Live Lit returns for Spring 2020!

We’re more than a bit chuffed to announce another brilliant season of Live Literature, in partnership with Bolton Library and Museum Services and their Central Library art gallery space.

Join us in February, March and April this Spring 2020 for a post-punk novelist, poetry that looks into ancient history’s crystal ball, and a script about Northern grit and making a stand. Free and open to all.

Rosie Garland, promo

Tuesday 11th February: Live Literature

The Night Brother: Rosie Garland reads from her prize-winning fiction, with an interview and Q&A

@ Bolton Central Library, Le Mans Crescent, BL1 1SE.


From the author of The Palace of Curiosities and Vixen comes a bold new novel exploring questions of identity, sexual equality and how well we really know ourselves. Perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Sarah Waters and Erin Morgenstern. A dazzling and provocative novel of adventure and belonging, The Night Brother lures us to the furthermost boundaries of sexual and gender identity. With echoes of Orlando and Jekyll & Hyde, this is a story about the vital importance of being honest with yourself. Every part of yourself. After all, no-one likes to be kept in the dark.

Rosie Garland writes long and short-form fiction, poetry and sings with post-punk band The March Violets. With a passion for language nurtured by libraries, she started out in spoken word, garnering praise from Apples and Snakes as ‘one of the country’s finest performance poets’. In 2011 she entered the inaugural Mslexia Novel Competition and won. This debut novel was published as The Palace of Curiosities (HarperCollins, 2013) and was nominated for both The Desmond Elliott and the Polari First Book Prize. Second novel, Vixen, was a Green Carnation Prize nominee. Third novel, The Night Brother is out now with Borough Press.

Later Emperors, promo

Tuesday 17th March: Live Literature

Later Emperors: Evan Jones launches his new collection of poems, with host Professor Michael Schmidt + special guest Carcanet poet

@ Bolton Central Library, Le Mans Crescent, BL1 1SE.


Later Emperors is four poems, each of which approaches Roman history from a very different perspective. It is also four voices, each one concerned with the living and the dead: voices of historians and moralists, voices of great (and not so great) emperors. Jones has written a book which is all the more for our time because it looks so clearly at other times and identifies in them familiar patterns, difficulties, ambitions and desires. History becomes a crystal ball in which the past chides the future, the same mistakes predicted and made again, the same injustices repeated. The book concludes with a retelling of Plutarch’s ‘Consolatio Ad Uxorem’, in which Jones considers what we might hold on to in a world of suffering.

Evan Jones was born in Toronto. A dual citizen of Canada and Greece, he has lived in Britain since 2005. He has a PhD from the University of Manchester and teaches English at the University of Bolton. His first collection, Nothing Fell Today But Rain (2003), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. He is co-editor of the anthology Modern Canadian Poets (Carcanet, 2010). His British debut collection Paralogues was published by Carcanet in 2012.

Doris Storey (1996), promo

Tuesday 21st April: Live Literature

Doris: John Graham Davies and Alison Down discuss their development process using research and script extracts from this piece of new writing

@ Bolton Central Library, Le Mans Crescent, BL1 1SE.


In the 1930s, swimming – previously a recreation mainly for the wealthy – became a huge sport amongst the working class of Leeds and other northern cities.  Doris Storey, a millworker, joined East Leeds swimming club on York Road, and soon became Yorkshire Champion at breast stroke. Doris’s employer, the tailoring magnate Montague Burton, was enlightened, allowing her to train between her factory shifts at a local pool.  When she was selected in 1936 for the so – called ‘Hitler Olympics’ in Berlin she’d never been further than Scarborough.  At the Games she fell getting out of the pool at the end of the semi-final, only discovering later that she’d suffered a fracture, she swam the final in pain, coming in sixth. More famously, Doris refused to give the Nazi salute when Hitler entered the stadium. Her refusal was probably connected to her being a trade union member – she knew a little about fascism. Writers John Graham Davies and Alison Down are creating a new piece for stage, inspired by Doris’s story and the need to make a stand.

Alison Down is an award winning writer, being the recipient of the 2014 BAFTA Rocliffe Award.  She has a background in community arts, and was lead artist on Liverpool’s Capital of Culture’s biggest educational project, Tales in 2007. On Doris she is looking forward to using media and spoken word within theatre text to explore lives and experiences.

John Graham Davies’s writing has involved much historical and cultural research. John’s highly successful one-man show Beating Berlusconi! also blended a popular subject – football – with recent political history. His wide knowledge of sport and politics will inform Doris.





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