Hello and happy summer. The big news is that Openstories, the nonprofit arts group I run with Chris Horkan and Cathy Bolton, has launched a new project. The Real Story is a celebration of creative nonfiction, and will publish new writing in the genre on a website to be launched at Manchester Literature Festival 2011. We’re kicking things off with a life writing workshop I’m teaching at City Library July 30, and a writing competition that closes at the end of August. I’m really happy to be doing this project, I’ve been interested in creative nonfiction for a very long time, and have been lucky enough to do some work with Lancaster Litfest that has expanded my love for this under-appreciated field of writing.
The Manchester International Festival is just starting, and I’m gearing up to do a ton of blogging and livetweeting about this year’s jam-packed programme. I’m most excited about Bjork and Music Boxes going in, but if this year’s anything like previous fests, it’s often something unexpected that turns out to be your favourite.
Creative Tourist has been busy – our brand new family city guide, Six Whole Weeks? is online now, stuffed with great things to do over the summer in Manchester. It was a lot of fun to write and research this one (thanks to my daughters Molly and Bella, who should probably share research credit.) Work is already underway on CT’s Manchester Weekender, a full weekend of amazingly cool stuff that happens when five festivals concurrently going on in the city overlap and cross-pollinate.
I recently moderated a panel about approaching agents and publishers for Creative Industries Trafford. We had a full house and the event went very smoothly, thanks to our lovely panellists Oli Munson, Sophie Buchan and John Jarrold who came up from London to give Manchester writers some very sound advice.