A TEST SIGNAL Showcase – Celebrating the Very Best of Northern Writing

  • DATE

    15 November 2021

  • TIME

    6:45 pm to 8:30 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome




    Blackwell's Bookshop Manchester
    University Green, 146 Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9GP

We are the North! With ground-breaking new authors, a thriving independent publishing scene and vibrant grass-roots networks, the North is driving a revolution in new literature. TEST SIGNAL showcases the best of its talent, from every corner of the region and across all its vibrant genres. Some contributors are well-known established names, others are newcomers; all of them are part of the new northern writing scene.

We’re delighted to be welcoming seven of the contributors to the shop to read from their work and discuss the anthology and the importance of northern voices with host Helen Mort. Reading on the night will be: Adam Farrer, Jane Claire Bradley, Lara Williams, Laura Bui, Melissa Wan, Robert Williams and Tawseef Khan.

Doors: 6.30pm, event starts: 6.45pm

Adam Farrer is a writer and the editor of the creative nonfiction journal and spoken word event series The Real Story. His first book, Cold Fish Soup, a memoir in essays about the Yorkshire coast, won the NorthBound Book Award at the 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards and is set for publication next year.

Jane Claire Bradley is a queer working-class writer, therapist and educator as well as founder and director of For Books’ Sake, the non-profit dedicated to championing women and non-binary writers. She is the winner of the Northern Debut Award for her first novel and has been longlisted for the Myslexia Novel Competition.

Lara Williams is the author of Treats and Supper Club. Treats was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Edinburgh First Book Award and the Saboteur Awards and longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize , and Supper Club won the Guardian ‘Not the Booker’ Prize, was named as a Book of the Year 2019 by TIME and Vogue, and has been translated into six languages. Her new book The Odyssey is due April 2022.

Laura Bui teaches and researches criminology at the University of Manchester. Her writing received a 2017 Northern Witers’ TLC New Fiction Prize from New Writing North.

Melissa Wan was awarded the inaugural Crowdfunded BAME Writer’s scholarship to study Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her story ‘The Husband and the Wife Go to the Seaside’ was published by Bluemoose Books and reprinted in Salt’s Best British Short Stories. She is currently completing a collection of stories.

Robert Williams grew up in Clitheroe, Lancashire and currently lives in Manchester. His first novel, Luke and Jon, won a Betty Trask Award, was translated into six languages and called ‘a hugely impressive debut’ in the Daily Telegraph. His second novel, How the Trouble Started, was shortlisted for the Portico Prize for Fiction. Into the Trees is his latest.

Tawseef Khan is a qualified solicitor specialising in immigration and asylum law and a human rights activist with over ten years of experience working on refugee and Muslim issues. In 2016 he obtained a doctoral degree from the University of Liverpool, where his thesis explored the fairness of the British asylum system. He was a recipient of a 2017 Northern Writers Award. In March 2021 he published his first non-fiction book The Muslim Problem: Why We’re Wrong About Islam and Why It Matters.

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985, and grew up in nearby Chesterfield. Five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her first collection, Division Street (2013), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award, and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. In 2014, she was named as a ‘Next Generation Poet’, the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. No Map Could Show Them (2016), her second collection, about women and mountaineering, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her first novel Black Car Burning was longlisted fot the Portico Prize. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Sheffield.