It's literature events a-go-go at this year's biggest bestest Chorlton Arts Festival, which starts today.
Top of the bill, because I helped organise it, is the Flash Mob Literary Salon, which is the culmination of our amazingly acetastic flash fiction writing competition. It's on Thursday 26 May at 7.30pm in the newly done-up Dulcimer. There will be readings by the 12 shortlisted writers and the five judges (that's a lovely pic of us by the inimitable Gill Moore Photography, dontcha think?), a guest slot from microfictionmeister Nik Perring, fabulous fun and surreal shenanigans, and a glittering gong-giving ceremony. There will be a stage and projections and lights and, if I get pissed enough, dancing girls (I'm kidding). It's going to be broadcast live on Chorlton FM (on air 87.7 FM across South Manchester and online), so even if you can't come down in person, you have no excuse not to still take part.
Next might I flag up my new girlfriends For Books' Sake, who are presenting a free "evening of live music and spoken word" called Books & Blues. There will be "storytelling, spoken word and musical treats", and Jane and Alex, who run the show, are great, so you should totally check them out on Friday 20 May, 7.30pm, at Chorlton Irish Club (please note venue change). Promised is a book swap and "surprises", and, as if that weren't enough, they're only going and having a bloody raffle.
In competition tomorrow are local scribe copland smith and his Manky Poets in Chorlton Library (£2), but you can catch them again on Sunday 22 May at 8pm in The Beech (free) and with their merry band of musician friends on Wednesday 25 May at 8pm in The Spread Eagle (free). If the music and poetry mix floats your boat, there's also a Means To An End on Monday 23 May at 7.30pm in The Lloyds, and Word Musicians same time same place on Thursday 26 May. At The Lloyds on Tuesday 24 May, 7.30pm, is Joe Blue with a collection of monologues and stories.
Both weekends in the Festival calendar host creative writing workshops; both poetry, both wimmin. First (Saturday 21 May) sees Bad Language regular Anna Percy and her Stirred Poetry sidekick Rebecca Audra Smith host a workshop (2-5pm) and open mic evening (7.30pm) at St Ninian's (£3 for both events; £2 for one). Second (Sunday 29 May) sees Paper Planes and Manky Poets regular Sarah L Dixon from 10am in the Library Meeting Room (she usually runs workshops on the first Sunday on the month 1-3pm, £2; for reference, the next is Sunday 5 June; call 07743 685221 or 0161 881 3179 to book).
Last but not least, is a reading by two Salt writers, on Monday 30 May, 7.30pm, in the Library (free). Local novelist Robert Graham will read from his new Salt Modern Voices chapbook, A Man Walks Into A Kitchen, while short story writer Heather Leach will read So Much Time In A Life, from The Best British Short Stories 2011 anthology edited by Nick Royle.