Literature in Manchester
A UNESCO City of Literature, Manchester has a rich and thriving literary tradition.
Our students can take their inspiration from one of the best university libraries in the country, as well as the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama and the special collections at the John Rylands Library, which include Shakespeare folios and a Guttenberg Bible.
Away from campus, the city of Manchester is home to an excellent network of public libraries, as well as a wealth of literary and arts institutions, venues and attractions such as the Portico Library, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Elizabeth Gaskell's House, HOME and Chetham's Library.
You will also find independent publishers such as Comma Press, Carcanet Press, Cillian Press and Saraband in Manchester, along with bookshops such as Blackwell's (which is located on campus), Waterstones, Chorlton Bookshop and Chapter 1 Books.
Manchester Literature Festival holds events featuring an array of authors each year, while other literary events also take place around Manchester throughout the year, including talks and spoken word events.
Below you'll find a wealth of places, people, publishers, traditions and resources that are helpful to know about if you write, research or just love books.
Each autumn, the biggest and newest names in writing give readings, talks, tours and workshops across various Manchester venues.
Bad Language is a twice Saboteur Award-winning spoken word night based in the Northern Quarter dedicated to live poetry and fiction.
Still in its original 1806 building, the Portico Library and Gallery celebrates both the historic and contemporary culture of Manchester, welcoming the public, researchers and members to its unique 19th century book collection and 21st century literary, scientific, educational and artistic events and exhibitions.
International Anthony Burgess International Foundation
Established in 2003 by Liana Burgess (1929-2007), and directed by Dr Alan Roughley between 2003 and 2010, the Burgess Foundation is an entirely independent charity that welcomes all individuals and institutions interested in Burgess’s work.
Elizabeth Gaskell's House
This museum devoted to the work of the woman whose novels brought Manchester and its crushing poverty to life houses the Gaskell library.
One of the most influential small theatres in Britain, since 1999 focusing on theatrical and multidisciplinary work for young audiences. Part of the University complex.
Chetham's Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. It is a national treasure, preserving books dating back to the 17th century. It is technically free of charge to use, but a donation is suggested.
The Royal Exchange Theatre
Plays staged in a framework structure in the middle of the old Cotton Exchange, which is worth a visit in itself.
A great bookshop, fine art exhibitions and every interesting new movie release. HOME houses five cinemas, two theatres and a large gallery space. A merger of former organisations Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company, HOME was officially opened to the public by patron Danny Boyle in May 2015.
Publishers, prizes and collectives
Not just a Manchester institution, this publishing company is a national resource for the publication of poetry, and texts about poetry.
Comma Press is a not-for-profit publishing initiative dedicated to promoting and developing new writing (within and beyond formal educational settings), with an emphasis on short narrative forms.
Commonword is a writing development organisation based in Manchester, providing opportunities for new and aspiring writers to develop their talent and potential.
Here be Dragons ... and novels, anthologies and conference papers - any thing to do with the gothic, the fantastic or the subliminally uncanny. This local publisher enlivens Manchester life with conferences on Alice, Oz, and soon to come true crime and 1980s film. They also publish Manchester Alumni Beth Daley's latest novel.
A Salford-based creative independent publisher providing a platform for emerging authors and underrepresented voices.