Inspired by Libraries with Cheddar Gorgeous

  • DATE

    7 June 2023

  • TIME

    6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome




    Chetham's Library
    Long Millgate, Manchester, M3 1SB

Join Manchester icon Cheddar Gorgeous in conversation with Paul Burston for an intimate evening at Chetham’s Library.

Cheddar and Paul will be discussing how they’ve been inspired by libraries and literature in their lives, and how vital these spaces are to the local community. They’ll be discussing their own respective creative practices, plus Paul’s brand new book We Can Be Heroes, will be on sale at the event from local bookshop Queer Lit. Please note that this event will take place at Chetham’s Baronial Hall.


“Our libraries are not only archives of our past, but spaces that encourage word- and world- making.  Library doors are open to everyone and, when we enter, they ask us not only to consider our past but to imagine our future. Through Sci-fi, classics, fantasy, poetry and theory libraries allow us to dream a little bigger. I can’t wait to be involved in Manchester Festival of Libraries this year, and celebrate the endless possibilities that libraries create for us, without expecting anything in return. This festival is a testament to how these spaces are intrinsic to Manchester’s diverse communities, especially as a UNESCO City of Literature.” Cheddar Gorgeous


About Paul Burston

Paul Burston is curator and host of award-winning LGBTQ+ literary salon Polari and founder of the Polari Prize book awards for LGBTQ+ writers, based at the British Library. In 2016, he featured in the British Council’s Global List of ’33 visionary people promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world’. Before turning to journalism, Paul was an AIDS activist with ACT UP London and regularly risked arrest by blocking traffic, occupying the offices of the Australian Embassy and catapulting condoms over the walls of Pentonville Prison. He was arrested many times and stood trial at Bow Street magistrates court, where he was acquitted. In 1990 he became Gay Editor at City Limits and in 1993 he took over the same post at Time Out, where he worked for 20 years, documenting the changing cultural and political landscape. Nominated for a Stonewall Award for his journalism, in 2008 he accepted the award for Publication of the Year for the magazine’s LGBTQ+ coverage.


“I’m thrilled to be part of Manchester Festival of Libraries, discussing literature and queer experiences with Cheddar Gorgeous. I’ve worked with Cheddar once before and have followed their career with great interest. As a former AIDS activist with ACT-UP, I was particularly moved by the pink triangle, Silence = Death statement outfit they wore on Drag Race. I look forward to discussing this and their creative practice past, present and future.” Paul Burston