Which Manchester based books help us consider sustainable development? 

18 December 2022 - News
For each of the last 17 days, we’ve been posting a different book on our social media that we believe represents one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

These goals are at the heart of every decision we make, so they’re pretty key to how we run as a charity. As a UNESCO City of Literature, we think these books are excellent connections to each goal.

Here is the complete list of each of our #17BooksFor17SDGs from December.


SDG 1 – No Poverty
Pauper Policies – Samantha A. Shave from Manchester University Press.

This books examines old and New Poor Law, discussing aspects often overlooked by researchers, such as the impact of national scandals.


SDG 2 – Zero Hunger
The Politics of Hunger – Carl J Griffin from Manchester University Press

Malnutrition was rife throughout Britain and starvation in Ireland. Griffin examines this and how hunger was used as a tool to govern.


SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing
The Big J vs The Big C – Janine Booth from Flapjack Press

A collection of journal extracts, poetry and research, taking us from cancer detection to diagnosis, to surgery, to “getting over it”.


SDG 4 – Quality Education
Storm Horse – Jane Elson from Hachette Children’s Group

Four children, due to neurodivergence and poverty, struggle at school, but access education through a horse. Education is only quality if it is for everyone


SGD 5 – Gender Equality
Ma is Scared – Anjali Kajal (translated by Kavita Bhanot) from Comma Press.

These short stories explore female experience in small towns of North India; the negotiations of love, silence, desire and abuse throuh relationships, motherhood, university and work.


SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation 
A Recipe for Water – Gillian Clarke from Carcanet Press.

A drop of water “was the first word in the world”. These poems explore how water is memory and meaning, it is stories from both pasts both personal and collective.


SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy 
The Spatial Contract – Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith and Stephen Hall, from Manchester University Press.

Very few of us are actually self-reliant. If politicians only discuss what gets votes and economists what drives growth, systems we rely on, like energy, are ignored.


SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth 
The Race to the Top – Nazir Afzal from HarperNorth.

Is it acceptable that in the UK in 2022 there are no global majority chief constables, CEOs in the top 50 NHS Trusts or permanent secretaries in the civil service?


SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 
Lost and Imagined Manchester – Jonathon Schofield from MCR Books.

This book tells us about more than 50 Manchester buildings that were either lost or grandly imagined, but never built.



SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities 
Demos Rising from Fly on the Wall Press.

Amongst current and historic injustice, the voices of people in need of democracy and freedom of speech are elevated by 29 international creatives.


SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communications 
Best of Friends – Kamila Shamsie from Bloomsbury Circus.

A story of friendship over time, the work chosen communities take and the way outer powers change them.


SGD 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production 
Supper Club – Lara Williams from Penguin.

Fed up of being hungry a group of women meet to feast and dance in the night, but their desires start to expand beyond gorging.


SDG 13 – Climate Change 
We Saw it All Happen – Julian Bishop from Fly on the Wall Press.

Out on 13th January 2023, this Ecopoetry collection brings climate change to life, showcasing not only the changing of our planet, but humanity’s attitude towards that.


SDG 14 – Life Below Water
Under the Sea from Fly on the Wall Press.

16 international creatives explore the deep. Women falling for the tides; whales joyously dance; Creatures growing sea urchin hearts, while others eat human ones.


SDG 15 – Life on Land 
Nidae’s Promise – Jill Hopkins from Seven Arches publishing.

If a swallow doesn’t keep a promise it will die. Nidae makes the journey across continents after promising to find a cure for young Jamie’s illness.


SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 
Scales of Injustice – Lōa Hô (translated by Darryl Sterk) from Honford Star.

As a doctor during the colonial period of Taiwan, Lōa’s complete fiction show his social insight and sense of justice.


SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals 
All In – Lisa Nandy from HarperNorth.

How do we build a country that works? This book shows a way out of Britain’s crisis drawing on each other for a more equal and fair country. 



we spent December connecting #Manchester books thr The UN’s 17SDGs. how do you think we did? #17booksfor17sdgs #unesco

♬ Sustainable Development Song – Tom Prenderville