Manchester really is a hotbed of literary musings at the moment, so I thought I'd do a quick round-up of what I have gleaned lately on the zine/chapbook/workshop front. This is by no means comprehensive, just a little wee listy I've been keeping for the very purpose of sharing it with you good people, whether you want to try and get in print yourselves or just fancy something to read on the bus. If you are privy to any other groups and publications encouraging the advancement of putting pen to paper, do let me know and I can do an update in weeks to come.
First off, The Knives Forks And Spoons Press (sans punctuation, which I'll allow as I can only assume that they're being ironic or referencing iambic pentameters or some such) are tomorrow gathering at the Crescent pub in Salford from 7pm for a book launch and readings by the likes of Matt Dalby and Alec Newman. Recent imprints include Michael Blackburn's Big On The Hawkesbury, Ryan Ormonde's Y Chromosomes and my blogging pal Adrian Slatcher's Extracts From Levona. You can also follow the poetry publishers on Facebook, which makes them quite modern.
Adrian Slatcher also pops up as the current contributor to the fabulous Rainy City Stories, which, via the magic of Google Maps, sticks a virtual pin in a place and links to a poem or story set there. Adrian's work is called The Ikea In Ashton Can Be Seen From Space; I have a piece on there called Hawthorn Lane. Rainy City Stories is affiliated with the annual Manchester Literature Festival and, as the brainchild of local social media maestro Kate "Manchizzle" Feld, not surprisingly it will keep you up to date with new postings via Facebook and Twitter (@rainycity).
Very timely for this Manchester literature compilation is the appearance last week of issue 8 - a public transport special - of lit zine The Shrieking Violet. As well as publishing a paper version (which you can pick up in Good Grief! - worth a trip anyway for all your comic and graphic needs - plus Cornerhouse, Nexus Art Cafe, Piccadilly Records, Oklahoma and the Craft & Design Centre), the Violets can be found beavering away at their blog and on Facebook.
If you fancy practising your black arts as part of a group, writing, reading and chatting about your work, Bad Language are a friendly-sounding bunch organised by Dan Carpenter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and meeting the third Tuesday of the month at Nexus Art Cafe on Dale Street. While you wait for the flash new website to get properly up and running, keep up to speed with what's going on via the blog or Twitter (@BadLanguageMcr). Submissions for their first anthology closed last week, so expect a fab new pamphlet (with the Northern Quarter as its theme) soon; but for future reference email prose of 200 words max and poems of 40 lines max to email@example.com
Another imminent publication is the new Puppywolf collection of "the best of the Manchester poetry scene", which is due out in June. Keep up to date with various spoken word events around town via their website diary and Facebook page.
Quarterly poetry and prose publication Bewilderbliss (available in Cornerhouse and Blackwells on Oxford Road) is currently accepting submissions on the theme of revolution for issue 4. The deadline for stories of up to 2,500 words or up to three poems is 21 May - email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@Bewilderbliss).
The Blank Media Collective (whose Neck Of The Woods show just finished at Nexus) produce a monthly online magazine called blankpages and are looking for contributors. Stories should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words, flash fiction or short shorts 100-500 words and poems 60 lines or less - check out the website for full submission guidelines and uploading possibilities or email email@example.com, addressing it to either Phil Craggs, Fiction Editor, or Baiba Auria, Poetry Editor. They're also on Facebook and Twitter (@BlankMedia).
Their blog hasn't been updated for a while, but I hear that Unsung are still squirrelling away at their free Manchester-based monthly literature magazine that promotes "unsung, underrated, underground, unheard voices... prose, poetry, essays, pretty much anything", so email them via firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch through their Facebook page to see what's going down.
More lit zines desirous of readers and writers in the rainy city are Geeek (also on Facebook and Twitter @geeekmagazine), Transmission and Belle Vue. This latter has no online presence at all from what I can tell, but there were copies on sale in Cornerhouse bookshop when I popped in last week. I hear it's also available in Piccadilly Records and The Britons Protection.
Britons has also been known to hold Succour Salons, a reading event by the journal of new fiction, poetry and art. According to their website, Succour has been described by Time Out as “a Granta for the Facebook generation”. Lucky they're also on Facebook, then. Issue 11, the Spring/Summer 2010 edition will be available to buy at Cornerhouse next month for the princely sum of £5.95 or thereabouts, and will be entitled February 6th, 2010 as all content was created on that day. As you may have guessed, the deadline for that particular issue has been and gone, but email Max Dunbar, the Regional Editor Manchester, with your begging letters in future: email@example.com.
Not really Manchester based, but run by a group of individuals scattered up and down this island nation, Open Wide Magazine is currently seeking submissions of fiction, poetry and also reviews for issue 23 - the deadline is 1 June, so email firstname.lastname@example.org or lay in a search for Open Wide Magazine on Facebook.
Last but not least is The Manchester Review, which publishes new and unpublished fiction, although their inclusions do seem to be signed writers largely linked to the Centre For New Writing at Manchester Uni (where the team is based), and have in past issues included the likes of Martin Amis, MJ Hyland, Chris Killen, Jenn Ashworth and Nicholas Royle. Still, if you think you're in with a chance, the next issue is out in October so email email@example.com pronto. If, like me, you'd prefer to just sit quietly and watch, follow the account @mancreview on Twitter.