Altrincham Word Fest online 2020 is accompanied throughout October by the short film, ‘Sticks and Stones’ created by filmmaker Kevin Linnane.


Programme 2020


Another Evening with author David Nolan

1st October (Thursday) 7:00-8:00 on Zoom

Local writer, broadcaster and ‘King of Manc Noir’, David Nolan, was a big hit last year when he discussed his first novel ‘Black Moss’ and his other writing with David Prior of Altrincham Today. David Nolan is back for 2020, this time to talk about his ‘difficult’ second novel. It’s finished but will it find a publisher? All will be revealed on the 1st of October!

Carolyn O'Brien school visit

Historical fiction with Carolyn O’Brien, author of ‘Song of Peterloo’

2nd October (Friday) 7:00-8:00 on Zoom

Carolyn is an Altrincham resident and ‘The Song of Peterloo’ is her first novel. It was published in 2019, the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, and received great reviews. Carolyn will be reading from her novel and talking about researching and writing historical fiction. You can watch the event on YouTube here below. 



Finding the Voice: poetry writing and performance with Reshma Ruia

3rd October (Saturday) 10:30-12:30 on Zoom

 Reshma Ruia is an award winning writer and poet, also a regular performer at spoken word events in the Manchester area. Her first novel, ‘Something Black in the Lentil Soup’, was described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy.’ Her writing has appeared in many publications and her stories have also been commissioned by and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A poem from her latest poem collection ‘A Dinner Party in the Home Counties’ will feature in the GCSE and A Level curriculum. In this writing workshop Reshma will help you to find your creative voice and prepare you for sharing your work with a larger audience. The workshop will employ writing prompts on a wide variety of poetic/short story themes. Reshma will discuss techniques used to enhance performance, such as intonation, tone, tempo, and volume.

Neil Campbell


Writing workshop : ‘Autobiographical Fiction’ with Neil Campbell

3rd October (Saturday) 3:00-5:00 on Zoom

Neil Campbell is an acclaimed Manchester writer and creative writing lecturer who recently published ‘Lanyards’, the last in his Manchester trilogy. Neil’s novels are examples of autobiographical fiction and he will be delivering a workshop for writers interested in this genre. 

C. D. Rose


Dancing About Architecture-Writing through music, with C. D. Rose

4th October (Sunday) 2:00-4:00 on Zoom

 There’s an old saying (attributed to Frank Zappa, or Elvis Costello, or Thelonius Monk, or none ofthese people) which  goes ‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ It doesn’t actually matter who said it, because it’s not true! Writing about music can be a wonderful thing, a pleasure as great as the music itself. This workshop will look at how it can be done. We’re not going to look at reviewing records (though that may be part of it), or remembering your favourite concerts (though that may be part of it, too), or musical analysis (though I wouldn’t entirely write that off, either) – we won’t be writing ‘about’ music, as such, but around it, or through it, or – even – against it. We will have a look at a few short texts, and you will have a go at a number of short activities – in prose and verse – to experiment with writing on music. You will get a chance to share what you come up with, and get suggestions on how it can be developed.


Sarah-Clare Conlon landscape June 2017. By Gwen Riley Jones


An Evening of Flash Fiction with Sarah-Clare Conlon

6th October (Tuesday) 7:00-8:30 on Zoom

Sarah-Clare Conlon is writer-in-residence at Manchester’s Victoria Baths and an award-winning creator of flash fiction. Sarah-Clare will perform some of her short-short stories of no more than 500 words and invite the audience to share their own ‘micro’ writing. 


Love Bites book pic


Writing on Music :Love Bites – An anthology of short stories inspired by Buzzcocks

8th October (Thursday) 7:00-8:30 on Zoom

Love Bites is a book which set out to be about the music of the Buzzcocks, but ended up becoming much more – it’s about growing up, getting old, being in love, being out of love, and the joy and mystery you can find in old 7 inch singles. It is fiercely experimental, and fantastically accessible. Love Bites will be our starting point for an evening discussing music, writing and everything else in between. Guest writers, Tom Jenks, Sarah-Clare Conlon will be talking about the role of music in their work, and reading excerpts. You are invited to bring along your own pieces from the Dancing About Architecture workshop

The evening will be hosted by author and Buzzcocks fan, C. D. Rose, who was the driving force behind ‘Love Bites’ an anthology of short stories inspired by Manchester band, ‘ Buzzcocks’.


Shining Molly poster


‘Shining Molly’ with Jonathan Swinton

24th October (Saturday)19:30-20:30 on ZoomO

‘One cannot go on forever being the bright little darling of brilliant men’. With these words, the twentieth century psychologist Molly Harrower started to turn her life around. Word Fest welcomes back local publisher and writer Jonathan Swinton along with performer Emma Anderson and director Jyothi Kuna to explore how Molly did it. Last year we were engrossed by Jonathan’s talk about his 2019 book ‘Alan Turing’s Manchester’ and this year we have invited him back to hear about ‘Shining Molly’, his autobiography of this remarkable twentieth century woman. During lockdown Jonathan, Emma and Jyothi have gone further and developed a new collaborative theatre piece ‘Shining Molly’. Join us to hear about women in psychology and in love in the twentieth century; creating a theatre production in a twenty-first century pandemic and a preview of the performance.


‘The New Abject’ launch with Lara Williams and Sarah Schofield

29th October (Thursday) 8:00-9:00 on Zoom

The New Abject cover photo


Something has fallen away. We have lost something of ourselves, our history, what we once were. That something, if we are to face it, look it squarely in the eyes, terrifies us, makes us wretched. This is the horror of the abject. Following the success of Comma’s award-winning New Uncanny anthology – which asked fiction writers to create new stories updating our understanding of Freud’s ‘unheimlich’ – The New Abject asks leading authors to produce new stories of modern unease that respond to that other psychoanalytic theory of horror. Altrincham Word Fest welcomes Lara Williams and Sarah Schofiled, two of the many brilliant contributers of ‘The New Abject’ to celebrate the launch of their book.

You can now order ‘The New Abject’ from Comma Press