, but I must admit it’s only in the last 4 years that it’s come into my consciousness.

What I love about this festival is the diverse voices they showcase, from well established writers to new commissions, international authors, there’s also lots of variety in the types of events with literary-themed afternoon teas, walking tours and fun family reading events.

I’ve signed up to volunteer at this year’s festival and I can’t wait! Here are some of the events I’m looking forward to the most from this year’s programme!

It’s Not About the Burqa

Sunday 20th October, 4.30pm – 5.45pm at Manchester Central Library

An anthology written by Muslim women, borne out of the frustration felt by editor Mariam Khan that we were being reduced to single-dimensional characters in the media with the same old stereotypical narratives.

So Mariam invited a group of awesome Muslim women to tell their stories, because we all have different desires, dreams and hopes. The battles that we’re facing in this world and the lives that we’re living aren’t what you see in the mainstream media – the 17 essays in this book talk about faith, hijab and modesty, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country.

Confession – I’ve not got my copy of this book yet, but from even just from reading the book blurb I can identify with it so much.

At this event, four contributors to It’s Not About The Burqa will be sharing excerpts from their stories and there will be a discussion and Q+A session, plus the opportunity to get your book signed!

More info on the event here and you can buy the book here*


Inua Ellams – Tusk

Friday 15th November 7.00pm – 8.15pm at Manchester Museum

I’m absolutely devastated that I can’t attend this event  – it’s taking place outside of the main festival and I’m out of Manchester on that day 🙁

I first saw Inua Ellams speak at the 2016 Manchester Literature Festival where he shared his essay from The Good Immigrant*, he signed my book afterwards, and I’ve been following his work ever since (if you get a chance I’d highly recommend his theatre show Barbershop Chronicles)!

For this year’s literature festival, he’s working on a new commission with Manchester Museum, writing new verses in response to an artefact taken from Benin and now in Manchester Museum’s collection.

Find out more about this event here.


Caroline Criado Perez – Invisible Women

Sunday 6th October 4.30pm – 5.45pm at Manchester Central Library.

Writer and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez will be in conversation with Alex Clark talking about her bestselling book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men*.

This one is definitely on my reading list – I’ve read the odd article here and there about how standard practices in medicine and safety standards are doing women a huge disservice because of inherent gender biases so I think it’s great that there’s now to a solid resource on this.

Find out more about the event here.


Hafsah Aneela Bashir & Isaiah Hull – Rewriting Longsight

Friday 11th October, 6.30pm – 7.45pm at Longsight Library

Another new commission, this event features two local poets – both of which I’ve seen perform before and trust me when I say they’re awesome!

For this event, they’ll be shining a light on the area of Longsight. Their new work is a response to conversations with local people, and research into the area’s history and changing demographics.

I know Longsight pretty well, from visits as a tween to Longsight Market with my mum, to my University days travelling into the city centre from Stockport on the 192 bus, and in more recent years going there for desi breakfast at Nafees and birthday parties at Sanam’s! So I’m really excited to see this performance!

Find out more about this event here.


The above is just a tiny selection of what’s on during this year’s Manchester Literature Festival, check out the MLF19 website or pick up an event brochure from your local library.

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