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MLF Chapter & VerseMLF Chapter & Verse

The Manchester Literature Festival Blog

Review: Rising Stars Day

Three literature events in a day?  Our blogger Benjamin Judge takes on the challenge of blogging our Rising Stars Day, but discovers he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Hey, Manchester Literature Festival. Shall we? Shall we count the ways? Yes, let’s.

Three events, one day, six writers, one host, one blogger…

No, wait, I can’t say one blogger can I? That sounds like I love myself. I love Manchester Literature Festival. Not me. All I’m trying to do is set up the scene – specifically that I volunteered to blog about all three Rising Stars events that took place at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on the 24th of May. Was I a tad over enthusiastic? Foolhardy? A bit of both? Neither? Do they kind of mean the same thing anyway?

Oh, God, it has taken me nearly two weeks to write 93 words and only about six of them make any sense. Never have children. No, do have children, children are great, just don’t volunteer to blog about three events in one day to save yourself a tenner. Just pay the tenner. Pay the tenner you quilt.

Highlights of the day: many, Louise Stern’s reading, Louise Stern’s answers to questions, Louise Stern, who was one of the writers I hadn’t read anything by before and was a total revelation, Benjamin Wood reading from The Ecliptic, Mary Costello being seven flavours of awesome, Stuart Evers’ fringe, Sunjeev Sahota announcing his next novel could very well be a science fiction novel set in Sheffield (please write this Sunjeev, want want want, need need need), and meeting Stephen Kelman (whose Pigeon English made me cry in public) and finding out he is as nice in real life as on Twitter and that his new book looks brilliant too.

More highlights: did I mention Louise Stern? Did I? I did? Well, I still think it is worth underlining how brilliant she was, and is, and how you should buy her book and that, yeah? And there were so many more good bits – six readings, all great, three discussions chaired expertly by Kate Feld, seven signed books to put on my shelf…

Lowlights: very few. I developed a facial tic halfway through the day that only stopped three days later, I lost 50p on a horse while eating my lunch, and… no, that’s it, and it isn’t entirely impossible that the two things aren’t related anyway.

I’m talking about myself again, I know, I’m sorry, but it’s you I love MLF, you, with your events and your books and your writers, in so many ways that I lost count and babbled. But that’s fine. That’s good. That’s peachy.


Benjamin Judge is a writer who lives outside Manchester. He blogs here and you can find him on Twitter at @benjaminjudge.


Image courtesy IABF