6th - 22nd October 2017

Words & Music

Rockin Rhinos bandWill Shaddock

Jackie Kay at 2014 Manchester Literature FestivalJon Parker Lee

Lemn Sissay performing at Town Hall pointing at ceilingChris Bull

Micahel Symmons Roberts reading at RNCM

  • Rockin Rhinos band
  • Jackie Kay at 2014 Manchester Literature Festival
  • Lemn Sissay performing at Town Hall pointing at ceiling
  • Micahel Symmons Roberts reading at RNCM

In spring 2016 MLF commissioned a new song from Manchester band The Rockin' Rhinos, aimed at getting under 7's excited about books and reading. The resulting song, The Book Song, was performed at Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union on 16th October as part of the 2016 Festival.

Click above to download the lyrics, or watch the performance on the video link below.

Jackie Kay's poem The Imaginary Road was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Jazz Festival as part of The Imaginary Delta, a reimagining of early jazz forms drawing on the work of Bessie Smith. The poem was performed alongside original music composed by Adam Fairhall at Manchester Jazz Festival in July 2014 and at Matt and Phred's during Manchester Literature Festival in October 2014. This project was supported by the Madeline Mabey Trust.

Lemn Sissay was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to write new poems for performance responding to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s era-defining I Have a Dream speech for a celebratory programme co-produced with Manchester Camerata. They were performed at Manchester Town Hall on Saturday 19 October 2013, interspersed between movements of Beethoven’s String Quartet No.13 in B flat, OP. 130, performed by Camerata principal players. You can download the text of the poems and watch films of Lemn performing Belong and Open Up below.

Michael Symmons Roberts was co-commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Camerata to write a sequence of poems, Hotel Splendide, which was performed as part of the Camerata’s Portrait of Music and Words concert at the Royal Northern College of Music on Saturday 15th October 2011.