Friday, 14 December 2012


Dear Realty Estates,

As a busy bookshop on Oxford Road, we couldn't have been more excited at the prospect of offices, a hotel and student accommodation on the former site of BBC Manchester.

Sure, we miss the Beeb being here, but your development will bring a whole new buzz to a thriving and creative corridor of Manchester.

That is, until our customers spoke.

We ran a poll on this massively popular* blog asking "what should the BBC Oxford Road site be turned into" - and it seems you may need to reconsider your plans. After all, this is the voice of the public. The results were as follows:

1st - A ball pit (22 votes, 26%)
2nd - A huge bookshop (20 votes, 24%)
3rd - A bouncy castle (19 votes, 22%)
4th - A kind of parallel universe vortex or something, I dunno, something Doctor Who-y and that (16 votes, 19%)
Joint 5th - A Tesco Metro / A sculpture of EL James (3 votes each)
There is nothing that sends a shiver down our paperback spines than the thought of a massive bookshop on the old BBC site, with rows and rows of Murakami, Plath and Where's Wally. However, the public want a ball pit.

A massive ball pit.

Decent quality ball pit balls would set you back around £15-£20 for 100. You'd need to scale up that quantity considering the size of the site. Maybe a million balls, which, with bulk discount, would set you back £100,000. Even with the appropriately gaudy plastic walls and slides, it would be way cheaper than your existing plans.

And a ball pit is, as we have shown, what the public wants.

Do it, Realty Estates. Do it for the office workers who wear stripey socks to work because they think they're wacky. Do it for the geography undergrads who wear court jester hats to indie club nights. Do it for the shoppers desperately looking for a distraction from their secret-Santa hell.

To do any different would be an insult to the multi-coloured future we all deserve.

* artistic licence

Thursday, 29 November 2012


On Thursday December 13, we launch an amazing debut on Salt Publishing by Manchester-based writer Stephen McGeagh.

Habit takes us from a chance meeting in Manchester to blood-drenched flashbacks and the goings-on in a room below 7th Heaven... this powerful first novel is an essential read, and we're dead excited because we get to offer you the Manchester launch in our bookshop for FREE!

The evening starts at 7.30pm and as well as a reading from Stephen, it also features readings from an amazing trio: Nicholas Royle, Claire Massey and Socrates Adams.

Habit review: 

“A raw slice of urban menace as immediate as a dangerous night out on the town. In the vivid language of the streets it invokes the paranoid spirit of the city. It's as harsh and clear as neon, and it rings alarmingly true. Be warned – this is not comfortable fiction. Perhaps there's no escape.”
Ramsey Campbell

Friday, 23 November 2012


Author Tom Fletcher invites you to an evening of horror and mince pies for the Manchester launch of his new novel The Ravenglass Eye.

The evening will include readings from the Northern Lines writing group. It starts at 7.30pm on Thursday 6th December and it's free!

The Ravenglass Eye reviews: 

"With his third novel, The Ravenglass Eye, we’re treated to something that really is different in so many ways to what’s gone before. But yet that unique and confident style, that unerring desire to tell a cracking supernatural yarn; that’s here, and more."
Spooky Reads 

"Powerful enough to make your skin crawl."

Facebook event group.

Friday, 16 November 2012


Is education about truth and enlightenment? Or are students merely players in a market?

Join us on Tuesday for what we hope will be a fascinating and in-depth discussion about higher education. Our guests will be Joanna Williams, author of Consuming Higher Education, and Paul Taylor, communications lecturer at the University of Leeds and contributor to several Radio 4 programmes.

It starts at 6.45pm in our shop on Tuesday 20 November.

This is the latest in Manchester Salon's series of debates, which means the audience is encouraged to question and challenge. Tickets can be bought through the Manchester Salon website or from our ground floor tills.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


Join us tonight as we launch a novel and a short story collection.

Chris Dolan and Allan Cameron will be reading from their latest titles. There will also be a Q&A... this event is must for up-and-coming writers as well as lovers of quality fiction.

In the shop from 6.30pm. It's free! See you there.

Monday, 5 November 2012


Assuming you've not been dressed as a guy and been Wickerman-ed to a frazzle, join us on Wednesday November 7 for the launch of an exciting poetic debut.

Particle Soup "plucks patterns from random debris, mapping meaning out of scattered experiences" (Todd Swift) and is the first anthology from poet and editor Lindsey Holland.

You may have seen Lindsey's work in (deep breath) Tears in the Fence, The New Writer, BODY, Ink Sweat & Tears, Sabotage Reviews, Penning Perfumes and Lung Jazz (amazing title).

Lindsey will read from her new book and will be supported by some amazing talent: Angela Topping (Salt Publishing and much more) and JT Welsch (Crashaw shortlistee).

Wednesday's event is free and we start at 7.30pm. Do click on the picture of the poster and share it with your friends. See you there!

"This is a highly recommended volume by a strong new writer. - David Morley

"Particle is a discovery in more ways than one: in the smart poems themselves, and in the way it brings us to the recognition that Holland is among the best young poets now writing in the UK." - Todd Swift

"Lindsey Holland writes hauntingly beautiful poems of love and fear and the non-existent space in between." - Luke Kennard

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Join us for two days of free talks from leading science writers at Oxford University Press.

Throughout October 27 and November 3, our Science Saturdays should illuminate and amuse. It's all part of Manchester Science Festival, and it's going to be amazing.

Here's a poster which you can click on and copy if you want - along with our full schedule of events.

Waking the Giant
Sat 27 Oct 2012 11am - 12 noon
Bill McGuire argues that climate change is once more setting the scene for the giant to reawaken, and we can already see the signs... [more]

The Goldilocks Planet
Sat 27 Oct 2012 2pm
Two leading geologists give important insights into dramatic changes in Earth's distant past, and the delicate balance that ensures our planet is 'not too hot, not too cold', but 'just right' to sustain life... [more]

Why Millions Survive Cancer
Sat 27 Oct 2012 3.30pm
The enormous recent progress in fighting cancer, and the science behind it, is revealed fully for the first time Lauren Pecorino, who looks to the future in our battle with this disease... [more]

Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat
Sat 27 Oct 2012 5pm
Drugs in sport are big news and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport is common. What are the limits of human performance? What stops us running faster, throwing longer, or jumping higher? Find out at this fascinating event... [more]

On Being
Sat 3 Nov 2012 11am
In this scientific 'credo', Peter Atkins considers the universal questions of origins, endings, birth, and death to which religions have claimed answers... [more]

Why Humans Like to Cry
Sat 3 Nov 2012 2pm
Why have we developed art forms - most powerfully, music - which move us to sadness and tears? [more]

Higgs: The invention and discovery of the 'God Particle'
Sat 3 Nov 2012 3.30pm
The hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. So what is this particle called the Higgs boson? [more]

There are loads of other venues hosting events too. See more on the Manchester Science Festival website.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


We're now open loads. From this week, we'll open until 6.30pm. With our 8.30am opening plus Saturday *and* Sunday opening, that's 3,780 minutes of book-browsing time in just one week!

We have stacks of textbooks for your courses, and lots of them are cheaper than Am*z*n. Even if you're not sure of your reading list, come and speak to our subject experts: they have books coming out of their ears. Sometimes, literally.

Opening times (as of 24 September 2012):

Monday 8.30am - 6.30pm
Tuesday 8.30am - 6.30pm
Wednesday 8.30am - 6.30pm
Thursday 8.30am - 6.30pm
Friday 8.30am - 6.30pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm
Sunday 11am-4pm

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


50 Shades or Catch 22?

If you're starting at the University of Manchester this year, you could win £250 in a brand new competition that tests your literary likes.

All you need to do is take a photo of yourself with a book you love - or hate - and upload it to Twitter with the right hashtag.

Our booksellers will choose their favourite photos - and then one randomly-picked winner will get a £250 Blackwell's voucher.

The full details, including that special hashtag to open the doorway to oodles of cash, can be found on the University of Manchester's Welcome site. You'll find some top five bestsellers on there too.

Get snapping!

Monday, 3 September 2012


This is a shoe.

It is a stiletto.

You can tell it is a stiletto because when it is placed on the floor, the tall heel lifts up at the back and holds the foot at an angle. That is how stilettos work.

Here is the cover of Fifty Shades Of Grey imitator Bared to You by Sylvia Day. This is also a shoe.

It is a stilAAARGHo.

You can tell it is a stilAAARGHo because when it is placed on the floor, the heel shoots up so high, unless its wearer is walking up stairs, she'd be pushing her face along the floor screaming "AAARGH".

Here is a detail on the back of the book.

Look at the underside. Unlike the front pics, the shoe now has a sole. Which suggests to us that the shoe on the front cover is a bottomless pit which, we suspect, leads to hell. Probably.

We're with Melville House: we prefer the American cover.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


We're looking for temporary staff to work with our booksellers when the September student rush arrives.

If you like giving great service to customers and would work well as part of a very busy bookshop with lots going on (long queues, lots of questions, plenty of bookstalls) - and you're a fast learner - then we want to hear from you.

We tend to give preference to those that are not currently committed to university studies (we'll need you most when students are busiest!). Experience is nice, but we often find our best people from all walks of life.

Temp roles will last at least four weeks. Send your CV to us - details are on the Contact page.

Monday, 16 July 2012


Inderjeet Parmar (pictured) and Vanessa Pupavac will join us tonight for a discussion on the role of philanthropy and NGOs in politics.

The discussion, hosted by Manchester Salon, will look at how philanthropy has changed, from Rockefeller to Greenpeace - and how, as investigated in Inderjeet Parmar's Foundations of the American Century, it affects western influence in the world.

It starts at 6.30pm tonight at Blackwell's. Tickets can be bought via the Manchester Salon.

Monday, 18 June 2012


On the shortest night of the year, Blackwell's will play host to two compelling writers.

The Shortest Night is part of a series of events across the UK to celebrate International Short Story Day on 20 June 2012. The Manchester leg of the Day will take place in our bookshop and will feature Claire Massey and Anneliese Mackintosh reading their work and discussing their love of short fiction.,

Litfest's Claire Massey is co-editor of Paraxis and has been published in The Best British Short Stories 2011, Murmurations (pictured), Flax, and has released two chapbooks on the excellent Nightjar Press.

Anneliese Mackintosh writes literary fiction, comedy, stage plays and much more, and has appeared in the Edinburgh Review, Gutter, Outside of a Dog, and has been broadcast on Radio 4. She's just finished her first short story collection.

Claire and Anneliese will read from their work and discuss their love of the short story form. It starts at 7pm this Wednesday 20 June and is free to get in. The Shortest Night is brought to you in association with Manchester's Comma Press and Cargo Publishing in Glasgow .

You can find more information on the Comma Press website.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Should we ban Kindles in our shop?

A second-hand bookseller in Hay-on-Wye wants a ban on Kindles and other e-book readers during the famous Hay literary festival.

He says, "Kindles have no place at this festival which is supposed to be a celebration of the written word - and books. Booksellers definitely want them banned… Kindles are just a phase and they won't last. They are our enemy."

The bookseller in question even has a window display of a picture of an e-reader next to a gravestone. As a contrast, the director of the festival thinks "Anything that encourages people to read in any format is fantastic."

Manchester has lost most of its bookshops as people abandon the 'shop local' mantra and embrace online shopping. We do get people scanning barcodes in our shop in order to shop online. Is technology a threat? Or do we embrace it because we're modern and we're cool and we sell e-books too?

There are several ways of looking at this. And yes, we're going to say 'Kindle' instead of 'e-reader' because we might as well call a hoover a hoover:

- One. Kindles are a passing fad and they'll fade away like Betamax and Tamagotchi;

- Two. People tend to buy different things on Kindle: they're a complement rather than a threat;

- Three. Books are technology too: bookshops need to understand this and move with the times;

- Four. Kindles are the final Apple-branded nail in the coffin of the bookshop;

- Five. The Kindle will one day rise up against its human masters and, firing apple-shaped grenades from its screen, will enslave all sentient beings in a thousand-year reign of terror (which happens to include flipping the world sideways if you cock your head 90 degrees).

We won't ban Kindles in our shop, obviously. But there's a fascinating shift in bookselling taking place at the moment.

What do you think? Would you put a picture of an e-reader next to a gravestone? What do you buy for your Kindle? Are you responsible for the destruction of the bookshop / of the book / of all known humanity?

Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Join us for an incredible triple-anthology launch on Friday 8 June.

In an evening brimming with talented short story writers, we will have readings from three brand new books:

- Jawbreakers, which was released to celebrate National Flash Fiction Day and features contribitions from Ali Smith, Ian Rankin, Tania Hershman, David Gaffney and Vanessa Gebbie;

- Enough, a collection of short stories from Bristol prize winner Valerie O'Riordan;

- Braking Distance, a new Salt Publishing anthology from National Flash Fiction Day's scribbler-in-chief Calum Kerr.

And that's not all. We'll have a smörgåsbord of super scribes reading too: Jenn Ashworth, David Gaffney, Dan Carpenter, Benjamin Judge, Sarah-Clare Conlon, Trevor Byrne and Rupan Malakin. We have the best fiction talent this side of Jupiter.

It all starts just after work at 6.30pm on Friday 8 June 2012, so there'll be plenty of socialising time afterwards. It takes place in our bookshop, admission is free and there will be refreshments.


Edit: Read the response from Neil McInnes, head of Libraries, Information & Archives here.

A year ago, the Manchester Evening News reported that a third of Central Library's books are going to book heaven. Sold, given away or pulped into mush.

There is a letter now circulating accusing the council of "cultural vandalism on an industrial scale". Melvyn Burgess has just posted the text on his Facebook page.

Now, us here in the book industry love and worship books, but we also have a slighly blasé attitude towards book pulping: we send books to be pulped all the time. It's how mainstream publishing works.

And we would assume the council is not destroying nineteenth century antiques. Is it?

However, the debate about austerity and the arts is still raging among those who mourn the Greenroom, while further south, Brent Council is under attack for its library-stripping.

Have a read. What do you think? Are books really that precious, or should we re-use the paper? Is it vandalism, or are people just afraid of change? Are you looking forward to the brand new library? Is Manchester losing something important? Leave your comments below.

Dear Lover of Literature,

We are writing to you because we recognise that you are somebody who cares about the written word and fully appreciates what Manchester Central Library’s book stock represents in terms of Manchester’s cultural heritage.

We are sure that you are aware that Central Library has been closed for a while for refurbishment. What you may not be aware of is that senior management at the library seriously miscalculated the shelf space needed to house the reference books when the library is re-opened in 2013. In an article in the Manchester Evening News (14/6/11) they admitted that they would be ‘weeding’ 300,000 books but claimed these would be replaced by the same number of ‘items’. This was complete spin. The ‘items’ they referred to largely represent the stock of the County Record Office, many of which are single sheets. The CRO is being amalgamated into the Library building when it re-opens.

The sad truth is that, as you read this letter, library staff are engaged in a continuing process of segregating for destruction a large proportion of the very thing that makes Manchester Central Library unique amongst British public libraries – its extensive and historic reference stock. It is probable that up to half the reference and lending non-fiction stock (up to half a million volumes) will have been destroyed by the time Central Library re-opens. These texts, which were housed in the old ‘stacks’ in Central Library, represented a storehouse of non-fiction reference volumes, many of which date back to the late nineteenth century. The criteria for the selection of books for destruction is unclear. The staff charged with responsibility for this job are not subject specialists, indeed many of them are not trained librarians. Many of them feel uneasy about what they are being asked to do, but they fear for their jobs, particularly in the current economic climate.
Once these books have been pulped (and many thousands of them already have been) there will be no record of them ever having existed, they will simply be erased from the system. There will be no way of knowing how many of them were rare volumes, or even unique. This is cultural vandalism on an industrial scale.
If you wish to voice your concerns over this matter, please contact:

Eamonn O’Rourke, Head of Community and Cultural Services
Vicky Rosin, Assistant Chief Executive (Neighbourhoods)
Cllr. Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council
Cllr. Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure

The above can all be contacted at Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, M60 2LA


Tony Lloyd MP Manchester Central, House of Commons, London SW1A OAA

Alternatively, why not initiate a campaign through social media asking the Library Service to come clean about what they are doing with the city’s heritage? Library staff are only custodians of these books – it is the people of Manchester who should be making the decisions regarding their future.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


If you want an event that's a flash in the pan - but in a good way - then look out for National Flash Fiction Day hitting the streets of Manchester tomorrow.

In the evening, Bad Language will host the finals of their flash fiction competition at the wonderful 3 Minute Theatre. If you've not this treasure trove of a venue, then it's worth a visit: it's inside Affleck's Palace through the Oldham Street entrance.

And during the day, Manchester writing crew #Flashtag will flash-mob short stories at loads of iconic Manchester venues including Manchester Museum, Manchester University, The Cornerhouse and the People's History Museum.

It's up to you to try and find the #Flashtag gang: follow their Twitter feed during the day or their #flashtag hashtag.

Flashtag hashtag. Poetry in motion (literally (although it's fiction and not poetry (never mind))).

Friday, 11 May 2012


You may have a noticed a little change at our bookshop this week.

Our brand-spanking new cafe will open on Monday morning, May 14 at 8.30am. We've spent a long time in the planning process, so it's hugely exciting to be able to be serving coffee with our books again.

There were other options for the cafe space, of course:

- a ball pit.

- one massive aquarium. With real whales.

- an evil laboratory in which we built a lazer to destroy the moon.

- one of those hedge mazes you get at fancy stately homes.

- bouncy castle.

- a McSweeney's bookshop.

Thanks for your patience as we waited for our new coffee shop. As the saying goes, better latte than never*.

Do come and say hello to our new Starbuck's colleagues, and learn the fancy lingo for all the coffees. We sell books to help you speak Italian: all the words are probably in there.

* sorry

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Our launch of the Leila Khaled biography on May 24th has been cancelled due to unforseen circumstances.

Leila Khaled: Icon of Palestinian Liberation by Sarah Irving is a compelling account of Khaled's turbulent life. At the book launch, Sarah will explore Leila Khaled's involvement with a radical element of the PLO, the rise of Hamas, the role of women in a largely male movement and Khaled's activism today.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


I surprised myself with a little comment at our Gregory Norminton book launch last week. I told a friendly, wine-supping crowd that you don't get book launches like ours on Amazon.

A month on from Tim Waterstone's broadside against the online bookseller, it seems that the ever-expanding Amazon are becoming the new Tesco. Easy to use, but also easy to kick.

And why not? Every time you shop on Amazon, it means fewer and smaller bookshops. A quarter of independent bookshops have closed in the past five years.

Many of my friends believe in shopping locally and buying ethically-sourced produce and yet think nothing of spending their book money with Amazon.

But there's also a challenge for us bricks and mortar people because, actually, Amazon can be quite useful. They can do the clicky thing well, and so we need to be much better at other things. There's a need for us bookshops to be personal and professional in a way that web 2.0 can never achieve.

That's one of the reasons why we've bought chairs. And PA equipment. And booze. Because we can do book launches in a way that Amazon can't.

One of our event regulars (I won't embarrass the person by naming them!) described our events as "intimate, bright, well organised and hilarious". You may have missed some of our recent events with the likes of Socrates Adams, Chris Emery (pictured) and Gregory Norminton, but you can get an idea of what we do from our book launches Pinterest page.

Blackwell's intend to be in Manchester for many years to come. However, we need to keep changing, tweaking and, if necessary, having outrageously fun book launches.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Author and activist Gregory Norminton will launch his new book at Blackwell's on Thursday 26th April at 6pm.

The Lost Art Of Losing is a collection of thoughts and rants, and is described by Costa Book of the Year winner Andrew Miller as "witty, provocative, self-revelatory and touching to read." It's not officially published until May, but we will have plenty of copies on the night.

The book launch is free to attend and there will be refreshments. It's our second book launch in two weeks: you can see photographs from our previous event on our Pinterest page.

Gregory teaches creative writing at MMU's Manchester Writing School alongside the likes of Sherry Ashworth, Andrew Biswell, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Symmons Roberts and Jean Sprackland. We also run the bookstalls for their Duffy & Friends and Manchester Children's Book Festival events, among others.

Do come on down - it should be quite a crowd!

Event: Lost Art Of Losing Manchester book launch
Venue: Blackwell's Manchester
Date: 26th April 2012
Time: 6pm (should be no more than an hour or two)
Admission: free

Friday, 30 March 2012


Manchester Science Festival are planning to brighten up Manchester in the name of Alan Turing.

Turing's Sunflowers is a challenge in which you grow a sunflower throughout the next couple of months. When the flowers are fully grown, the science festival will help you count the number of spirals in the seed patterns on the sunflower heads, with the results being announced in October.

The project will help mathematicians explore Alan Turing’s theories about plant growth (Fibonacci number series and all that). And because we're not one to miss a trick, we are now selling sunflower seeds at every counter in our shop.

There are now even Turing sunflowers in the Blue Peter garden. so get growing. And remember: plenty of water, a nice sunny spot and don't forget to re-pot!

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Blackwell's are proud host Salt Publishing on 12th April 2012 for a reading to celebrate National Poetry Month.

The featured poets will be Michael Symmons Roberts, a Whitbread Poetry Award winner and professor of poetry at MMU, the Forward Prize-scooping Ian Duhig and Salt Publishing's own Chris Emery.

As well as readings and books by our guests, the event will also feature the Manchester launch of Chris Emery's The Departure. This will be Chris' third collection, and has narrative poems that boast everything from cowboys to checkout girls, and from composers to killers.

The National Poetry Month Reading will take place at Blackwell's Manchester on April 12th at 7pm. It is free, no booking is required, and there will be drinks. For a poster of the event, email ian.carrington (at) Otherwise, see the event on Facebook here.

Monday, 27 February 2012


Will we see you at Literature Live tonight?

Gregory O’Brien, New Zealand poet, will join Centre for New Writing graduate Rebecca Perry at Manchester's Martin Harris centre tonight (pictured) from 6.30pm.

Blackwell's will be selling books there, so do come and say hello. All ticket holders will get a pound off each book, which isn't much, but you will get a chance to get your book signed too.

Past guest authors have included Will Self, Hilary Mantel and the gentlemanly Clive James. It's right on your doorstep, so don't miss this season of events.

Next week, Costa shortlistee Rupert Thomson will join Booker longlistee Patrick McGuinness. A full programme of Literature Live events can be found on this PDF download.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


A sale of textbooks, grammar, literature and reference books for modern languages started today at Blackwell's.

We have bilingual and monolingual dictionaries on offer at 10% of their original price, linguistics textbooks, and a wide range of literature available at very low prices.

There are also savings to be made in other subject areas, including Film & Media. In fact, your plucky blog writer just spotted a very cheap illustrated Tim Burton book, but I'm not going to buy it. It's yours if you can get to it first!

Look for the shelves on the ground floor and the red sale boxes and shelves on the first floor. There's nothing like an early spring clean...

Monday, 6 February 2012


Manchester flies the flag for plenty of literary events. Here is a small sample of what goes on in the city.

Tonight, Stirred will be celebrating their "unbirthday" at Sandbar at 7.30pm. We suspect the unbirthday tag is simply an excuse to eat cake. Anyhoo, Stirred allows a platform for the female voice in poetry and guests include Steph Pike and Sian S Rathore (who recently brought the house down at 3MT in Affleck's Palace).

The wonderfully-named Magical Animals is also an uncelebration of sorts. Their Anti-Valentine's bash will also be at Sandbar, from 8pm on February 13th. Hosted by comedian Jackie Hagan, Magical Animals will have comedy from the likes of Adam Blaize and poetry from Miles Hadfield and Jo Warburton.

Short story writer David Gaffney will team up with Sarah-Clare Conlon with a uniquely rhythmic approach to storytelling as support for an album launch by Monkeys In Love on February 17th. It kicks off at 8pm at TV21, £4 in.

Lit scene stalwarts Bad Language will host their second literary pub quiz with the Flash Tag writers, so if you know your Dickens from your Dick Francis, then be at Barcelona in the Northern Quarter for the Flash Language Literary Pub Quiz at 7.30pm on February 21st (£1 per person). Meanwhile, Bad Language will be back with their monthly night at The Castle, from 7.30pm on January 29th, with special guest Peter Wild (The Passenger, Bookmunch).

New Zealand poet Gregory O'Brien, Bridport Prize-commended Rebecca Parry and debut novelist Rachel Connor will mark the return of Literature Live at the John Thaw studio theatre in the Martin Harris Centre on February 27th at 6.30pm. Launched by Louis de Bernieres in October 2005, Literature Live is one of Manchester's underrated gems.

And finally 'unrelated incidents' will be the theme of this month's Say Something, a night where poetry meets spoken word, comedy and its smashing host, poet Zach Roddis. It may be the last one for a while, so grab it while you can at Sandbar on February 28th at 7.30pm.

We've probably missed loads. Leave details of your February Manchester literary event in the comments and we'll add you to the list!

Monday, 30 January 2012


Blackwell's played host to the launch of Socrates Adams' debut novel on Friday.

Crispin Best, Chris Killen and Joe Stretch read from their latest work before Socrates took to the stage, while host and Blackwell's deputy manager Ian Carrington tried his best to embarrass them all by reading their recent tweets.

Thanks to everyone who came down, listened so attentively, bought a book, or got one signed - and a special thanks to everyone who contributed to the 200 empty bottles of beer as seen in the picture below. You can also see our youngest attendee paying absolutely no attention to Socrates reading from Everything's Fine.

More events like this are planned for the future. Watch READER! READ FASTER! for more.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012



This was meant to be a blog post about how Socrates Adams' Everything's Fine was our best selling book of this week.

But as our picture suggests, it seems there are more law students wanting to pass exams than there are fans of modern fiction.

Oh. Ah well. You're still coming to the Everything's Fine launch on Friday, aren't you?

Monday, 23 January 2012


You may want to avert your eyes when you enter our bookshop.

We have a 'dirty books' display. Here is a photo which was recently featured on the blog of Bookkake books.

With a blog dedicated to literature, publishing, and the occasional filthy story, Bookkake are a print-on-demand publisher dedicated to transgressive literature.

Filth. Lovely, literature-filled filth!

Incidentally, several of our booksellers produced an anthology last year. Quickies: Short Stories For Adults is a collection of comtemporary smutty fiction.

It is available in our shop and from the editors' website. And here is one of the stories by a Blackweller: The Yarning Of Good Whum.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Everything's Fine, the debut novel from Socrates Adams, will get its official launch at Blackwell's on January 27th.

Socrates was a key part of Manchester's influential literature night No Point In Not Being Friends. He blogs at Chicken & Pies and last year blew our socks off with a story called Wide And Deep on Metazen.

Nightjar Press's Nicholas Royle describes him as a writer who hits "notes of absurdity and tenderness at the same time". Everything's Fine is a remarkable read and is the second title from the publishing house Transmission Print.

The launch will start at 6.30pm at Blackwell's on Oxford Road on Friday, January 27th. There will be a reading or three, there will be booze and there will be plenty of copies of the book for you to buy and get signed / framed.

If you can't wait until the official launch, Socrates is headlining Bad Language at the Castle Hotel at 7.30pm on Wednesday January 25th. We can't recommend that night enough, although if you don't come to our event too, our heavies will have you breathing through a tube.

("Tube". That's relevant. If you want to know why, you'll have to buy the book.)


The turkey's mouldy and Santa's bloated corpse is buried with the Christmas tree under the patio. And yet, we all remember Christmas 2011 with fond memories, don’t we? No?

Apparently, retail had a stonking Christmas rush, so it’s time for us to take stock of our seasonal sales. How did we do? What did we sell? Here are our genuine best-sellers from the beginning of December until Christmas eve 2011.

This is what people buy in an academic bookshop for Christmas presents. It looks like there was no shortage of Chrimbo spirit…

1. Blackstone's Statutes on Property Law 

Blackstone's have a reputation for accuracy, reliability, and authority, just like Santa on his Christmas run. This shows you what to do when you have a fat man dressed in red & white on your property.

2. Blackstone's EU Treaties and Legislation 

Do Europeans know it's Christmas time? Find out in this fascinating stocking filler. Ideal for your racist granddad.

3. Law Express: Contract Law 

A revision guide which will come in useful when you get to the end of January and realise you can't pay your mortgage.

4. Pezzino's Business Economics 

You know that bit before when I said retailers did well over Christmas? We're still going to be living in the gutters and eating gruel in the long term. This book explains how.

5. Financial Statement Analysis 

You spend HOW MUCH on socks for Uncle Keith?! / This says you spend £400 at Jigsaw and you told me you were only going for a coffee in the Triangle shopping centre. / Those premium calls on the phone bill - that's not a Lapland number, is it? / etc etc

Monday, 9 January 2012


We are mid-40s William Faulkner or post-Mocking Bird Lee. It has been such a long time since we published anything, we've forgotten what words look like.

Truth be told, it got very busy in the bookshop. Combined with a web browser that needs to be wound up then run in front of with a red flag, we've simply got on with selling books rather than updating READER! READ FASTER!

As the bard said, "Reputation for blogging, reputation for blogging, reputation for blogging! O, I have lost my reputation for blogging!"

Normal service will be resumed in two shakes of a fop's quill.