Monday, 10 October 2011

Preview: Manchester Literature Festival 2011

Oh dear, the onset of the dreaded Autumnal gloom is now well and truly here and the inches of rainfall from the now ever grey skies are increasing as the nights grow colder. Exactly the kind of weather where people decide that going out is just a bit too much effort. “I might just stay in and read a good book...” Yes I’ve been there; we’ve all been there, but for the next two weeks why not pack your books along with your umbrella and defiantly head out into the sodden streets? Today (10th October) marks the start of the annual Manchester Literature Festival, held across the city with plenty of interesting events to shelter you from the rain.

Saturday 22nd at Whitworth Art Gallery, for example, sees the world’s first purpose built mobile poetry emporium – or so they claim. The idea of which is to serve up eager poetry consumers with free, made-to-order poems in 10 minutes or less courtesy of their ‘poetry chefs’. Surely healthier than any burger van.

A particularly intriguing prospect is the audience with Anthony Horowitz (Thursday 3rd November) who will be discussing his modern take on Sherlock Holmes, a character loved by millions across the world. Horowitz is the first modern author to be officially commissioned by the estate of the original author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Has Horowitz continued the Holmes legacy staying true to his famously logical deductions to solve crimes in foggy 19th century London or has he updated and bastardised the character for a Hollywood generation?

Some of us are more interested in bright and shiny playthings rather than dusty old tomes. A need to be aware of everything and anything happening before it actually happens has led to a growing fascination with blogging culture. Everyone these days has a blog but only a handful of people do it well, to see who is champion of this minority head to The Deaf Institute for the Manchester Blog Awards (Wednesday 19th).

If the idea of this festival of literary delights has whetted your appetite don’t let the rain dampen your spirits – get out there! Chances are you’ll find a celebration of our greatest art form more entertaining and worthwhile than sitting around waiting to dull your brain with next week’s X-Factor tripe.

Words: Ben Robinson
Images: Logos from Manchester Literature Festival & Manchester Blog Awards

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