Stockport Stories

Stockport is the Town of Culture in 2024 and to celebrate this, five writers have been commissioned to produce a new piece of work each inspired by Stockport. 

The writers are myself, Sarah-Clare Conlon, David Gaffney, Joe Stretch, and Emily Yates.

Expect prose and poetry on a variety of themes – rivers, hats, music, low flying planes, suburbia and many more Stockport infused topics. 

The work will be performed live at the following venues.

Rare Mags, Underbanks, at 6.30 pm on Thursday 11 April

Mura Ma Gallery, Marple, at 6.30 pm on Saturday 20 April

Both events are free – book for Rare Mags here Tickets For Stockport Stories – 11/04 – Rare Mags

and just turn up to Mura Ma. There will be words to enjoy, wine to drink, and books and magazines and art and more to buy! We look forward to seeing you in Stockport!

Jack and Bet

It’s not long now until the launch of my third novel, Jack and Bet, which is published by Picador on 5 March 2020.

I will be doing various events, mainly in the North West to celebrate its publication – more on those soon…

Not Home

I am very excited about the imminent launch of Not Home, a novella written by me in conversation with people living in unsupported temporary accommodation in Manchester and accessing the charity Justlife’s services. The novella will be published alongside a series of beautiful portraits made with photographer Stephen King, and personal stories which capture the everyday struggles faced by those living in unsupported temporary accommodation as well as celebrating people’s resourcefulness and strength.

The book will be launched as part of Manchester’s first Arts and Homelessness Festival with an exhibition at the Antony Burgess Centre in Manchester, 17-18 November. The work will also be exhibited at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, Jan-March 2019.

Who Makes Finsbury Park

In 2014, All Change was commissioned by Islington Council to be Creative Producer for Finsbury Park Creative Hub – a three-year arts programme aiming to connect the local community with opportunities offered by the areas emerging cultural hub and changing landscape.

To truly understand how local people can and do contribute to the culture and character of a place, All Change commissioned artists Sarah Butler – writer, and Marysa Dowling – photographer, to devise a project, which would see the community tell its own story. Together, with 16 local contributors, they have used photography and creative writing to create a book of portraits – of people and a place at a particular moment of change and development.

Who Makes Finsbury Park? was launched at Park Theatre in Finsbury Park on Tuesday 18th September. Contact if you would like to purchase a copy (£10).

If Devo Manc was an animal, what would it be?

Manchester Urban Institute’s Devo Manc hub commissioned me to write three short stories to mark the first 100 days of Greater Manchester’s first mayoral term.

The stories explore what Devo Manc might be and mean for the city. I met with a range of academics working on Devo Manc, as well as other residents and campaigners in Manchester. I asked each of them: If Devo Manc was an animal, what would it be? Their answers inspired three stories: The Mini-Pig; The Giraffe and The Whale (released next week).

This work was commissioned by Manchester Urban Institute and funded by The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account.

Re/Place(d) – Didsbury Arts Festival 2017

Re/Place(d) – stories that are right up your street

From the Gates of Hell to a grand Victorian railway hotel, take a tour of local places through the site-specific short stories of critically acclaimed and award-winning writers Elizabeth Baines, Sarah Butler, Sarah-Clare Conlon, David Gaffney, Nicholas Royle and Adrian Slatcher, set against a backdrop of archive film and photography. Supported by Arts Council England.

Saturday 1 July, 7pm, free entry. The Old Parsonage, Stenner Lane, Didsbury, M20 2RQ

Re/Place(d) – workshop

Prior to the performance event, writers Sarah-Clare Conlon and David Gaffney will lead a creative writing flash fiction workshop taking people and place as a starting point for inspiration.

Friday 30 June, 3-5pm, £5. The Old Parsonage, Stenner Lane, Didsbury, M20 2RQ

The Word Exchange with Arvon at Tate Exchange

In February, poet Jacob Sam-La Rose and myself are be co-leading an intensive three day writing course for young people from The Writing Squad and Hive South Yorkshire, based at Tate Exchange and programmed by Arvon.

We will be exploring themes of exchange and considering what it means to be a writer in a visual arts space.

There are opportunities to meet the young writers and get involved on 16th (2.00-3.30pm) and 17th Feb (18.00-20.00).

London Festival of Architecture: Opportunity Area – free event, Monday 6th June, 6-8pm

As part of Unearthing The Elephant, a project with artists Eva Sajovic and Rebecca Davies, building on a decade of work in Elephant and Castle, we are hosting an open discussion with an invited panel to discuss ethics, tactics and place-specificity in artistic practice, with particular reference to Elephant and Castle and its labelling as an ‘opportunity area’. We will be asking what kinds of conversations and spaces can artistic projects create at a time and place of extreme change? And what are the ethical implications of working with specific places?

Panellists include: Professor Jane Rendell, Barbara Steveni, Isaac Marrero Guillamon, Rebecca Ross and Andres Mendez. The event will be chaired by Sam Trotman.

Findings from the conversation will be summed up in the form of a manifesto which will feed into The Dreamers or Builders? event at South London Gallery on June 29.

The event will take place in Unit  237  (former Little Orient) – the shop on the corner, next to cafe Nova on the Upper Mall, Elephant&Castle shopping centre, SE1 6TE. 6.00-8.00pm.