Wow, what a hectic couple of weeks it's been in literary Manchester. I've been working on the Manchester Literature Festival doing digital marketing and helping/blogging at various events; visiting the Book Barge in Castlefield; writing and distributing stories as part of my new Site Specific Stories project; pitching for an artist in residency slot with an in situ site-specific short story-writing idea; reading on stage at the Manchester Blog Awards; getting slagged off by someone for being part of the so-called "Manchester literati"; going on loads of literature-based and psychogeographical tours of this great city, and generally running about the place trying to down as many glasses of wine as is humanly possible (drinking wine is a prerequisite of being "literary", right?).
I would say it, but the Manchester Literature Festival has been ace, and it's a shame that it comes to its official close tomorrow (though there are a couple of "bookend" events in early November). Highlights for me have been the European Short Stories event, which was great from a linguist's point of view: stories read by the authors in their native languages (Dutch and Norwegian) while the English translation was shown on screen. Despite having not a word of Norwegian, it was really intriguing to see how you can actually follow it in translation. I also really enjoyed Patricia Duncker's specially commissioned short story in the grand surrounds of the Midland Hotel, plus a nice brew and a scone (note to self: start hanging out here). And PD - what a charming and enthusiastic lady, and such a talented way with words! Other short story joy was had at the glittering Manchester Fiction Prize and the Manchester Blog Awards, and there will be more this week at Bad Language, where I'll be performing a new number, and the Bolton Octagon, where David Gaffney will be reading as part of the Live Literature season, which I'm at next month, likely a quivering wreck.
But I've also been getting a bit of a poetry fix, and today swung by the Whitworth, where the Poetry Takeaway van had pulled up (pictured). "The world's first mobile poetry emporium" was great fun - you divulge some secrets to one of the three poets therein (including someone from the well-renowned Bang Said The Gun) and they spend no more than 10 minutes rustling up a piece based on your witterings then perform it for you and provide you with a copy, wrapped in a kind of takeaway packet. My poem, Multi-task, was scribed for me by none other than exuberant "local" lad Dominic Berry, who I know from Bad Language; I can't believe what a genius creation he came up with - complete with the word "ladyparts", which I just knew I shouldn't have told him about, but which fits in well. It's brilliant and he's going to post it up on his blog soon, so watch his space.