Celebrate writing at Manchester Literature Festival

The-Royal-Exchange-Manchester-cr-Judy-Darley

This year’s Manchester Literature Festival promises a programme of buzzing, thought-provoking events celebrating writing in all its forms from 7th-23rd October.

Curated by Manchester Literature Festival Co-Directors Cathy Bolton & Sarah-Jane Roberts, this year’s themes are Friendship, Family, Joy, Grief, Community, Solidarity, Imagination and Love.

From master novelists Maggie O’Farrell, Damon Galgut, Kamila Shamsie, A.M. Homes, George Saunders and Jon McGregor to emerging writers Okechukwu Nzelu and Yara Rodrigues Fowler, plus poets Jackie Kay and Malika Booker, not to mention guest actors, scriptwriters and broadcasters Rob Delaney, Ruth Jones, Sheila Hancock and Nihal Arthanayake, there will be plenty to inspire and intrigue.

The festival also examines what divides us and brings us together, celebrating pioneers and change-makers with events with historian David Olusoga, musician Cosey Fanni Tutti, fashion icon Edward Enninful, novelists Mariana Enriquez and Max Porter, Juan Pablo Villalobos and Paulo Scott, poets Inua Ellams & Yomi Sode, Roger Robinson & Johny Pitts and more.

Find the full MLF line-up and download the brochure at manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Book review – Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo

Blonde Roots coverIn this ambitious reimagining of the history of slavery, Bernardine Evaristo has meticulously turned every detail of the world as we know it inside out.

In transforming white people into wiggers enslaved by the blaks she has done far more than show us the impact slavery had on an entire race of people – she has made us feel what they felt, see their surroundings through their eyes, feel their sense of inferiority foisted upon them by generations of being told that they were weaker, less intelligent, less capable of emotion, simply less than mankind.

Blonde Roots‘ narrator is Doris, a “yellow-headed stalk of a girl” stolen from her life in England at the age of ten while playing hide and seek with her sisters. Through flashbacks interwoven with scenes of her life as sugar baron Bwana’s top slave, Bernardine illustrates a rich, glorious world where the blaks are in charge, where plump flesh is desirable and slimness considered ugly, where topless fashions are the norm, where every mouthful of food is spiced and Brussel sprouts and cabbages are considered exotic. Continue reading