Re-writing Longsight

Head shot of Hafsah Aneela Bashir

Head shot of Isaiah Hull

  • Head shot of Hafsah Aneela Bashir
  • Head shot of Isaiah Hull

Two of the region's fastest rising poetry stars Hafsah Aneela Bashir and Isaiah Hull are taking up residency in Longsight this spring/summer, as part of a new project called ‘Re-writing Longsight’ by Manchester Literature Festival, a co-commission with Manchester City Council Libraries.

They will both involve local residents in the creation of specially commissioned poetry exploring the beating heart of the city. Longsight Library, part of Manchester Libraries vibrant Creative Spaces initiative, will host the residencies and their newly commissioned work will be premiered there as part of Manchester Literature Festival in October 2019.

Isaiah Hull’s debut collection Nosebleeds, a witty and acerbic exploration of urban life, was recently published by Wrecking Ball Press and his first EP BeforeBleeds was launched last summer. A member of Young Identity, Isaiah is a commanding presence on stage. He appeared in front of thousands at the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend 2016, brought his idiosyncratic take on modern life to TedX Manchester, and hosted Longsight Library’s ‘This Vibrant Thing’ festival in 2018.

Isaiah will be in residence at Longsight Library on Tuesdays 21st and 28th May and Tuesday 4th June, from 4pm till 8pm, and would love for local people to drop in for a conversation with him. He’s interested in finding out more about the history of Longsight and people’s stories about migration to the area. Isaiah is particularly keen to speak to young people about their experiences of living in the area.

Poet and playwright Hafsah Aneela Bashir is a founder and co-director of the arts collective Outside The Frame Arts, platforming voices from outside the mainstream. Her acclaimed one woman show Cuts of the Cloth, exploring Muslim women’s relationship with the Hijab and the impact of the war on terror, was a highlight of this year’s Push Festival. A passionate performer, she wowed audiences at last year’s Manchester Literature Festival with the launch of her debut poetry collection The Celox And The Clot.

Through a series of conversations with local residents, Hafsah will be channeling the spirit and dreams of Longsight’s diverse community, and weaving the stories she uncovers into poetic reflections of the area’s people and history. Hafsah will be inviting participants from local community groups to share a curry and a conversation with her at Anmol café in Longsight. As Hafsah says, “Food may nourish your body but community nourishes the soul. In sharing stories and food with local people I hope to get to know the Longsight they know, and get a feel for the fabric of the place.”

She also invites local residents to join in the conversation by finding and responding to one of her channeh chat ‘menus’ that will be placed in key locations around the area, and bringing their filled in ‘menus’ to the front desk at Longsight Library.

Re-Writing Longsight is supported by Arts Council England Project Grant awarding funds from the National Lottery and Manchester Central Library Development Trust.