Two pamphlets featuring writing by the local community in Greater Manchester have been published this Libraries Week, following writer residencies at the inaugural Festival of Libraries 2021.
Poets Anjum Malik and Ella Otomewo were Writers in Residence at the Festival, held 9-13th June 2021.
As part of their residencies with the festival they were paired with a local library and a community group to create work inspired by libraries and the experiences, hopes and dreams the community had for them.
Anjum Malik, script writer, poet and lecturer working at Manchester Metropolitan University was paired with Bolton Library and a regular writing group who meet there called the Bolton Library Wordsmiths. Over the course of six weeks, together they wrote about their memories of the library.
Ella Otomewo is a poet and activist who was paired with Oldham Library as part of the residency. Ella worked with local community group Fatima Women’s Association who aim to empower women, young people and children in Oldham with educational and recreational activities in the local area. The pamphlet, called ‘Our Voices’, also features an original poem by Ella Otomewo inspired by Oldham Library.
Both groups have created pamphlets of writing documenting the themes explored in the residencies. Manchester City of Literature and the Festival of Libraries team are so happy to publish these experiences of libraries in this way, and hope more work will be created as a result of the new partnerships.
The pamphlets were designed by Vicky Stevenson, an artist based in Manchester. Vicky also runs a queer feminist zine and book store called Pen Fight. Please find more of Vicky’s work, store, and follow her here: vickylikesdrawing.com / penfightdistro.com / @PenFightMCR.
You can download both pamphlets below, and find them distributed for free via the libraries in Greater Manchester.