Festival of Libraries 2023 celebrates Greater Manchester's literary scene

Dive into the world of literature and creativity as the Festival of Libraries returns to Greater Manchester, transforming the region into a captivating literary playground from 7-11 June 2023.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 17 April 2023

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The Portico Library. Photo: Samantha Guess

The countdown has begun for the Festival of Libraries, taking place from Wednesday, 7 June – Sunday, 11 June 2023. This year’s event will showcase the vital role of Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries in promoting wellbeing, culture, creativity, and more. Spanning internationally renowned institutions such as Central Library, Chetham’s, The Portico Library, and John Rylands Research Institute and Library, as well as local libraries, the festival reflects Manchester’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Simon Armitage will lead a masterclass and give a poetry reading. Photo: Peter James Millson

Now in its third year, the Festival of Libraries is funded by Arts Council England and enjoys support from authors, artists, and creatives who recognize the essential community and cultural role of libraries. The festival’s program will feature live music, library exchanges, dance and theatre, poetry commissions, a writing trail, family-friendly activities, and more. All events will be free to participate in.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who will lead a masterclass and give a poetry reading, expressed his excitement for the event. Cheddar Gorgeous of Ru Paul’s Drag Race fame will also join the festival as part of the “Inspired By” lineup, recounting her headline-making experiences.

Cheddar Gorgeous. Photo: Irene Lea

The Festival of Libraries will offer fun, engaging activities like the Look for a Book treasure hunt, mobilising children and families to find one of 500 hidden books in Greater Manchester’s libraries. The festival also includes thought-provoking events, such as a conversation with award-winning playwright and artist Linda Brogan, who will discuss her pursuit of memories that led to the excavation of the Reno Club and the subsequent book, 12 Words.

Newly appointed Creative Producer Liv McCafferty aims to create curiosity and magic for this year’s Festival of Libraries, stating, “Being able to work with such inspiring creatives and facilitators in bringing these spaces to life for Manchester’s communities is a dream.”

Arts Council England’s funding support will enable the Festival of Libraries to provide a wealth of creative content for everyone to explore and discover. With connections to other Cities of Literature in Krakow and Reykjavik and the Multilingual City Poets writing in Urdu, Arabic, and Spanish, this year’s festival will be a truly international affair.

The full events program will be announced at the end of April, when bookings for ticketed events will also open. For more information, visit www.manchestercityofliterature.com