Lancaster University

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Manchester writing exhibition launched

09/25/2009 10:52:08

An exhibition celebrating Manchester writers will be launched this week at the Manchester Central Library.

Covering fifty years of writing in Greater Manchester, the exhibition profiles the city’s most influential writers, publishers and writing organisations.

Featuring writers such as Val McDermid, John Lyons, Lemn Sissay, SuAndi and Shamshad Khan, the exhibition is part of a major four year research project run by Lancaster University called ‘Moving Manchester’.

From gritty crime writing to slam poetry, the city is buzzing with literary activity and the exhibition sets out to capture some of the key figures and organisations on the writing scene.

Qaisra Shahraz, author of the best-selling The Holy Woman (set in Pakistan and translated into several languages) will be attending the launch, together with crime writer, Peter Kalu. Arts’ Council representatives will also be attending.

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of the late Manchester poet Dike Omeje – a prolific and talented writer and performer who died in 2007 aged just 35 following a long battle with cancer. His friends and supporters will also be attending the launch.

Professor Lynne Pearce of Lancaster University, director of the ‘Moving Manchester’ project, expressed herself delighted with the exhibition, which was conceived and curated by Dr Kate Horsley (who produced the art work) and Dr Corinne Fowler (researcher on the ‘Moving Manchester’ project) who wrote the text:

She said: “The contemporary writing scene in Manchester has evolved at a similar time, and in a similar way, to the Manchester music scene but it has not yet received the recognition it deserves.

“The good news is that the city now has a growing reputation as the independent publishing capital of the North, thanks to organisations such as Commonword/Cultureword and Comma Press.

“In fact, our research has revealed that Manchester has been the centre of northern British publishing since the 1980s and most certainly competes with London in the area of ‘short stories, poetry and off-the-page poetry. Many people attending the exhibition will have heard of John Cooper Clark, the ‘punk’ performance poet from Salford, but there are several other names – Lemn Sissay, John Lyons and SuAndi, for example – who arrived on the Manchester scene at a similar time that have equally influential.

“This exhibition - and the Moving Manchester project – sets out to give writing in Manchester the platform it deserves and will, we hope, show aspiring new writers from the city that they belong to a unique literary tradition that they can be proud of .”

The exhibition runs until 17 October.