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Carol Ann Duffy and Friends – series ten

12 January 2015

Start time:19:00
Venue:The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH
Entry:£12.00
Contact:box.office@royalexchange.co.uk
Website:http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/whats-on-and-tickets/carol-ann-duffy-and-friends

 

Carol Ann Duffy presents this tenth series of poetry nights at the city’s iconic Royal Exchange Theatre. Each evening features Carol Ann reading from her own work and introducing some of the country’s best new emerging talent: student poets from the Manchester Writing School, led by house poet Liz Venn. There’s also a special guest appearance from a poet of national stature and live music from the house jazz band.

12th January 2015: Kit Wright with Martin Kratz, Paul McGhee and Kim Moore

19th January 2015: Ann Gray with Justine Chamberlain, Michael Conley, Robert Harper

9th March 2015: Lachlan Mackinnon with Scott Fellows, Ian Humphreys and Carolyn Zukowski

Start time: 7.00pm (music), 7.30pm (readings)

Venue: The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH

Tickets: £12 – book via the Royal Exchange Theatre: www.royalexchange.co.uk or contact the box office on 0161 833 9833

Manchester Writing School events are sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Humanities and Social Science Research (IHSSR) and presented in partnership with Macdonald Hotels & Resorts and Blackwell’s. Join the Manchester Writing School mailing list, contact writingschool@mmu.ac.uk, or follow on Twitter @mcrwritingschl.

December 5th, 2014 - 16:05pm

Call for Papers, Presentations and Works for Exhibition

After the success of the last two MIX DIGITAL conferences, Bath Spa University is hosting Writing Digital: MIX DIGITAL 3 in the newly completed Commons building at the Newton Park Campus, just outside of Bath. Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Creative Industries, with its stellar Creative Writing Department, is at the forefront of both research into and teaching of creative practice across many forms. MIX DIGITAL has established itself as an innovative forum for the discussion and exploration of writing and technology, attracting an international cohort of contributors from the UK, Australia, and Europe as well as North and South America. From 2015 the conference will be biennial and will become one of the flagship conferences for the university.

Writing Digital will take full advantage of our brand-new Commons building and its interactive spaces through hosting a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions and workshops, as well as an exhibition of work by conference participants.

Our partners, The Writing Platform, will showcase the two winning projects from the competitive bursaries they will have awarded earlier in 2015 for new creative writing and technology projects. There will also be a separate call to digital artists for entries to an international competition to create work for our Media Wall.

Confirmed keynotes include Naomi Alderman talking about how and why a literary novelist came to be the imaginative power behind the hugely successful apps, Zombies! Run, and The Walk; also confirmed is Blast Theory, internationally renowned as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating new forms of performance and interactive art – they’ll be discussing their current kickstarter-funded project, Karen.

Papers/presentations and workshops are invited in relation to the on-going themes of creative writing and digital technology, the future of the book, new forms of publishing, and new forms of digital curation, and in any of the following areas:

• Digital fiction and digital poetry
• Digital art and text
• Non-fiction and multi-platform publication (digital and print)
• Digital and interactive scriptwriting (including theatre-making and film -making)
• Transmedia practice
• Collaborations between writers and technologists
• Participatory media
• Transnational creativity

In partnership with the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE there will be co-curated strand for which presentations on the following are sought around either the practice of interactive documentary and or the emergent field of ‘ambient literature’, including mobile, locative, and other site-specific storytelling forms.

In partnership with Bath Spa’s Media Futures Research Centre there will be co-curated strand on ‘Analogue Futures’ for which invitations on the following are sought: the digitalisation of writing practices and techniques; remediation associated with emerging digital technologies; slow media; concepts and cultures of vintage, heritage and authenticity; sustainability and materiality within the realm of digital media.

Workshops on creative practice and pedagogical papers in relation to any aspect of the above are welcome. Please note that works submitted for exhibition will not be considered unless the artist is attending the conference.

A selection of conference papers will be developed for publication in a special issue of Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.

There will also be a separate competitive international call to create a new artwork for our eight-metre high digital gallery space, MediaWall; this work will be launched during Writing Digital.

Abstracts of up to 300 words for a 20-minute paper/presentation or a 90-minute workshop should be sent to mixdigital2015@gmail.com by 31 January 2015. Conference booking will open in November. A limited number of rooms on campus will be available for delegates. Keep an eye on the website for updates.

Bath Spa University Conference Committee: Katharine Reeve, Lucy English, Kate Pullinger, Maggie Gee, Mike Johnston, Kristin Doern, Dan Ashton and Anthony Head.

November 28th, 2014 - 13:36pm

Multi-award winning Sally Wainwright to visit MMU

Friday 28th November 2014

One of our most prominent and celebrated television writers, the multi-award winning Sally Wainwright, fresh from choosing her eight ‘Desert Island Discs’ on Radio 4, will be ‘in conversation’ with playwright and lecturer Julie Wilkinson on Friday 28th November 2014 at 1pm in Lecture Theatre 4, Geoffrey Manton Building.

Sally is writer, producer and sometime director of some of the most characterful and inventive television drama of the last decade. The author of Scott and Bailey, Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, Unforgiven, The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Sparkhouse, Jane Hall, At Home with the Braithwaites, and many other shows, Sally’s work has fundamentally changed the way women are represented in British television drama. Her command of story, her inventive range and productivity make her an inspiration to new writers. How does she do it? On her third visit to support and encourage writing students in the Department of English at MMU, Sally will be talking about her experience of writing for television and answering questions from you, the audience. Do not miss this event, which is free to students and staff. To reserve your seat please contact Julie Wilkinson on j.wilkinson@mmu.ac.uk.

Here you can read more about Sally’s work at The Agency’s website.

 

November 13th, 2014 - 16:06pm

Literary lives: Muriel Spark

Thursday, November 27th, 2014, 6:30 pm

Free, advance booking required

Muriel Spark’s shrewd, unsentimental and hilarious novels are some of the finest of the twentieth century. Spark’s distinctive mix of realism, satire and allegory was hugely influential for a generation of writers. Join Martin Stannard — author of the acclaimed biography Muriel Spark — and literary critic Ellie Byrne for a lively discussion of Muriel Spark’s fascinating life and work. Chaired by Andrew Biswell.

Venue: International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY.

Advance booking is advised, so reserve your place via events@anthonyburgess.org or 0161 235 0776.

You can access the website link here

November 11th, 2014 - 11:45am

Austerity Horror

Twisted Tales of Austerity: Friday 24th October 2014 @ Waterstones Deansgate

In Coalition Britain an extreme neoliberal consensus is forming around permanent austerity, worsening living standards, and privatization of the few public assets that have thus far evaded liberalization. With the three largest UK political parties all backing further cuts in 2015, a bleak future stretches before us. The late Joel Lane and Tom Johnstone’s Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease (Gray Friar Press) is an anthology that explores the dark depths into which twenty-first century disaster capitalism is dragging us. Twisted Tales, Manchester Metropolitan University and Waterstones Deansgate are teaming up to run Twisted Tales of Austerity as part of the Gothic Manchester Festival later this month, an event featuring readings from authors who contributed to Horror Uncut, followed by a panel discussion about austerity horror and a chance for the audience to participate in the debate. Here is Twisted Tales’s David McWilliam in conversation with Johnstone about the politics of Horror Uncut.

DM: In 2014, we find the financial crisis still being used as the pretext for massive welfare cuts in order to pay for lowering the taxes of oligarchs and multinational corporations. How important do you consider stories to be when selling the austerity narrative?
TJ: First of all, it’s interesting, isn’t it, that in recent years the word ‘narrative’ has taken on a specifically ideological meaning, as in your use there: the ‘austerity narrative’, suggesting that the proponents of a particular world-view want to tell a story, and make that fiction into reality. However, it would be foolish to suggest that fiction can change things by itself. On the other hand, popular resistance often draws on popular narratives, as a source of both inspiration and imagery. As an example, take the use of the mask from the graphic novel and film V for Vendetta by the Occupy and Anonymous movements, though the Situationist-inclined among us might be tempted to see a cynical marketing ploy in this, the Spectacle recuperating and commodifying dissent. Sometimes, though, those facing particularly repressive regimes use it as a kind of code to communicate ideas that people can’t express openly. Recently, there were reports of protestors against Burmese military rule using the three-fingered salute of the rebels in The Hunger Games. As we don’t live under military rule and can express things a little more openly, I like to think of Horror Uncut as more of a two-fingered salute to the powers that be! In general, there is a history of fiction and drama acting as a means of challenging authority and discussing suppressed or subversive ideas. Those in power also know the potency of popular narrative and get rattled when it’s used against them: take the Tory outrage at Hilary Mantel’s story ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’. George Osborne’s paraphrasing of Trainspotting’s ‘Choose Life’ sequence at the Tory Party conference shows what can happen when they fail to subvert fiction for their own ends…

 

DM: Horror has been labelled by some as a conservative genre that punishes transgression. How do you see Horror Uncut as challenging that perception?
TJ: As a committed socialist, my late co-editor and author of the story ‘A Cry for Help’, Joel Lane, could hardly be accused of conservatism. Indeed, his work on the anti-fascist anthology Never Again (also Gray Friar Press) was his way of challenging the very perception of horror fiction that you describe. However, he wouldn’t have felt the need to do this, if there weren’t a strong current in horror suggesting that those who step out of line suffer hideous fates. I don’t know if it’s that simple though. Take Frankenstein, usually seen as putting across the moral that ‘there are some things that Man was not supposed to know or meddle with’, but written by the daughter of a radical and a feminist, married to the poet who called on the workers to ‘Rise like Lions after slumber, … Ye are many ― they are few’. You could see Victor Frankenstein’s creation as a metaphor for the newly emergent industrial proletariat, ‘created’ by the expropriation of the landed peasantry. Certainly, the narrative punishes Frankenstein for his transgression, but if this seems conservative, the narrative is radical in showing us the world through the eyes of the dispossessed monster. Frankenstein the character also represented the Enlightenment ideals that Mary Shelley and the Romantic poets she mixed with rejected, ideals that informed the birth of European capitalism.

 

Stephen King has noted that a key, though not always acknowledged, theme of horror is ‘economic unease’, and this is certainly true of many of the stories in Horror Uncut, such as ‘The Ballad of Boomtown’ by Priya Sharma. The narrator of this story suffers for her transgression, while her ill-starred affair with a property developer mirrors the collapse of the Irish property market. Other stories suggest the opposite of the ‘punishment of transgression’ paradigm, as playing by the rules won’t save the protagonists from the cruelty of austerity measures, and their narratives also challenge the demonization of migrants and benefit claimants in much of the media. David Turnbull’s ‘The Privilege Card’ shows what happens once we start going along with the Coalition’s austerity ‘narrative’ and blindly following orders. Rosanne Rabinowitz’s tale, on the other hand, shows someone transgressing by fighting back against the cops when he gets caught up in a riot, suggesting that (Shock! Horror!) he might even get away with it…

 

DM: Do you see the publication of Horror Uncut as a form of political activism, an intervention in the debate about what sort of a society we want to live in, or a meditation on the current trajectory of UK politics?
TJ: Well, hopefully all three, with reservations. I’m suspicious of the term ‘activism’, which implies to me a false separation between politics and everyday life. I’d certainly love it if people started reading out some of these horror stories at rallies and picket-lines though! I doubt that’s going to happen, but it would be kind of fun. These stories aren’t sermons. What drew me to Joel’s stories was that he was able to put politics in them in a very clear way, without being preachy, as you’ll see from his story in the book. Some of the other writers in the book don’t see themselves as political, and I hope that it will be read by people who don’t either, but will recognize something of their daily reality in the stories.

 

DM: With references to radical politics in the collection, does Horror Uncut suggest that the anger generated by austerity measures is leading to a politicization of the dispossessed and a growing appetite to challenge the neoliberal consensus?
TJ: It varies according to the story. Some, such as Rosanne’s story, ‘Pieces of Ourselves’, which was inspired by the student unrest in 2010, seem to be suggesting this. In others, such as Alison Littlewood’s ‘The Ghost at the Feast’, the supernatural acts as a metaphor for the way in which politicians seem to ignore popular protest. This has been the story of the past few years, when mass struggles by students, public sector workers and others have gradually faded into the background, wilfully marginalized by the media (although there is a small resurgence in public sector strikes at the moment over the miserable pay offer, despite the union soft cops’ efforts to dampen the flames of discontent). In general, I’d say Horror Uncut suggests a more negative picture, I’m afraid (but then it is after all a horror anthology!). Many of the acts of resistance shown are desperate, isolated, individual ones. There’s definitely more emphasis on the suffering of the vulnerable than in the politicization of the dispossessed. If there’s an appetite to challenge the ruling consensus, it’s that of the editors, possibly the writers and, hopefully, the readers, who may wish to translate their horror at what they read into some kind of collective action.

 

Twisted Tales of Austerity will run from 12-2pm on Friday 24th October 2014 at Waterstones Deansgate. Tickets are on sale in store and via the dedicated Eventbrite page.

 

October 22nd, 2014 - 13:34pm

Inspired by Belle Vue

Friday 30th October 2014

Spend an evening at Chetham’s Library with artists, illustrators, and authors who are: Inspired by Belle Vue.

Livi Michael and Anna Mainwaring from the Manchester Writing School at MMU will be reading their stories ‘For one day only’ and ‘Maharajah: the elephant who walked to Manchester’.

Autographed copies of the short-story anthologies ‘Timelines’ and ‘Crimelines’ in which Livi and Anna’s stories can be found will be available for purchase. The original illustrations for these stories by Bethany Thompson and Nabihah Shireen will be on show. Wine, juice and snacks will be served.

 

Thursday 30th October 2014. 6.30-8.00pm. FREE. Book your place online now

 

‘Timelines’ is available from Amazon and also direct here

 

October 15th, 2014 - 14:06pm

Voice Box – Open Mic Night

Upstairs at Dulcimer, 7.30pm, Thursday 16th October 2014

As part of an ongoing collaboration between the Manchester Writing School’s MA Creative Writing students and the MMU English Society you are cordially invited to the first session of Voice Box. A chance for you to socialise with fellow course members old and new, from undergraduates to alumni, in a convivial atmosphere. Bring along work-poetry, spoken word, prose-that you’d like to air to a supportive audience. Or if you’d just like to come along be entertained, enlightened even moved: feel free as it is free!

Dulcimer, 567 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0AE. Readings from 8, but sign up from 7.30.

 

Queries: themmuenglishsociety@gmail.com

@MMUEngSoc

October 15th, 2014 - 11:13am

Privileging the Unseen

A one-day symposium on the writing of Hilary Mantel

Tuesday 9th June 2015

International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK

 

The wholeambience in which I was brought up was one in which the unseen is privileged

(Mantel 2005)

 

Hilary Mantel was until recently ‘curiously invisible’ (Vaux 1994) but since winning the Booker Prize in 2009 for her historical novel Wolf Hall, then making literary history by winning for a second time in 2012 with her sequel Bring Up the Bodies, she has finally achieved popular recognition and acclaim. However, the tension in her work between visibility and invisibility persists, and her corpus remains neglected within the academy. This symposium aims to redress this silence whilst also exploring it as a potential consequence of how her writing privileges the unseen – ‘It makes me feel unstable’ said James Runcie in his BBC interview Hilary Mantel: A Culture Show Special (2011).

The papers will consider any aspect of Mantel’s fiction and memoir, including Gothicism, the medical humanities and autobiography. This symposium marks an attempt, in the words of Mantel, to gain some ‘purchase’ (Runcie 2011) on Mantel’s writing and what privileging the unseen might actually mean.

 

Keynote Speaker: Dr Wolfgang Funk, Leibniz Universität Hannover

‘Spectres of Mantel: Haunted Epistemologies and the Nostalgia for the Irrational’

 

Abstracts of 300 words are invited on all aspects of Mantel’s writing, including but by no means limited to:

  • Narrative/form/short stories.
  • Body/bodiliness.
  • Illness/endometriosis.
  • Adaptations/plays.
  • Mental health/’madness’.
  • Medicine/medical humanities.
  • Gothic/Gothicism.
  • History/histories and the historical novel.
  • Sequels/Booker Prizes/literary celebrity.
  • Ghosts/haunting/the spectral text.
  • Ellipsis/gaps/ambiguity.

The proceedings of the symposium will be included in a book proposal for a collection of essays, to be edited by the symposium organisers, and presented to Bloomsbury for their Contemporary Critical Perspectives series.

 

The symposium will be followed by an evening reading by Hilary Mantel herself.

 

Dr Eileen Pollard and Dr Ginette Carpenter

Manchester Metropolitan University

 

Please submit a 300-word abstract as a Word document to e.pollard@mmu.ac.uk by Monday 12th January 2015.

 

 

 

 

October 7th, 2014 - 14:55pm

An Evening with Hilary Mantel

 

Tuesday 9th June 2015, Manchester Metropolitan University

 

Geoffrey Manton Building, 5pm

The IHSSR are delighted to announce that Hilary Mantel, one of Britain’s most accomplished and acclaimed writers, will be visiting the Institute next year to deliver an evening reading to academics, students and members of the general public.

Mantel is the author of fourteen books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black and the memoir Giving Up the

Ghost. Both her non-fictional and fictional writing, on modern representations of royalty and the assassination of Margaret Thatcher, have generated extraordinary media storms and widespread popular debate of her work. Her two most recent novels, Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, have both been awarded the Man Booker Prize – an unprecedented literary achievement.

The IHSSR greatly looks forward to welcoming one of the most high-profile authors writing in English today, and hopes that many staff and students will be able to join us for this exciting event.

Further details will follow.

 

September 27th, 2014 - 11:17am

Humanities in Public Festival 2014-15

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Andrew Biswell

 

We are just five days away from the first event of this year’s Humanities in Public Festival. There will be a wine reception and welcome to the new Humanities in Public programme from 5.00pm in Geoffrey Manton Atrium before Professor Andrew Biswell’s inaugural lecture, “In Time of War: W.H. Auden Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets”.

Andrew Biswell is Professor of Modern Literature at MMU and Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. He has written critical introductions to several novels by Anthony Burgess and edited the fiftieth anniversary edition of A Clockwork Orange. Professor Biswell’s book, The Real Life of Anthony Burgess, was awarded the Portico Prize. His research into W.H. Auden, which forms part of a larger book project, was supported by a Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship at the Huntington Library in California.

All of the information for Andrew Biswell’s inaugural lecture can be found here.

September 24th, 2014 - 14:24pm