Sunday, November 15, 2015

Literature Matters

It may seem that literature matters aren't that important when reading and seeing what happened in Paris on Friday night with so many innocent people murdered and injured; we take pause, we grieve, we remember, we are in shock. Shakespeare & Co., the famous bookshop offered shelter for people on Friday I was reading. We are reminded that the only aberration here is not the Eagles of Death Metal band, the restuarants and bars, the books we read - the cartoons that satirise - but the Kalashnikovs, the suicide belts, and the fanaticism that allows them.

Take pause....and then.... its been a creative week, literature matters, so does art. "Can art change the world?" a debate I attended on Thursday night asked, and stuck to the easy bit, the nice bit - yes it can change an individual's world. What about changing the world for the worse? Art as propaganda? Or where art is deemed inappropriate (the censorship that sees art as having transgressive power?) There's probably a mini-essay to be written on the subject. Not a lot we could cover in an hour and a half at Manchester Art Gallery. New art shows popping up all over this week as well, at Castlefield Gallery, at Home, and elsewhere in the city.

I attended the Northern Lights writers conference yesterday, but will probably save that for a separate blogpost, a good mix of speakers and writers, for its 3rd year at the Waterside in Sale. This coming few weeks there's still plenty of literature happening....

....a few highlights....

Given that I first heard Grevel Lindop and Peter Sansom in the nineties, I guess they could be called "venerable" poets - but they're both reading at a free event at Anthony Burgess foundation on Wednesday 18th.

The last Verbose before Christmas, with writers from the Manchester "spec fic" (speculative fiction) group as headliners is a week on Monday at Fallow Cafe.

Its a busy week that one - Bare Fiction comes to Manchester - the excellent magazine of fiction poetry and plays is launching its new edition here on the following Thursday - its at Apotheca bar in the NQ on the 26th.

The winners of the Manchester poetry and fiction prize will be announced at a Gala at 70 Oxford Road (C*r*e*h*u*e in old money, they're apparently not allowed to use the name) on Friday 27th.I'm pleased to see that Lindsey Holland, who started NW Poets, is deservedly on the poetry shortlist.

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