Manchester Literature Festival Spring Programme Announced with Kazuo Ishiguro & Jackie Kay in conversation and a series of exclusive new writing commissions to be performed at the Festival                                              

Manchester Literature Festival’s Spring digital programme launches with Kazuo Ishiguro and Jackie Kay in conversation about his new novel, Klara and The Sun alongside new writing commissions by poets Roger Robinson and Caleb Femi.

Kazuo Ishiguro & Jackie Kay in Conversation

19 – 26 April 2021

This event will be first broadcast at 7.30pm on Mon 19 April 2021 and available to watch for 7 days. The event will be pre-recorded and captioned.

‘Do you believe in the human heart?’ In his magnificent new novel Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro asks whether humans are unique and, if we are, what makes us so? A story of connection, understanding and hope, seen through the eyes of an Artificial Friend, it is Kazuo Ishiguro at his finest. Manchester Literature Festival is thrilled to welcome Kazuo to the Festival to discuss his work, his characters, and his love of music with poet and MLF Patron Jackie Kay. Kazuo is the author of eight previous books including The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both of which have sold over a million copies and were made into acclaimed films. His work has been translated into over fifty foreign languages and he has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize four times, winning in 1989. In 2017, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for novels which ‘uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world’.

Tickets for this event are available on a Pay What You Can basis: £6 (low income / concession), £12 (standard ticket) or £20 (per household). Any ticket revenue received will help Manchester Literature Festival survive this challenging time and deliver its annual festival in October 2021.

Roger Robinson

Hosted by Malika Booker

25 March – 1 April 2021

This event will be first broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday 25 March 2021 and be available to watch for 7 days. The event will be pre-recorded and captioned.

One of the most prominent voices in the Black-British writing canon, Roger Robinson is a celebrated poet and musician who has performed around the world. His 2019 poetry collection A Portable Paradise, which included heart-wrenching poems about the Grenfell disaster, being Black British in the UK, and fatherhood, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. He has previously created commissioned work for The National Trust, London Open House, BBC, The National Portrait Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist.

In a new commission written especially for Manchester Literature Festival, Roger will explore the idea of Black Lives Matter and how it pertains to the Black British experience. Roger will perform his new poems for the first time, followed by a conversation about his work with poet Malika Booker.

This is one of a series of New Commissions supported by an award from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund and presented in partnership with the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester.

Caleb Femi

Hosted by Vanessa Kisuule

8 April – 15 April 2021

This event will be first broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday 8 April 2021 and be available to watch for 7 days. The event will be pre-recorded and captioned.

A rising star on the British poetry scene, Caleb Femi’s debut collection Poor considers what it is to be a young, working class Black man, living in South London in the 21st Century. One of two poets shortlisted for the 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize, Max Porter describes him as ‘a poet of truth and rage, heartbreak and joy.’ Caleb is a poet and director and has previously been commissioned by organisations including BBC, Channel 4, Tate Modern and The Guardian. From 2016 – 2018, he was the Young People’s Laureate for London.

In a new commission written especially for Manchester Literature Festival, Caleb will explore the impact of solitude during the pandemic, touching on themes of the inner and physical self, friendship, imagination as a coping tool, and joy. Caleb will perform his new poems for the first time, followed by a conversation about his work with fellow poet and host Vanessa Kisuule.

This is one of a series of New Commissions supported by an award from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund and presented in partnership with the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester.

Jhumpa Lahiri & Kamila Shamsie in Conversation

20 May 2021

This event will be first broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday 20 May 2021 and available to watch for seven days. It will be pre-recorded and captioned.

‘I’m both ablaze with energy and sapped of it.’ In Whereabouts, Jhumpa Lahiri’s stunning new novel, an unnamed woman, in an unnamed Italian city, assesses her daily life. Her friends, her work, her lovers, and the shadow of her father’s unexpected death. Jhumpa will be in conversation with novelist and MLF Patron Kamila Shamsie discussing her first novel to be written in Italian and translated into English by the author herself.

Jhumpa is the author of four works of fiction, including Unaccustomed Earth, Interpreter of Maladies and The Lowland which was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is also the editor and one of the translators of The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories which brings together forty writers that reflect over a hundred years of Italy's vibrant and diverse short story tradition. Kamila is the acclaimed author of seven novels including Home Fire, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The event is presented by Manchester Literature Festival in partnership with the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester.

Natalie Diaz

Hosted by Mary Jean Chan

22 April 2021

This event will be first broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday 22 April 2021 and available to watch for seven days. It will be pre-recorded and captioned.

In a new commission written especially for Manchester Literature Festival, Natalie will present Radixes and Formations: a series of poetic sensualities exploring the words ‘origin’, ‘migration’, ‘freedom’ and ‘love’. A deeply lyrical poet, she will create linguistic maps of these words in English and Mojave, diving deep into their roots and the ways in which they echo in physical connection.

Natalie will perform her new poems for the first time, followed by a conversation about her work with poet Mary Jean Chan. Mary Jean is the author of Flèche, which was shortlisted for multiple awards and won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry. This is one of a series of New Commissions supported by an award from the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund. Presented by Manchester Literature Festival in partnership with the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester.

‘Natalie Diaz is a poet who calls out to us in so many ways, who reaches out to embrace her lover, her people, and her country.’ Her most recent collection Postcolonial Love Poem explores body and land as sites of desire and longing, but also pain and erasure. It was shortlisted for the National Book Award and the Forward Prize in Poetry. Born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado river, Natalie is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. She has received fellowships from The MacArthur Foundation, the Lannan Literary Foundation, the Native Arts Council Foundation, and Princeton University and was recently appointed to Academy of American Poets.

Tickets for these events are priced as pay what you can: £6 (low income/concession), £12 (standard ticket) or £20 (per household) plus some free for those without the means to pay. Any ticket revenue received will help Manchester Literature Festival survive this challenging time and deliver its annual festival in October 2021.

Tickets are available to book via the Manchester Literature Festival website from midday on Friday 26 February or via the MLF Eventbrite page

Join the conversation: #MLF21 @McrLitFest

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Manchester Literature Festival
Festival
Manchester Literature Festival

Manchester Literature Festival’s Spring digital programme launches with Kazuo Ishiguro and Jackie Kay in conversation about his new novel, Klara and The Sun alongside new writing commissions by poets Roger Robinson and Caleb Femi.

Kazuo Ishiguro & Jackie Kay in Conversation
Virtual Event
Kazuo Ishiguro and Jackie Kay

Manchester Literature Festival welcomes Kazuo Ishiguro to discuss his work, his characters, and his love of music with poet and MLF Patron Jackie Kay. Kazuo is the author of eight previous books including The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both of which have sold over a million copies and were made into acclaimed films. His work has been translated into over fifty foreign languages and he has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize four times, winning in 1989. In 2017, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for novels which ‘uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world’.

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