10 books to read by authors participating in Festival of Libraries 2022 

7 June 2022 - News
Throughout the Festival of Libraries 2022, you will see renowned authors visiting libraries throughout Greater Manchester to talk about all things books, literature and most importantly, what it is all about… Libraries that are special to them.

Get to know some of them a little better before the festival through some of their published work! Here are a few amazing examples to get you started. 


1) Danielle Jawando: When Our Worlds Collided

Danielle Jawando is a local author from Manchester who uses her hometown’s city centre as the backdrop to this novel,  where we are introduced to three teenagers who are brought together in the aftermath of a crime. Through their lives, we see the pressures that young adults face while navigating a world that they aren’t yet fully grown into. We also see the versatility in the forms that injustice and inequality can take. If you’re a native or residing Mancunion, then this is a great choice for a potentially new but familiar voice!

Danielle is hosting workshops with our Readers in Residence across the Festival of Libraries and we can’t wait to share all the amazing work that comes out of them.


2) Susan Stokes Chapman: Pandora

Susan Stokes Chapman gently interweaves contexts of Greek mythology and Georgian London into the narrative of Dora Blake, who seeks out the answers to questions she asks about the arrival of a Greek vase to the antique store, now run by her uncle. Suspense, mystery and intrigue fill the pages as, with the help of accomplice Edward, Dora unsettles hidden truths regarding her uncle, her family and herself. 

You can discover Pandora as we talk live and interactive with highly acclaimed debut author Susan Stokes-Chapman during the Festival of Libraries at Oldham Library.


3) Lara Williams: The Odyssey

Follow Ingrid as she tours around while working on a luxury cruise liner in Williams’ newest novel. Details of the life Ingrid left behind are peppered throughout the book between witty, satirical and endearing commentary on all the things and people she sees. When she becomes involved in the mentorship programme,  William’s narrative drives us to reflect upon Ingrid’s past, journeying with her to pick up the pieces while more continue to shatter to the ground around her. Join Lara Williams herself to discuss her work at the Manchester Poetry Library during the festival! 


4) Lemn Sissay: My Name is Why

Sissay’s memoir documents the investigation of his own history, recounting memories of his time in social care, the discovery of his real name and his trials within what he found to be a flawed and cruel care system. His story is poignant but determined and willful; transforming his struggle into art by portraying how, even through his sadness and loss, he can reconcile with and cement his identity.

Join Lemn during the festival at his extra special Inspired By Libraries talk at Manchester Central Library.


5) (Edited by) Andrew McMillan and Mary Jean Chan: 100 Queer Poems

Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan’s luminous anthology, 100 Queer Poems, is a celebration of thrilling contemporary voices and visionary poets of the past. Featuring Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Ocean Vuong, Carol Ann Duffy, Kae Tempest and many more.

Encompassing both the flowering of queer poetry over the past few decades and the poets who came before and broke new ground, 100 Queer Poems presents an electrifying range of writing from the twentieth century to the present day.

You really don’t want to miss Andrew in conversation about this exciting new collection at Manchester Poetry Library during the Festival of Libraries.


6) Joanna Williams: The Great Miss Lydia Becker: Suffragist, Scientist and Trailblazer 

Joanna Williams takes the reader through the life of one of history’s most influential figures, Lydia Becker. Read through the details of one woman’s life as she battled through scrutiny while debating the rights of women’s ability to partake in academic education, working rights and the right to vote. The story of Lydia Becker’s goes on past her living life, as it continued through the lives of those involved in the suffragette movement. To understand the accomplishments of Miss Lydia Becker is to understand the need for continued debate and protest as Williams allows us to reflect on the progress made and the progress still to be made. 

Don’t miss a live interview with Joanna at Manchester Central Library during the festival, plus if you love this book we know you will love Trailblazers: Women of Manchester and the North West on the 18th June 1-4pm too!


7) Chris Simms: Sing Me to Sleep

The beautiful scenes of the Peak District take on a twisted and ominous identity as we follow the lonely story of Laura, her absent husband and the rural, secluded cottage which they inhabit. The unsettling presence of birdsong rings in Laura’s ears, among other noises which she disregards as Tinnitus. Brimming with mystery, tension and an eerie looming between reads, Sing Me to Sleep is the perfect introduction to Chris Simm’s literary collection. 

Join Chris for a live reading at Marple Library in Stockport on 16th June from 7pm.


8) Jackie Kay: Wish I Was Here 

This collection of short stories explores the many facets of love, through the lens of individuals who reflect on a love moved on, or left behind. The characters include new mothers, unhappy fathers and flaky partners who describe the tender, brave, sensual and heartbreaking avenues which love can navigate. Kay’s stories delve into the ordinary waves of love and relationships through extraordinary narratives in these unafraid stories.

Jackie will be in conversation with artist Abigail Reynolds to discuss how they’ve been inspired by libraries in their work and lives on 16th June during the festival, you can get tickets for the event here.


9) Greg Jenner: A Million Years in a Day – A Curious History of Daily Life 

View the concept of the everyday through historian Greg Jenner’s eyes, as he discusses the mundanities involved in the make-up of our time spent living day by day and hour by hour, such as eating, conversing, washing, and more! Jenner’s witty telling of our evolutionary process of waking to sleeping is a fun prompt to ask the questions of the ordinary, like why we do the things the way that we do them, and how through history we got to this point. 

Greg will feature at Urmston Library in Trafford on 15th June from 7.30pm if you just can’t get enough!


10) David Nolan: The Mermaid’s Pool

If you like your crime fiction gritty, realistic and set in familiar places around Greater Manchester, this is the book for you! Better still you can join us on 15th June at Bredbury Library for an evening with David Nolan as he talks about his ‘Manc Noir’ style crime novels and takes questions from the audience.


You can book tickets and find out more about all of these events below. Now get reading!