Many Moons

Many Moons shows the phases of the moon at the Autumnal Equinox from 23 September 2018 to 22 September 2019. Three hundred and sixty five individual moons, waxing and waning from sickle sliver to full, silvery disc. Seen en masse they allow us to reflect on the cycle of change and repetition through the course of a year.

Traditional folklore has assigned magical properties to the moon in its changing phases: tales of werewolves and madness and the female goddess.  To these, we can now add tales of engineering and scientific achievement, celebrated in this anniversary year of the moon landings.

Take time to gaze at the moon and weave your own magical stories in the silence and stillness of the Savage Tower.

Between a Rock and a Light Place

Below the rock faces of The Roaches sits an ethereal, dense wood where twisted trees and large sandstone boulders create shadows in the darkness.

As part of an ongoing encounters with edgeland spaces, Mike Thorpe makes journeys into the woods, with a portable projector, casting marks, drawings and words onto the night time surfaces of the trees and boulders.

The location is slightly unsettling: the apparent silence at night giving up unexpected sounds and creaks; the underlying currents of local legend and myth; the shifting shapes and forms created by the intervention of projection and light.

The resulting images form an atmospheric animation, with an ambient soundtrack from Danny Thorpe.

35mm slides, prints and collages accompany the animation.

Mike Thorpe is an artist and curator and based in Macclesfield, and part of the twentysevenb studio collective. His practice revolves around a multimedia approach to projects, including: photography; projection; painting; printmaking. He has exhibited in both the NW and SW and is a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists. He is also a trustee of PassionArts, a Manchester-based faith arts charity.

Danny Thorpe is a musician and sound artist.




Alan Turing’s Manchester

The Northwest is proud of Alan Turing but does it deserve to be? In this talk, local writer Jonathan Swinton sheds surprising new light on the last years of Turing’s life after Bletchley Park. The codebreaker and mathematician, who will be the new face of the £50 note, spent most of the 20th century in obscurity, and Manchester, which now adopts him as a patron saint, forgot about him most of all.

Jonathan shows how the divides of Cold War Britain, between men and women, gay and straight, north and south, influenced Turing’s reception. And how one life ended tragically early – in the post-war suburbs – while busy creating the computer.

Jonathan’s new book, Alan Turing’s Manchester, is a richly illustrated account of lives lived in the city which gave the world the computer.

Stranger-than-life drawing: Dark streets and secrets

Join Becca Smith for a stranger-than-life drawing experience in the dark streets of Macclesfield – combining light, shadows, and stories from the past that still haunt us…

Walking together down cobbled streets and under bridges, we’ll meet a number of female characters from Macclesfield’s past who still dwell in the town’s collective memory and imagination. With all drawing materials provided, plus guidance from Becca, you’ll make atmospheric pieces of artwork depicting these lantern-lit and shadowy women, listen to their stories and create your own.

No formal drawing skills are needed, you’ll surprise yourself! However, artists are also very welcome. 

Although the characters we’ll meet may be a little unnerving to some, there are no adult themes or mentions of violence.

Please let us know of an accessibility requirements you have, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Also, please dress warmly, wear sensible footwear and bring gloves in which you can draw and a bag for carrying your work. 

On the Way There, On the Way Back

Immerse yourself in the memories of artist Simon Buckley and musician Michael Walsh, through spoken word, film, soundscapes and music. This intimate and personal show will explore stories of childhood, growing up and our relationships with the adults that seek to nurture us.


Simon often visited his grandparents in their terraced house in Stoke-on-Trent as a child. His nana had been born there, and didn’t leave until late in her life. It was also where his dad spent his childhood. Through these visits, Simon not only discovered aspects of his own self, he also came to know his father by understanding the environment in which he had lived as a boy, and how both of them had perhaps been similarly shaped by the surrounding, tight-knit neighbourhood.

At the centre of these trips to Stoke, was Macclesfield, whose station became an emotional landmark, signifying the crossover between home and away.

Simon will be joined by musician Thurston Thomson, sound artist and producer at Courtyard Creative, a showcase for up and coming singer songwriters.

Michael Walsh, grew up in Manchester and Stockport has, and has, through his critically acclaimed album, Quarehawk, explored the last three years of his Irish father’s life. The music and poetry of this work examines his relationship with his dad and the strong Irish roots that governed family life. It also explores how Mike has come to terms with his death, and has subsequently found his own voice.

Michael Walsh is an Irish flute player, and his album Quarehawk, which features such talent as Mike McGoldrick, Bryony Griffith and Mike Garry, has received critical acclaim, with Irish Music Magazine saying “This album moved me like no other”. He recently performed at Sadler’s Wells and was the finale of this year’s Not Quite Light Festival.

For this performance Mike will be joined by musician Liz Hanley.

Simon Buckley’s Not Quite Light project examines themes of transition using the half-light of dawn and dusk as inspiration. His award-winning annual festival, inspired by the themes of Not Quite Light, will next take place in Salford at the end of March 2020.



A Dawn Smartphone Walk with Simon Buckley

Best known for the dawn and dusk photography of his Not Quite Light project, as well as his now famous mobile phone shot of a Deansgate Rainstorm, Simon Buckley invites you to join him on an early morning walk around Macclesfield. Pick up some tips for taking dawn shots on your smartphone and enjoy stories from Simon’s dawn and dusk wanderings.

Be sure to wear comfortable and sensible footwear and be aware that not all areas will be easily accessible or necessarily slip free.

Find out more about

Tickle your Fancy cabaret

A veritable smorgasbord of entertainment with a wide and wonderful array of performers. There’ll be magic, music, spoken word… something for everyone, from the dramatic to the downright unusual!

Hosted by comedy singing act, Doolally, every Tickle your Fancy night includes a different line up of quality acts and there are always sweet delights on hand and a writing competition (with prizes) to enjoy!

Tickle your Fancy has been entertaining audiences in Chorlton and beyond since 2015.

The line-up for LIT:

Stewart Gibb-Lodge

Hilarious character comedy and music from this Salford based, Tickle your Fancy regular. very silly, sometimes surreal but always with a song.

Marvin Cheeseman

Manchester’s finest poet and an incredibly popular Tickle your Fancy regular.

Jo Bell

Macclesfield’s very own poet, pundit and broadcaster, Jo’s awards include the Charles Causley prize and the Manchester Cathedral prize. Carol Ann Duffy calls her “one of the most exciting poets writing today”. Jo aims to write with an absolutely unsentimental tenderness. What will she bring to Tickle your Fancy?

Helen Beauchamp

Listen to Helen’s beautiful voice and great guitar – Helen is Doolally’s new musician!

All hosted by Doolally who’ll be performing their funny and daft songs.

Macc Stories

Join us at this very special performance where each writer will read the six short stories they created as a result of their visits, set against a backdrop of specially commissioned visuals by Not Quite Light photographer Simon Buckley.

What will they have gleaned about the town and its folk from their mooching, eavesdropping and simply watching the Macc world go by? Come along and find out… Expect everything from fashion and football to worshippers and woodlands.



Sarah-Clare Conlon is a copywriter, proofreader and editor. The inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Manchester’s Victoria Baths, she is Best British & Irish Flash Fiction 2018-2019 listed, and her work is in print with Dostoyevsky Wannabe, Dunlin Press, Salt Publishing, the Universities of Greenwich and Manchester, and journals Flash, Lighthouse and Stand.

Abi Hynes is a drama and fiction writer. Her short stories have been widely published in print and online, including in LitroInterzone, and minor literature[s], and she was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction’s ‘Novella-in-flash’ Award in 2017. Her plays have been performed in venues across the UK. She graduated from Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting Course in 2018 and is currently developing original projects for TV.

David Gaffney is the author of the novels Never Never (2008) and All The Places I’ve Ever Lived (2017) plus the flash fiction and short story collections Sawn-Off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), The Half-Life of Songs (2010) and More Sawn-Off Tales (2013).
He has written articles for The Guardian, Sunday Times, Financial Times and Prospect magazine, and was a judge for the Bridport Prize. His story ‘The Staring Man’ is featured in Best British Short Stories, and his story ‘Insight’ featured in the collection We Were Strangers – stories inspired by Joy Division (2018) David’s graphic novel with Dan Berry, The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head was published in 2018 with Top Shelf and his next graphic novel, Rivers, will be out in 2020.

Nicholas Royle is the author of seven novels, two novellas and three volumes of short fiction​. He has edited twenty anthologies of short stories. Reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize, he also runs Nightjar Press, publishing original short stories as signed, limited-edition chapbooks. He works as an editor for Salt

Reshma Ruia is a writer and poet, the author of Something Black in the Lentil Soup. Her second novel, A Mouthful of Silence was shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in international journals and anthologies and have been commissioned for Radio 4. She is the fiction editor of Jaggery magazine and is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani, a collective of British South Asian writers. Reshma’s latest poetry collection, A Dinner Party in the Home Counties was published on 25th October.

Joe Stretch is the author of three novels – FrictionWildlife and The AdultThe Adult was nominated for the Portico Prize and received the Somerset Maugham Award in 2012. His ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ audiobook, Don’t Let Go, was read by Anna Friel, published by Spotify and received a Cannes Lion Award in 2011. His debut film, Wizard’s Way, received several awards and has been optioned for remake by Jack Black. His band, Performance, released two albums. Their songs have appeared in film and television around the world. Joe joined the Manchester Writing School as a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Fiction) in July 2015. He is the Pathway Leader for the BA English and Creative Writing programme.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Meet us at West Park café with your torch, from 4.30pm and get ready to share candlelit stories, performances, installations and projections inspired by Cheshire’s very own 14th century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, alongside music and soundscapes created in collaboration with pupils from local schools. There’ll be screen printing and other activities plus plenty of refreshments to enjoy in the cosy café. The installations are available to enjoy during the day too – without the narration and of course the drama of darkness…

Wind your way through West Park by torchlight. 

What will you find in the dark?

Sir Gawain? The Green Knight? Or other fabulous scenes of chivalry?

The story is alive and waiting to be discovered…


The Story 

Sir Gawain is a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. One new year, as the frost covers the earth, an enormous green knight appears at court riding a gigantic green horse, an axe in one hand, a sprig of holly in the other. This green giant sets a challenge for the assembled knights. One of them can strike him with his axe as long as he can return the blow in a year’s time.

Up steps Sir Gawain, the youngest of Arthur’s knights, the king’s nephew. He takes the axe and with one blow beheads the enormous green knight…

Produced by: 154 Collective

In collaboration with local artists: Jacki Clark and Ralph McGaul


The details

Entry to the park will be through the gate at Sainsbury’s.

Bring a torch, this can be a head torch or hand held torch, it will help guide you through the park.

Meet from 4.30pm at West Park café where you will be allocated a performance slot (first come first served)

Exit will be at the West Park Museum end of the park.

The park will be locked at the end of the event, at 8.30pm.

The event will take place in all weathers so come dressed for it! Only in extreme circumstances will it be cancelled.

The LITle Hub

The LITle hub is for children of all ages to take time to discover and be inspired by stories in all their different guises.

Come and enjoy the magic of reading under the LIT gazebo in the library during the week. Then, on Saturday morning the library is home to extraordinary storytellers Jan Blake and Peter Chand (10-11am; 11am-12pm) followed by creative super hero, Marc Jackson, who’ll help you to make your own comic mini stories

On Treacle Sunday, the LITle hub moves over to St Michael’s church in Market Place, where Jan and Peter will be back to take you on a journey through tales of ‘Love & Light’ from around the world (12-1pm; 1-2pm). What happened when the creator created the sun, but forgot to create the moon? Whose love shines the brightest and how did the sun & moon get into the sky?

We also welcome Nick Hennessey, internationally acclaimed storyteller and musician who intertwines song and the spoken word with his beautiful, evocative harp playing (2-4pm). St Michael’s will also host our own LITle studio with Marc Jackson, encouraging you to create your own characters and stories in comic book form (noon-4pm). Spend Treacle Sunday afternoon with our storytellers at St Michael’s.

The LITle hub is free and welcomes children and adults of all ages.

An introduction to comedy writing – for women

Do people tell you that you’re funny? Have you always wanted to try writing comedy? Maybe you’ve got some great ideas, a phone full of notes, a head full of swirling unfinished jokes, but you’re wondering what’s next?

If the answer to any of those is yes, then join Jane Postlethwaite, comedian, writer and proprietor of the Cumbria School of Comedy who’ll help you take those half-formed, unfinished funny moments in your head and transform them into real-life comedy writing. You don’t need any experience – all you need is an interest in comedy, writing and being creative.

So, banish thoughts of not being good enough, or thinking you don’t know what you’re doing and spend three hours building your confidence and having a laugh with like-minded women who want to make the world a funnier place.

Jane Postlethwaite is a Cumbrian comedian, writer, actor and voice over. Inspired by northern humour, dark themes, feminism and interesting characters she has created multimedia, audience interactive, thought-provoking and comedic work to make you laugh, cry laughing and think about what you cried laughing at for days after. In July 2018 Jane was selected for the BBC New Comedy award heats. She plays several characters in ‘Don’t Worry; It’s Only the End of the World’ a post-apocalyptic radio sitcom written by Alfie Shaw available on iTunes. She co-hosts the Miraculous Cumbria Podcast with fellow comedian and writer Steph Bradshaw, while the duo paired up to create is ‘Haunted’ which premiered at Brighton Fringe in May 2019 to sell out audiences.

Performing Flash Fiction

Reading your creative writing in public can seem like a big step, but there are tips and tricks that can make any writer a skilled performer. This workshop offers a creative and fun space to help you go from the page to the stage. Fat Roland, from award-winning spoken word night Bad Language, will cover everything from speaking technique to stage stance, from subject matter to heart flutters. Ideal for writers thinking about performing for the first time, or for those who have started reading their work publicly but need help to find their voice.

Fat Roland is a flash fiction writer whose third solo show Seven Inch was commissioned by The Lowry Theatre in Salford. He has three Edinburgh Fringe shows under his belt, is champion of Literary Death Match Manchester and comperes Bad Language, twice voted the UK’s best spoken word night. His most recent gigs include FaxFiction at Waterside Arts, Flash In The Van inside a caravan in Lancashire, Tales Of Whatever and the Big Gay Storyslam. By day, he runs events for the live literature venue at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Writing non-fiction / memoir

What are the stories your life holds? In this two-hour nonfiction writing workshop – suitable for total beginners and experienced writers alike – we’ll read and discuss examples of inspiring short-form memoir and personal essays, learn about different writing techniques and approaches, and start work on a piece based on your own life experience.

Bring pen and paper, or a laptop.

Kate Feld writes short fiction, essays, poetry and work that sits between forms. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including The Letters Page, The Stinging Fly and Hotel. She lectures in journalism at Salford University, hosts writing events and leads workshops on creative writing. She is the founding director of UK creative nonfiction project The Real Story.

Performance Poetry – for women

Silence was a song your enemy taught you.

This inspiring workshop for women will look at how to create compelling poetry and spoken word through unravelling life stories and reclaiming voices. Exploring a range of poetic and performance techniques, it’s suitable for all abilities.

Poet Joelle Taylor has recently completed an international tour of her latest poetry collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me, a book which looks at her life story fused with the experiences of women globally. She spent two years researching the collection, working with women from marginalised communities including prisons, refugee organisations, the care system, traveller camps and the battlefield. Joelle is an award-winning poet and playwright, widely anthologised, and the author of three full poetry collections and three plays. She is currently completing her debut book of short stories The Night Alphabet. She has featured on radio and television, and founded the UK’s national youth slam championships. Her work is taught as part of the English GCSE syllabus.

Writing Flash Fiction

Join the master of Flash Fiction, David Gaffney, and find out how to produce effective stories – in less than 500 words. Filled with fun, practical exercises, you’ll learn how to transform 1000 words into 150 without losing power, character detail, plot and dialogue. You’ll leave with the tools to be able to write fantastic Flash Fiction.

‘One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others.’ Guardian

David Gaffney is the author of the novels Never Never (2008) and All The Places I’ve Ever Lived (2017) plus the flash fiction and short story collections Sawn-Off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), The Half-Life of Songs (2010) and More Sawn-Off Tales (2013). He has written articles for The Guardian, Sunday Times, Financial Times and Prospect magazine, and was a judge for the Bridport Prize. His story ‘The Staring Man’ is featured in Best British Short Stories, and his story ‘Insight’ featured in the collection We Were Strangers – stories inspired by Joy Division (2018). David’s graphic novel with Dan Berry, The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head was published in 2018 with Top Shelf and his next graphic novel, Rivers, will be out in 2020.

Writing short stories

Join award-winning author and Booker-prize shortlisted editor, Nicholas Royle, in this workshop looking at short story openings and techniques for getting started. He’ll take you through some common mistakes people make so you can avoid them in your work. And if you’re stuck, Nicholas will try and help solve your creative problem and unlock your story.

Nicholas Royle is the author of seven novels, two novellas and three volumes of short fiction​. He has edited twenty anthologies of short stories. Reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize, he also runs Nightjar Press, publishing original short stories as signed, limited-edition chapbooks. He works as an editor for Salt Publishing.

Polari Literary Salon / Bona to Vada your Dolly old Eek! Double bill

An exclusively bona double bill from some of the best-known names in LGBT+ writing and performance in the beautifully intimate surroundings of King Edward Street Chapel. Troll on in!

Polari Literary Salon with Paul Burston

London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon comes to LIT. Founded in 2007 by author Paul Burston, Polari showcases the best in emerging and established LGBT+ literary talent.

Named Best Cultural Event in the Co-Op Respect Loved by You Awards 2013, the salon is based at London’s Southbank Centre and also tours regularly.

Tonight’s event is programmed and hosted by Burston, with guest performers including award-winning authors Rosie Garland, VG Lee and Okechukwu Nzelu.

Bona to Vada your Dolly old Eek! with Jez Dolan

Do you know your Batts from your luppers, or your groin from your gamp? If Lilly Law came trolling would she scarper?

Join artist Jez Dolan for a fantabulosa mince through the bona world of Polari, The ‘Lost Language of Gay men’ and explore where West End chorus boys met Italian Showmen, where Jewish travellers conversed with East End Costermongers, and how what emerged was the perfect way for gay men in the mid 20th century to both disguise themselves and find each other.

So lau your luppers on the strillers bona, schlumph your vera and screech ‘Your actual French” with some dolly omies, Palones and Antique H. P’s. All will be explained…


Paul Burston is the author of six novels and the editor of two short story collections. His latest novel is the bestselling psychological thriller The Closer I Get. He is curator and host of award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari at the Southbank Centre and founder of The Polari First Book Prize for debut writers and The Polari Prize for established writers.

In 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s Global List of  ’33 visionary people promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world.’ His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times and many other publications. He has also written and presented documentaries for Channel 4 and is a frequent contributor to TV and radio.

Jez Dolan is an artist based in Manchester. His work explores queerness and identity through the codification of language, with a specific focus on secrecy and hiddenness – the things we don’t say. He has exhibited and performed in museums and galleries, and his work is in collections internationally including The British Museum, The V&A, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, HOME, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, NYC, The UK Parliament Art Collection & Archives, The Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, and The Schwules* Museum Berlin. Photo credit Daniel Walmsley.

Rosie Garland is the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at The John Rylands Library in Manchester. She writes long and short-form fiction, poetry and sings with post-punk band The March Violets. Her award-winning short stories, poems and essays have been widely anthologised. Her latest poetry collection is ‘As In Judy’ (Flapjack Press 2017). Rosie’s pamphlet ‘Everything Must Go’ (Holland Park Press 2012) draws on her experience of throat cancer. She was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2017. She’s also received the DaDa Award for Performance Artist of the Year, the Diva Award for Solo Performer, and a Poetry Award from the People’s Café, New York. She’s proud to have been blessed by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

VG Lee is the critically-acclaimed author of five novels and a collection of short stories. Sarah Waters said, “Lee writes with unfailing warmth and wisdom” while Andrea Levy praised her “light touch, wonderful laconic style and spot-on humour.” In 2012, Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing and in 2014 she won the Ultimate Planet Award for Best Established Author. Her most recent novel, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire was runner up for the YLVA Publishing Literary Prize for Fiction 2017. Her second short story collection, Oh You Pretty Thing was published by Tollington Press this February.

Okechukwu Nzelu is a writer and teacher. He was born in Manchester in 1988, read English at Girton College, Cambridge and completed the Teach First programme. His work has been published in the iAgendaPN Review, E-magazine and The Literateur and in 2013 his radio play, Me and Alan, was broadcast on Roundhouse Radio. His essay ‘Troubles with God’ was published in the anthology Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space (Trapeze, 2019). In 2015 he was the recipient of a New Writing North Award for The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, which is his debut novel.


Play-reading in the Savage Chapel

A chance to read and discuss Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman in the evocative surroundings of the Savage Chapel in St Michael’s church. No acting or public speaking skills are required; the play-reading is open to everyone who loves the stories that the best plays can tell, and this one packs a punch.

Manchester based actor and theatre maker, Sam Ward, facilitates this play reading session. A graduate of the MFA Theatre Directing at Birkbeck College, University of London, Sam is lead artist in YESYESNONO theatre company and has written and performed the award winning Five Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist and [insert slogan here], both of which toured nationally following success at Edinburgh Fringe. Sam spent a year as resident assistant director at HOME in Manchester, where he also facilitates a regular play-reading group.

Stephen Morris & Dave Haslam

Macclesfield born and bred, Joy Division and New Order drummer, the legendary Stephen Morris takes to the stage in his home town for a conversation with former Hacienda DJ and now acclaimed writer Dave Haslam.

Expect plenty of stories about their lives in music over the past 40 years covering some of the most seminal moments in rock history. Hear about their inspirations – and find out what the future holds for two of the country’s most influential creative artists.

Stephen’s recent, gripping and funny memoir Record Play Pause: Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist, and Dave’s latest book – We the Youth: Keith Haring’s New York Nightlife – will be available to buy on the night, and the event will conclude with a signing session with both Steve and Dave. Don’t miss this chance to hear them chat in the intimate setting of St Michael’s church in Macclesfield. Photography by Name Lastname.