Writing, Place and the Creative City

  • DATE

    11 June 2024

  • TIME

    5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome




    Manchester Poetry Library
    Manchester Metropolitan University, Cavendish Street, Manchester, M15 3BG

This inaugural lecture presents insights and case studies from a career-long preoccupation with the relationship between writing and place, beginning with early colonial America, and arriving most recently at a Manchester hospital community in the 75th anniversary year of the NHS.

A common thread in this work is an insistence that writing never reflects or captures a ‘sense of place’; it generates one. Place is always polyvocal, always experienced and spoken of in a multitude of ways, and place writing, even when supposedly ‘critical’, creates place by choosing which past and present voices to amplify, which experiences to represent. The lecture will consider the implications of this argument for the literary heritage of Manchester -what we think we know, what we might discover, and what we might create- and for the UNESCO City of Literature partnership’s vision of a city where ‘where reading and writing help build a fairer society’.

Jess Edwards is Professor of Place Writing and Head of the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan University. A founding member of the Department’s Centre for Place Writing, his research has dealt consistently over two decades with the relationship between writing and place in a range of contexts and historical periods. His most recent work has focused on the contemporary uses of literature and creative writing to reinforce or challenge established ideas of place-based identity in contexts from rural landscapes to hyperdiverse cities.

John McCauliffe Professor of Poetry at the University of Manchester and Associate Publisher at Carcanet. He directs the University of Manchester’s Creative Manchester research platform, which convenes and develops interdisciplinary research and civic partnerships in the areas of creative industries, creative health and civic futures. His books include versions of Bosnian poet Igor Klikovac, Stockholm Syndrome (Smith Doorstop, 2018), The Kabul Olympics (Gallery, 2020) and Selected Poems (Gallery 2021; Wake Forest 2022).