National Centre for Writing City of Literature Residency

The National Centre for Writing, based in Norwich UNESCO City of Literature, is offering three virtual residencies for writers or literary translators from other UNESCO cities of literature in February 2021. During the month-long residency, the virtual writers and translators in residence will be asked to explore connections between Norwich and their own UNESCO city of literature, and to work on a range of commissions. They will receive a fee of £1,500.


We strongly encourage writers and translators from Manchester to apply!

The commissions may include:

  • Writing (in your own language) or translating (into English) one short story, essay or series of poems (up to 2000 words) that can be shared on the NCW website;
  • Taking part in an online Meet the World event with the other writers in residence;
  • Recording one podcast with a writer from Norwich UNESCO City of Literature as part of the NCW Writing Life series of podcasts;
  • Contributing your top five writing tips to the writing tips section of the NCW blog;
  • Running a workshop with Lit from the Inside, our youth group exploring the literary arts scene in Norwich and elsewhere;
  • Writing a walk for the Walking Norwich section of the NCW website, which explores the real and imagined city;
  • Providing a reading list of recommended books from your UNESCO City of Literature (available in English or in English translation in the UK) for the NCW website, some of which may be promoted as a package by the Book Hive in Norwich.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please send an application which should include the following information:

  • Why you are interested in Norwich and this virtual residency opportunity;
  • What you will bring to it and what you hope to get out of it;
  • Your project for exploring connections between Norwich and your UNESCO City of Literature;
  • Your connections with a UNESCO City of Literature;
  • Your CV, including publication record.

Please send your application to The deadline for applications is Monday 16th November 2020.

Fundraising Tender Support Callout

Manchester City Of Literature is seeking a fundraiser or consultancy to work with the Executive team to create a fundraising strategy for the partnership and to support initial bid-writing.

We want to scope out the potential sources of support for:

  • collective large-scale bids on behalf of the whole partnership.
  • international and cross-border working.
  • coordinating projects aimed at improving literacy and reading skills in areas of multiple deprivation.
  • areas of funding that the partnership network are not currently accessing.

Timeline: Invitation to submit expression of interest: by Thursday 30th October at 5pm. 
Interviews: Wednesday 4 November (tbc).

Fee: There is a fixed fee of £4,000 excluding VAT for the research, proposals and to support initial bid writing through prioritisation and advice.

Registering your interest: To apply for this work, please submit an Expression of Interest with the following information:

  • A proposal outlining the approach to this brief including timeline, allocation of days and fee and summary of outputs. Please limit this to no more than 2 pages of A4.
  • A CV or summary of relevant work experience demonstrating your success in other, relevant, contracts.

Please send your video or written application to Ivan Wadeson, Executive Director, via email:

 Download the full brief here, alternatively if you have further questions, please contact Ivan on the above email.

Callout for a Project Evaluation Consultant

Manchester City of Literature wishes to appoint a consultant to gather evidence and assess the impact on participants’ wellbeing of writing programmes in Manchester and the city region during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, and specifically of our A City Connects projects.

Manchester City of Literature works with and through many partners across the literature sector in Manchester and the city region and are particularly keen to draw on the experience of partner agencies which have led literature projects, in evaluating the impact on participants.

Some of the projects were devised and implemented quickly so may not have evaluation/self-evaluation built in. Manchester City of Literature is also keen to draw on and engage with the expertise and expertise of others working in health and wellbeing in the cultural sector and more widely in the city region.

This work will comprise of:

  • a literature review of recent and relevant studies into writing for health and well-being;
  • desk research to review evaluation by partners delivering writing activity;
  • depth interviews with project leads to gather their insights; draw out learning; identify gaps in provision/ duplication; and understand their priorities and/ or recommendations going forward;
  • draft themes and methodologies for evaluation and recommendations for Manchester City of Literature;
  • share draft framework with key stakeholders and refine
  • regular updates to Manchester City of Literature team.
  • Final report 

Invitation to submit expression of interest: by 25 September
Appointment confirmed: by 2 October
Commissioning meeting: by Monday 12 October
Final Draft Report submitted: by Monday 30 November
(Estimated 6-10 days work)

Fee: £2500 inc. expenses ex. VAT

Registering your interest:
Please submit an expression of interest by Friday 25 September to Ivan Wadeson by email: EOI to be not more than 3 pages, including: relevant experience, your intended approach this work and an indicative breakdown of tasks and schedule.

Download the full brief here, alternatively if you have further questions, please contact Ivan on the above email.

Slam-O-vision 2020

Manchester City Of Literature is delighted to be a part of the international Slam-O-Vision 2020 and has now completed the search for a poet to represent our city. 

Slam-O-Vision brings poetry off the page and onto an international stage. It seeks to encourage and develop links between international poets and spoken word performers and gives emerging artists an international platform to promote their work. This year Tartu City of Literature is hosting the event (online) and Melbourne City of Literature will continue to host the website.

We are very excited to announce that the shortlist for representing Manchester at the Slam-O-Vision 2020 is:
Ali Al-Jamri, Esther Koch, George Miaris, Jardel Rodrigues, Jordan Skelly, Jova and Tallulah Howarth.

Congratulations to all of those who have been shortlisted and to everyone else who submitted their poems, the standard was very high and we encourage you all to keep submitting!

The judges have now deliberated and we’re very excited to announce Jardel Rodrigues as the winner!

Jardel will also represent Manchester in Commonword’s Europe-wide Superheroes of Slam, competing against poets from Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Istanbul, Athens and Kaunas (Lithuania) which takes place in Berlin in February 2021. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

South Asian Heritage Month 2020

Manchester City of Literature is celebrating South Asian Heritage Month 2020  with a special spotlight series on writers with a South Asian Heritage. South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) aims to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian history and culture, and build an understanding of the diverse heritage that continues to link UK with South Asia.

SAHM runs from 18th July to 17th August, and this year all of its events will be online. The aim of SAHM is to raise the profile of British-South Asian history, heritage and identity through education, arts, culture and commemorations across the country.

South Asia is formed of 8 countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The British South Asian community is over 3 million people strong, with at least 1 out of every 20 people in this country having South Asian heritage.

We’ll be asking writers to share how they think their heritage has influenced their writing, what books and poetry they would recommend reading to celebrate, and where we can find their own writing too. You can read the spotlights by clicking on the names below.

The spotlight series lineup includes (more to be added as they’re released):
Haamid Sharif
Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi
Qaisra Sharaz
Nasima Begum
Anjum Malik
Reshma Ruia

To find out more about other South Asian Heritage Month UK events head to the official page here, hosted by Manchester Museum.

If you enjoy the spotlight series on South Asian Writers, be sure to tweet us @MCRCityofLit and tag @SAHM_UK and #southasianheritagemonth.

Nanjing Writers Residency Programme 2020


Each year, six to eight authors from participating cities will be selected for a one-month residency program in Nanjing, China. Now taking place online, lots of activities will be organised during the program to help visiting writers learn about different aspects of local culture, better understand local literature, and gain creative inspiration from these new experiences. Public events such as book readings and author discussions will be held. During the residency program, writers will engage in writing literary creations based on their experiences in Nanjing.

 The opportunity is for 6 writers/translators to take part each for a month long virtual residency in September, October or November 2020 and for them to produce a literary text in response.

The deadline for applications has been extended to 17th September 2020.

Manchester City of Literature’s Executive Director visited Nanjing City of Literature in 2019 and said they have, “some of the most beautiful and serene bookshops I’ve ever visited.”

Please send a covering letter outlining your interest and suitability for the role,
a CV and a sample extract of your work (in a DOC or PDF file) to  with CC to,

 For any more information please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love for some Manchester writers to apply!


United We Stream

Manchester City of Literature are delighted to announce a new event featuring the city’s best poets and spoken word artists that took place on Sunday 31st May 2020. 

Created in partnership with Contact and spoken word collective Young Identity, Our City Speaks is part of the ongoing performances by Greater Manchester’s United We Stream.


United We Stream is an online showcase of the city’s best performers, musicians and DJs, and has already hosted performances from Mancunian cultural icons including New Order and Maxine Peake, as well as digital editions of some of Manchester’s biggest club nights.

Our City Speaks was hosted by Contact Board member, City of Literature Community Engagement Manager and regular artist Reece Williams, and featured a mix of sets specially pre-recorded for the night, as well as solo artists appearing live at United We Stream’s studio located at The Met, Bury, which has been specially constructed for socially distanced live broadcasting.

You can watch the event in full here.


Manchester City of Literature Connects

To make sure Manchester residents and beyond can still access all the amazing events, offers, resources and activities that the Manchester literature scene has put online during the pandemic, Manchester City of Literature has created A City Connects. A place for all of these activities to go in one place, so you have a calendar view of everything on offer; whether you want to support our indie publishers, attend an online spoken word night, submit your writing to competitions or find activities for children and young people.

You’ll find more info on social media using #MCRCityofLitConnects as well.

Tartu City of Literature Residency

A photograph of a building in Tartu
The call for applications is now open and this time for both periods (April-May and October-November). One writer/translator will be selected for each period. The deadline is 21 February 2020. Writers and translators of Estonian literature from all parts of the world can apply.


The 2020 International Residency Program in Kraków, Poland

Krakow City Of Literature is looking for emerging writers, poets and journalists willing to explore the literary atmosphere of the city.

Krakow Miasto Literatury UNESCO, Fot. Tomasz Wiech

Since receiving the title of UNESCO Creative City of Literature, Krakow has worked tirelessly to provide excellent opportunities for young writers and rising talents from the Cities of Literature that belong to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. With the aim of developing interconnections, boosting mobility, and offering professionalization services for writers, the Krakow Residency Program is now open for applications.

They offer a full paid two-month residency in Villa Decius in two periods:

  • 1 May – 30 June
  • 1 September – 31 October each for two writers.

The call for applications closes on 29 February 2020.


LitTransformer 2020, Literary Translation Programme in Lviv, Ukraine

Photograph of a Lit Transformer event space
Lviv City of Literature is delighted to open a call for the 2nd International Translation Workshop, LitTransformer 2020, that will take place in Lviv, Ukraine, between 30 May and 8 June. This year the workshop programme will be structured around the theme Translating the City and aims to foster collaboration among translators representing various UNESCO Cities of Literature.

The literary translation workshop LitTransformer 2020is open to two groups:
active advanced translators and university professors and lecturers in translation with relevant practical experience, and young emerging literary translators, professionals or recent graduates of university programs in translation or translation studies who will benefit from the collaboration with advanced translators.
The eligible applicants should meet the following language requirements:

  • a mother tongue or near-native competence of the language other than English
  • advanced or proficient level of English.

LitTransformer 2020 will host up to two participants, one advanced and one emerging literary translator, from each UNESCO City of Literature.

Lviv UNESCO City of Literature will cover the accommodation and board however transportation costs would need to be covered by the successful applicants.

Deadline for applications is 20 March 2020.


Writer in the Park, Literary Residency in Ljubljana

poster of the event
Ljubljana, a UNESCO City of Literature since 2015, offers two one-month residencies for writers at the Švicarija/Swisshouse Creative Centre in May and November, 2020 (one month per residency/applicant).

The residency is aimed at published writers with a palpable relation with any of the other UNESCO Cities of Literature that has to be apparent and described as part of the application. Each resident will receive a grant of 1,000 euros towards travel and living expenses and will stay in their own, separate and fully equipped apartment with kitchenette.

Your completed application form should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Originating UNESCO City of Literature
  • Relation to originating UNESCO City of Literature
  • Books published (most recent; at least one; if translated, list languages)
  • Current interests and projects (up to 150 words)
  • What will you most likely focus on during the residency: manuscript/project/networking/other
  • Preferred month (May/November/no preference)

Please send completed applications (in Doc or PDF format) to
Contact this email or call +386 41 541 306 in case of any queries.

Deadline for applications: 29 February 2020


2020 Bucheon Residency

2020 Bucheon Recidency poster

Bucheon has announced its first International residency program, for two artists of writers, translators, cartoonists, and graphic novel artists– coming from our Creative Cities in the UNESCO Network regardless of their creative field, also newcomers included, in 2020.

The residency period will be about from July to August 2020 (TBC)
Deadline for sending applications is 28 February 2020


Ulyanovsk International Literary Residency 2020

Ulyanovsk poster - international literary residency 2020
Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature announces the International Literary Residency open call for writers and artists from the UNESCO Literary Cities Network. The program was opened in 2019, the poet Andrej Hochevar from Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the poet David Howard from Dunedin (New Zealand) were the first guests of the residency. Ulyanovsk is a city with a great literary history, located on the banks of the widest Volga River. You’ll work in the homeland of the great Russian writer Ivan Goncharov (author of the famous novel “Oblomov”), the poet Nikolay Yazykov, the historian and writer Nikolay Karamzin, etc.

Dates of residency: 1-30 September 2020 (one resident).
Deadline to submit applications: 30 April 2020


Reykjavik City Of Literature Writer’s Residency October 2020


Applications are open for the 2020 Reykjavík City of Literature Writer‘s Residency. This residency is open to writers of children‘s fiction from other UNESCO Cities of Literature.Gröndal‘s House

The residency will be for one author for a month in October 2020, in connection with the Reykjavík International Children‘s Literature Festival. Children‘s fiction here can include poetry, prose, theatre and screenwriting (note that the 2020 European Film Awards – EFA – will be handed out in Reykjavík). The deadline for applications is 1 March 2020.


Milan Residency Program for a Publisher, a Bookseller and a Librarian March 2020


Milan City of Literature announces their first Residency Program aimed at operators in the book industry: one publisher, one bookseller and one librarian from another UNESCO City Of Literature.Milan City of Literature poster

The residency program is the result of Milan’s role in the publishing sector: considered the Italian capital of publishing, the city hosts 51% of publishing houses throughout Italy, as well as various foundations, publishing agencies and professional associations. Travel expenses and accommodation are covered by Milan. The duration of the residency is 10 days from 9 to 19 March 2020. The deadline for applications is 19 January 2020.


11 cities announced by UNESCO as new Cities of Literature


Congratulations to the 11 cities announced by UNESCO as new Cities of Literature!Photograph of Singapore's 'garden by the bay' lit up at night.

A warm welcome from all the partners at Manchester City of Literature. Manchester was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2017 and the city’s publishers, universities and literary organisations have already benefitted from the international links the Creative Cities Network bring. Manchester City of Literature is proud to be an active member of the Cities of Literature Network which now totals 39 committed and diverse partners around the globe.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 246 cities.

We look forward to celebrating and showcasing stories from the 11 newly designated UNESCO Cities of Literature. The UNESCO Cities of Literature is a leading collaborative network of 39 cities with a shared goal to develop and promote the role of literature and creativity in our cities. It brings together a wide range of cultural professionals to share and inspire each other, strengthen exchanges, promote freedom of speech and further develop frameworks for collaboration in key areas

The member cities that form part of the Network come from all continents and regions with different income levels and populations. They work together towards a common mission: placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Read the full announcement on the UNESCO website


Manchester City of Literature appoints its first Executive Director


Manchester City of Literature is excited to share the news that Ivan Wadeson has been appointed as the organisation’s first Executive Director.

In this brand new and varied role, Ivan’s work will include creating and managing a new Executive Office to coordinate the UNESCO City of Literature designation, whilst developing and strengthening partnerships across Manchester and with other international Creative Cities, to bring in new funding and engage new audiences in Manchester’s cultural life.

Working closely with the board of trustees, Ivan will drive the realisation of Manchester City of Literature’s vision of: An innovative, distinctive, equitable, globally connected city of reading and writing, where diverse voices are celebrated, where creative talent and industries are nurtured and where literary activity changes lives.

Ivan brings over 25 years’ experience working at a senior level in the cultural sector, working across many art forms to develop partnerships, engage the public and develop artistic programmes. He is currently Partnerships Director at Dance Consortia North West, working with venues, dance agencies, universities, dance companies and independent artists to create and support a flourishing dance ecology across the region. Ivan will draw on the experience of working for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Arts about Manchester, All About Audiences and The Dukes in Lancaster, and of driving the formation of national charity The Audience Agency in 2012. Ivan is also a Trustee of cultural education charity Curious Minds, a Fellow of the RSA and has lived in Manchester for over twenty years.

I am delighted to be leading the new charity charged with delivering the benefits of the UNESCO City of Literature designation. I have a lifelong interest in literature and literacy and an abiding commitment to engaging individuals and communities in the creative arts. Manchester City of Literature’s values and ambitions around diversity, democracy and inclusion resonate strongly with my own. I look forward to working with Manchester City of Literature’s many partners and communities to develop readers and audiences alongside writers and artists and to promote Manchester as a home for written and spoken word locally and on a global platform”.


Ivan Wadeson

I am delighted Ivan has taken the helm of Manchester City of Literature. His experienced hands will steer our new organisation to a fabulous new chapter in the city’s literary development. I am honoured to be working alongside him to turn our city’s ambitious vision literally into reality.”


Zahid Hussain, Chair of Manchester City of Literature

Ivan’s appointment represents a major and exciting step forward in Manchester’s journey to realise the potential of its UNESCO City of Literature designation. Ivan brings a wealth of experience to the role and Manchester City Council looks forward to working with him and partners across the city to celebrate the diverse range of voices in our city, widen participation in cultural activities and raise the profile of Manchester on the world stage.


Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council

Ivan will begin work with Manchester City of Literature in October.


New Chairperson appointed to lead Manchester City of Literature


Manchester City of Literature is pleased to announce the appointment of Manchester based novelist, poet and screenwriter Zahid Hussain as the first Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Zahid will lead the Board of the new organisation at this very exciting time, as it begins its work to celebrate the diverse voices of our city and maximise the benefits that our UNESCO City of Literature designation can bring.

“I am profoundly honoured and thrilled to be part of Manchester City of Literature. The UNESCO designation offers us the unmissable opportunity to demonstrate the depth of the Manchester Spirit. Manchester has so much to offer and across so many diverse spheres from sport to science. The City of Literature status grants us a platform to weave the voices of the city together from Wythenshawe to Blackley, Chorlton to Gorton. More than anything else, I believe Manchester City of Literature will give us the chance to share and amplify the stories that make Manchester the awesome place it is.”


Zahid Hussain.


A former North West Poetry Slam champion, Zahid has performed at venues such as Manchester’s Green Room and Contact Theatre and has regularly featured on BBC Radio. His debut novel ‘The Curry Mile’ was named by New Statesman as one of their books of the year in 2006.

Zahid will bring a wealth of experience to the role and shares Manchester’s vision for an inclusive and diverse City of Literature. The founder of Manchester Muslim writers (the only collective of Muslim writers in the UK) and a trustee of the Black Training and Enterprise Group for over a decade, Zahid also founded ‘Young Shakespeares’ to teach creative writing to young people and set up the first BAME football league in Manchester.

Most recently Zahid has worked with Read Manchester, Manchester Libraries and local residents to create the innovative multilingual poem ‘Made in Manchester’, celebrating the city’s 200 spoken languages. The poem currently includes lines in 65 languages, including British Sign Language, and is intended to be a living art work that embraces Manchester’s diverse communities and newcomers from across the globe.

The text of the poem is on display now in Central Library and is highlighted in a video which can be viewed online.

“We are thrilled at Zahid’s appointment, which is a major milestone for the city’s UNESCO designation. Zahid is passionate about literature, about ensuring the voices of communities across Manchester are heard, and about bringing the city together through inclusive engagement. He shares Manchester’s vision for an inclusive and diverse City of Literature that truly celebrates and represents the people of Manchester. Manchester City Council looks forward to working with Zahid, the new Manchester City of Literature organisation and partners across the city to ensure that our residents reap the benefits of our UNESCO designation.”


Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council.


“Manchester has a proud literary voice as highlighted by its designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Zahid Hussain will bring his extensive knowledge of the city and its many and varied neighbouring places to his role as Chair of Manchester City of Literature and will help to ensure that literature and diversity are at the heart of the City of Literature activities.”


Alison Clark, Director North, Arts Council England.