Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Festival #4: The Other Room

In our regular My Festival slot, we ask Manchester-based writers to tell us which events they're looking forward to most at this year's Manchester Literature Festival.

Here, three organisers of The Other Room experimental poetry reading series give us their picks. The Other Room, which usually takes place once a month at the Old Abbey Inn, is organised by the poets James Davies, Tom Jenks and Scott Thurston. This month it temporarily moves home to the MLF hub, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, on Monday 26 September, starting at 7pm. Readers include Phil Hall, Alan Halsey and Mick Beck performing poems by Hugo Ball and Vanessa Place.

James Davies
Pinter is unrivalled as the most important English playwright of the past 100 years. To have an insight into the man and his work from so close a source as Antonia Fraser may provide some answers into the ways his work and life are intertwined. Yet for others this event will generate a myriad of new questions, and in true Pinteresque fashion they will be (may be) without answers.

Tom Jenks
Near where I grew up, it once rained fish for exactly seven seconds. I missed this miracle by 80 years, but I imagine the experience to be similar to hearing Carola Luther read. Her rich, allusive, illusive poems are strangely wonderful objects. To come across one is always a beautiful surprise, like finding a tiny bottle under the floorboards or a giant hailstone in the hearth. Go to this to have your world given back to you anew.

Scott Thurston
BS Johnson’s (1933-1973) remarkable career was tragically cut short by his own hand, yet since the publication of Jonathan Coe’s biography in 2004 there has been a resurgence of interest in his pioneering work. Johnson made innovation in fiction, film and poetry feel necessary and urgent, with his intelligence, politics and very British sense of humour. He is an unsung hero of British experimentalism – and well worth acquainting yourself with in these interesting times.

James, Tom and Scott's Festival favourites
Antonia Fraser Wednesday 19th October, 7.30pm, Whitworth Art Gallery (£8/£6 concs)
Mimi Khalvati & Carola Luther Thursday 20th October, 6pm, International Anthony Burgess Foundation (£5/£3 concs)
The Mind Has Fuses: A Celebration Of BS Johnson Saturday 22nd October, 6pm, International Anthony Burgess Foundation (£5/£3 concs)

For full details of all events at MLF 2011 and how to book, visit the website at

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