Chorlton Book Festival returns for it’s 17th year this September. Here’s a list of some of the brilliant author events, spoken word nights, local history tours and family fun days for you. All events are free and at Chorlton Library unless another venue is listed.

Friday 17th September 7.45–9.30pm

The Manchester Poets, with guest poet Fokkina McDonnell 

The Manchester poets have delivered diverse and exciting poetry for over 40 years. Hundred of guest poets have performed there, while many more have found their voice on the open mic. (doors open at 7.30pm)

£3/£1 pay on the door.

Saturday 18 September 10-4pm 

Family Fun Saturday

Our famous and fabulous family fun days return to Chorlton Library, with stories and creativity for all. It really is a family affair today, as our special guests are mother and daughter Sally and Maddie Penni, co-authors of Rosie and The Unicorn.

They’ll talk about diversity, inclusivity – and plenty of magic! There’ll be unicorn-themed crafts too. Everyone is welcome, but places are limited. ​Children under eight must be accompanied by an adult. 

Sally and Maddie, 11-12noon, Craft sessions, 1-2pm, 2.30-3.30pm.  Pop in the library or call 0161 227 3700 to book the author event or a craft sessions.

Sunday 19 September 7-8.30pm

Northern Noir: Saima Mir & Karen Woods Online Event

There’s nowhere quite like the North as a setting for murder and misdeeds. Join host Rob Parker as he chats with authors Saima Mir and Karen Woods.

Bradford’s Saima Mir is an award-winning journalist and author of The Khan, a gripping, multi-faceted thriller. Jia Khan is a successful lawyer, forced to face her family’s background in organised crime when her father is murdered.

Proud Mancunian Karen Woods came to writing a little later in life and uses her own experiences in her work. Now with 22 novels under her belt, she writes from the heart, about subjects we can all relate to. 

Book free tickets here.

Sunday 19 September, 2–3pm

Chorlton Local History Walk, with Andrew Simpson. Meet at the top of Beech Road and Barlow Moor Road.

Chorlton’s favourite historian talks a stroll along the Beech Road of 1847. Along the way there will be tales of dark deeds, mixed with the everyday life of agricultural workers and their families. He’ll also give a nod to the posher residents, who had to be treated with utmost politeness!

£7.50, including refreshments at the Dressing Room Café after the walk. 

Book your tickets here.

Monday 20 September, 8–9.30pm

An Evening Out with Flapjack Press. The Edge Theatre, Chorlton.

Join the award-winning wordsmiths of Flapjack Press for an evening of performance poetry. Clap in wonder at their words! Gasp in awe at their stagecraft! Cheer in joy at their passion! Relate in rapture to their themes! Faint in surprise at seeing something not on Zoom!

Yes, we’re back out ‘n’ about after a year and a half of staying in. Do please join us to help celebrate the region’s release, relief and its rich heritage of spoken word performance.

Starring Rose Condo, Rob Steventon, Anna Percy, Thick Richard, Geneviève L. Walsh and Tony Curry. 

Book free tickets here.

​Tuesday 21 September, 7–8pm

Chris Hall: The Nurse who Became a Spy.

On the wall of 34 Manchester Road, there is a plaque dedicated to Madge Addy. A former hairdresser, she served as a nurse in the Spanish Civil War and became a special agent in France in World War II.

​Chris Hall’s book The Nurse who Became a Spy, tells her remarkable story. Chris is a historian, trade unionist, librarian and expert on the Spanish Civil War. He uncovered Madge Addy’s story and led the campaign for the plaque.

He’s the author of books including Disciplina Camaradas and In Spain with Orwell, and a member of the International Brigade Memorial Trust. 

Book free tickets here.

Wednesday 22 September, 7-8pm

An Evening with Gill Darling.

Gill Darling grew up in Leicestershire and graduated from the University of York with a degree in Economics and Statistics. She lives in Whalley Range and works as an accountant in the charity sector.

​In 2015 she was selected as a fiction mentee in the Jerwood-Arvon mentoring scheme and was published in their anthology, Whisper the Wrong Name.

​Her debut novel, Erringby, “plays along fault lines of class, family and sexuality with a cool wit and a compelling, raunchy intelligence” (Ross Raisin). 

Book free tickets here.

Thursday 23 September, 7–8pm

An Evening with Sairish Hussain. Online Event

Sairish’s novel, The Family Tree is the story of an ordinary family and how it’s the extraordinary moments that define us all. Widower Amjad is struggling. He can’t look after two children by himself, and his cooking is dismal. Young Saahil has big plans, but as dreams fall apart and relationships fracture, it’s daughter Zahra who must take charge.

​The Family Tree is the story of a British Muslim family, full of love, laughter and resilience.

Sairish Hussain was born and brought up in Bradford. She has an MA in Creative Writing and is working towards her PhD. 

Book free tickets here

Friday 24 September, 10.30 and 11.30am

Festival Storytime. 

Join the library team for a lively and fun-packed under-fives session, filled with stories, rhymes and actions.

All preschoolers and their parents or carers are welcome, but places are limited.

Pop in the library to put your names down or call 0161 227 3700.

Friday 24 September, 7-8pm

Paul Magrs: The Panda, The Cat and the Dreadful Teddy.

Tired of relentless inspirational wisdom? Craving something a little more truthful? So was author and illustrator Paul Magrs.

His new book, a parody of The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse, is full of foul-mouthed belly laughs for even the darkest times. ​Swear, complain loudly and always protect yourself from self-righteous teddies!

Paul Magrs is the author of several Dr Who novels and audiobooks, and young-adult novels including The Ninnies. He’s also the creator of Iris Wildthyme and the much-loved Brenda and Effie Mysteries

“Nothing beats kindness,” said the cat. “Gin does,” said Panda.” 

Book free tickets here. 18+ only as Panda can be quite rude!

Thursday 23-Saturday 25 September, 7.30pm

Farm. The Edge Theatre, Chorlton.

The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre Manchester Active Youth Theatre present their exciting adaptation of George Orwell’s classic allegorical novel Animal Farm. A story of power, corruption and the importance of equality, this show will address themes that are still extremely relevant in today’s social climate.

With a fusion of theatrical styles as well as puppetry, song and physical theatre, this show has it all!

Suitable for ages 12+ £12/£10, Book your tickets here.

​​Saturday 25 September 10-4pm

Family Fun Saturday

There’ll be all sorts to do at the library, with stories, crafts and creative fun. Did we mention that it’s all free? Everyone is welcome, but places are limited.

​Children under eight must be accompanied by an adult.

Craft sessions, 1-2pm, 2.30-3.30pm.

Pop in the library or call 0161 227 3700 to book a craft session.

​​Saturday 25 September 

Family Fun Saturday A.M. Dassu: ‘Boy, Everywhere’ Specially Commissioned Video Launch 1pm

We’re delighted to welcome acclaimed writer A. M. Dassu. Her amazing debut novel, Boy, Everywhere (for Year 5+), tells the story of Sami, a 13-year-old boy whose comfortable life in Syria is torn apart when his family is forced to leave for England. From privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, it is a coming-of-age story of friendship, family, belonging and fighting for a better future.

View the video here from 1pm on 25th September 

School Session: Liz Kessler

Here at Chorlton Book Festival, we just love sending authors back to school! This year, we’re delighted to welcome Liz Kessler, who’ll talk to Year 8 classes. Liz is the author of 23 books for children and young adults, including the best-selling series about half-mermaid Emily Windsnap.

Her new novel, When the World Was Ours, was inspired by her father’s childhood escape from the Nazis just before the second world war. Liz currently lives with her wife and dog on a narrowboat on the Macclesfield Canal.

School Session: Matt Goodfellow

We also welcome invited classes to the library to meet all sorts of brilliant authors. It’s educational, entertaining – and it’s always fun! Lots of lucky children will join poet, Matt Goodfellow, as he reads some of his award-winning poetry and helps them begin to write their own poems ‘in your voice, about your life.’

These sessions are for invited primary school classes only. Ask your teachers!