University of Manchester Chancellor Lemn Sissay is to headline Contact Theatre as part of 2016’s Manchester Literature Festival.

Sissay, whose poem adorning the side of Rusholme landmark Hardy’s Well was recently placed at risk due to the pub’s closure earlier in August, will speak on the same day as the event’s 8th annual Black And Asian Writers Conference in the city, which features debate and discussion on topics as diverse as intergenerational writing styles, racism in literature and translation in the publishing industry.

Other big names on the international bill include the Canadian poet and activist Margaret Atwood (RNCM, 7 Oct), Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay (Hallé St Peter’s, 15 Oct), performance poets Hollie McNish & Salena Godden (Gorilla, 19 Oct) and comedian Susan Calman (Dancehouse, 19 Oct), while both actor Alan Cumming (Contact, 26 Nov) and guitarist Johnny Marr (RNCM, 7 Nov) will launch autobiographies during the festival.

Local poetry promoters Bad Language present Henry Normal, who co-founded Baby Cow Productions with Steve Coogan, at the Burgess Foundation (8 Oct), while many other events are scheduled across the city at venues such as Hope Mill Theatre, Central Library, Portico Library and Z-Arts.


Manchester Literature Festival runs from 7-23 October, 2016, with other affiliated events taking place in September and November.

The full programme is available to view at

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