After last year's success, our book review contest for 10-13 year olds is back. You can win £30 in book tokens for a review of your favourite book. The competition is open to all in school years 6,7 and 8 across Bury. Deadline: 1 November. Visit this page for full entry details.
Well, the Prestwich Book Festival is over for another year, and though it was small it was perfectly formed.
Check out lovely pictures from the marquee - a day of childrens' events on May 18 at Prestwich Clough Day, via Emma Farrer's Flickr photostream.
Meanwhile there's a great write up of our readers' day on June 1 by blogger Molly of A Place In Prestwich. There were many highlights to the day, but I only just noticed, from the picture in this blog, how fabulous Emma Jane Unsworth's shoes were.
Finally, the lovely Park View Primary School ran a short story writing competition among its 600 or so pupils: and local author Sherry Ashworth went along to award prizes to the very best of them.
This year's authors: Sherry Ashworth, EM Powell, Dominic Berry,Tony Walsh, Emma Jane Unsworth, Vanessa Lees, Honor Giles andPaul Neads.
2014 has been a roller coaster year for the Prestwich Book Festival, and for me personally. At the end of January we had our first AGM and were formally constituted as a community group. One of the big advantages of doing this is that we're now eligible to bid for various funding streams that were closed to the festival in the past.
I left the meeting buoyed up with the enthusiasm and support of everyone who'd turned out, and bursting with plans. I was awash with half complete funding bids and grand ideas for building on the success of last year's festival.
Unfortunately life had other plans. The next day my dad was taken seriously ill, and died soon after in hospital. In the following weeks, family became my first priority, and lots of Prestwich Book Festival business didn't happen. Funding bids weren't completed or submitted.
However the lovely people on the newly formed committee rallied round. When I was ready to start thinking about the Book Festival again, Sherry Ashworth and Sarah Howells presented me with their fabulous plans for a day of author events at Prestwich Library on June 2 (it's called Booked Up). David Stanley quietly offered support for our ideas to run a mini children's book festival at Prestwich Clough Day on May 18. Sheila Mottershead sold some of her own books and raised more than £100!
Apart from that though, our coffers were empty so we decided to try an online 'crowdfunding' campaign to raise cash. It was a bit of a gamble as crowdfunding - or online fundraising - is a relatively new thing, and none of us had any experience. But Emma Farrer made a video for the campaign (you have to have a video for crowdfunding!) and we were ready to go.
I launched the campaign - to raise £1000 for a mini children's book festival on May 18 - on the evening of Saturday 5 April. In 24 hours, people had donated more than £250. As I write on Tuesday 8 April, we've just reached £500, and the amount is steadily climbing. I've been really overwhelmed by people's generosity.
Today the kind people at the Oak St Cafe Bar have made supporters of the Prestwich Book Festival a lovely offer: if you donate £30 to the crowdfunding campaign, they will give you a free meal for two up to the value of £30. it's available to the first 5 people to claim this perk. To claim this perk, visit the crowdfunding site and donate £30: http://igg.me/at/pbf14/x/6766474
The first ever AGM of the Prestwich Book Festival will take place on Thursday, 30th January at 8pm at the Church Inn, Prestwich. We're holding the meeting to approve the Book Festival's new constitution, and elect a committee. Once we're officially a constituted community group, the Book Festival will be able to bid for council funding to help support our work.
The AGM will also be a good opportunity for anyone who wants to get involved in the festival to learn more about it. We'll be outlining plans for this year's activities, as well as our fundraising strategy. All ideas and anyone who is able to help, welcome. Hope to see you there.
AGM, Thursday 30th January, 8pm, The Church Inn, Prestwich M25 1AJ
This week sees a footballing flavour to Prestwich Book festival. We welcome David Conn on Thursday to lead a group therapy session for City fans.
This coincides with the paperback launch of his acclaimed book Richer than God: Manchester City, Modern Football and Growing Up, published last year and now perhaps more relevant than ever for all fans of the beautiful game. At a time of turbulence and change for most Premiership teams and possible bankruptcy for many of those in the lower leagues, David explores what's going on, questioning the very nature of football clubs and being a supporter. From the battlegrounds of the 1980s to today's moneyed, seated, global entertainment, he will examine the underlying values and running of what used to be called 'the people's game'.
David, who is originally from Prestwich, writes for the Guardian and was 2010 Sports News Reporter of the Year. He has been three times named Football Writer of the Year by the Football Supporters' Federation. He'll be appearing at the Manchester Jewish Museum, 190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester M8 8LW, this Thursday 23 May at 7.30pm. Tickets FREE with museum admission (£3.95/£2.95 concessions) available in advance on 0161 834 9879.
Then on Saturday 25 May, the National Football Museum will be visiting Prestwich Library. There will be inflatable goalposts for penalty taking practice, objects from the Museum, and best of all, football-obsessed poet Paul Cookson with his ukelele. Paul will be in the library all morning, and will put on three mini shows, suitable for all ages, throughout the morning. This is a free event: no need to book, just come along to join in the fun.
9.30-11.45am, Saturday 25 May, Prestwich Library.
It's less than a week until the Prestwich Book Festival starts, and people are talking about us - yay!
The festival has featured in the Manchester Evening News (hooray), including in the City Life feature of tonight's edition. Hope you saw the pieces in the Bury Times and the Prestwich Guide about us last week too: both papers have been fantastically supportive of the festival. Here's a link to a Bury Times interview with EM Powell about our historic fiction evening in tribute to best selling Prestwich novelist Beverly Hughes.
Our poetry events are getting some good publicity: there's a great feature on Tony Walsh and his All Star poetry slam in this week's Bury Times. And here's a write up for our poetry events over at everything-you-need-to-know-about-poetry site Write Out Loud.
Out in the blogosphere there are interviews with me (Ebba) on organising the Book Festival on EM Powell's author blog and about life, writing and the Prestwich Book Festival at Not Made for Northern Weather
And our Bank Holiday special An Evening of Strange and Dark Fictions featuring Rosie Garland (May 27) has been featuring on blogs: on Rosie's, on Simon Bestwick's, and on Hannah Kate.
Our headline event with Jay Rayner at Manchester Jewish Museum (June 6) gets a preview at Manchester Wire, a lovely looking website if I ever saw one.
Bury Council kindly press released our events this week. Bury Libraries featured us on their Facebook page. And here we are on the Visit Manchester website too.
If you see a mention of the Prestwich Book Festival anywhere else, do let me know so we can feature it here. Thankyou to all media and listings outlets for the publicity: we couldn't do it without you.
Very pleased to announce that the wonderful Urmston Bookshop will be selling books for us at all festival events. A first step to our own independent bookshop in Prestwich?!
Outside the festival, if you'd like to visit, find them at:
72 Flixton Road
Tel: 0161 747 7442
To say it's an honour to have Rosie Garland performing for us at the Prestwich Book Festival is an understatement.
Rosie is a legend in Manchester. She's built up an impressive following on the cabaret circuit as Rosie Lugosi. Before that she sang in post punk goth band The March Violets. She's written several books of poetry and her short stories have been published extensively. In 2009 she was diagnosed with throat cancer: the experience inspired the poems in her most recent collection Everything Must Go (Holland Park Press 2012). She came to Prestwich last year to perform at Vocabaret and gave us a sneak preview of the poems in that collection - there was hardly a dry eye in the house. Now she's back to talk about her first novel The Palace of Curiosities. After many years of writing and getting rejection letters, Rosie submitted her novel in draft to a competition - and won. As a result, she got a six figure advance and a publishing deal from Harper Collins. It's fantastic to see her career going from strength to strength.
But we weren't content with bringing you just one great writer - no, Rosie is simply the topping on a very tasty, er, pizza of an evening taking place on Monday, 27th May. This evening will be a veritable feast of all that is strange and dark in writing. So you'll hear from local boy made good, first time author Toby Stone, acclaimed Salford-based horror writer Simon Bestwick and a showcase of talent from Hic Dragones:
Jeanette Greaves: contributor to Wolf-Girls and Impossible Spaces
Daisy Black: writer, medievalist and heavy metal morris dancer
Nancy Schumann: author of Take a Bite, a history of female vampires in folklore and literature
Richard Freeman: writer and one of the UK's few cryptozoologists
Beth Daley: graduate of the Creative Writing PhD programme at the University of Manchester
It's worth pausing at this point to say that Hic Dragones are a small, independent publishing house, based in Crumpsall, They focus on strange fiction and aim to be "intelligent, but a bit weird". Right in the heart of north Manchester, they are making waves on the literary scene, and have published some big name authors, including all of the above. It's a pleasure to be working with them.
To top off the evening, we'll have a stall from Rock and Goth Plus, our own local rock and goth supply shop.
And did I mention this all takes place at the gloriously refurbished British Legion, right next to Heaton Park metro?
Get your tickets now. This will be one Bank Holiday Monday to remember.
Though the Prestwich Book Festival is only in its second year, Vocabaret is already an institution. It's an evening of performance poetry and music in the upstairs room at the Church Inn, and if you've never been to a performance poetry event, it's a great place to start.
Since last year, we've hosted three Vocabaret evenings and featured some really big names on the performance poetry circuit: Jo Bell, Rosie Garland, Gerry Potter, Chanje Kunda, Ben Mellor, Akiel Chinelo and Anjum Malik as well as some excellent local talent: Gordon Zola (his wheely bin poem was a particular favourite), John Darwin and Charlotte Henson to name but a few.
We've also had great acoustic sets from Jon Baldwin of I Am Blackbird, Matt Hill (Quiet Loner) and the unforgettable Louis Barabbas.
All this is down to the hard work and personal charm of Vocabaret's programmer and host, acclaimed performance poet Longfella (aka Prestwich resident Tony Walsh), one of the UK's most renowned performance poets, poet-in-residence at Glastonbury 2011 and Poet Laureate at Kendal Calling in 2012. The current Manchester Literature Festival Comedy Slam Champion, and with a reputation for moving audiences to tears (in a good way), Tony's work has been published in the UK, the USA and translated into Russian, as well as featuring on BBCRadio2, BBC6Music and BBC1. His eagerly-anticipated debut poetry collection 'SEX&LOVE&ROCK&ROLL' is coming out soon.
So it's really exciting that on Wednesay, May 15, Vocabaret is back, and Longfella has done it again. This time, he hosts Kate Fox, who has been described as "a cross between Pam Ayres and Sylvia Plath" - but isn't that much like either of them. Kate has been a regular on Radio 4's Saturday Live since 2007. She's been poet-in-residence for the Great North Run, Darlington Railway Museum, Free Word Centre, numerous schools and a colostomy nurse's conference! Her 128-page new and selected poems Fox Populi have just been published by Smokestack Books.
And we've got an acoustic set by singer/song writer Helen Walford, from Tennessee by way of Macclesfield. You can check out her gorgeous voice here.
Tickets £6 in advance from our Eventbrite online store.
I got the news that my bid for Arts Council funding to support the Prestwich Book Festival was successful on March 15. Since then I've been at the centre of a flurry of activity to get the best possible writers and poets to come to Prestwich between 12 May and 16 June. By and large, they've said yes.
The full programme will be published online on 15 April; and a sneak preview of events will be going up a week earlier, on 8 April, so watch this space. I’ve tried hard to keep ticket prices as affordable as possible.
The very first event to be unveiled is up on the website now, and tickets are on sale. If you’re into vampires, horror or fantasy writing, mark Tuesday 14th May in your diary – two authors who have written vampire novels set in Manchester will be appearing at Prestwich Library in Hunger and Habit: an evening of vampire horror. There’s award winning writer Melvin Burgess, best known for his controversial young adult novel, JUNK, and a string of prize- winning titles for young adults. He’s stepped out of his comfort zone into a world of zombies, vampires and the undead with his new horror novel Hunger. It was commissioned by Hammer (the publishing imprint of the classic horror movie company) and as a ‘literary’ author writing a horror novel, he follows in the footsteps of Jeanette Winterson and Helen Dunmore who have also written genre novels for the imprint. Alongside Melvin will be Stephen McGeagh with Habit, a tale of present day Manchester meets the twilight zone. The novel has been described as a “short sharp shocker” that combines gritty realism with elements of pure horror: think Brett Easton Ellis meets Stephen King.
Can’t wait to see you there.