5th - 21st October 2018

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The Manchester Literature Festival Blog

Meet the MLF team: Jon Atkin


  • MLF Sign

We work hard to bring you the finest festival we can every year. But who is this shadowy team of book lovers labouring away on Oak Street? To introduce MLF’s cast of characters and shed a little light on what exactly it is that we do all day, we’re starting a series of posts about, well… us. First up is Festival Coordinator (on sabbatical) Jon Atkin.

What's your role with the festival?

I am taking a sabbatical from the role of Festival Coordinator this year, but will be working during the festival, managing events as usual and trying not to look too stressed.

What's the part of the job you most enjoy, and what is the most challenging bit?

Despite what I've said above, I really enjoy the hurly-burly of the actual festival itself – dashing from event to event and soaking up all the authors' words and the obvious enthusiasm of the many audiences. As for challenges, making sure all the events actually happen on time and are successful keeps me occupied…

What events are you really looking forward to this year?

I'm a big fan of Sarah Dunant, who has been to the festival previously, but this time she will be talking about her new book Blood & Beauty, a sumptuous novel of the Borgias which brings the sights, smells and smoke of Renaissance Italy vividly to life. I lapped up the book and can't wait to hear Sarah talk about her research with all of her usual infectious intelligence, enthusiasm and passion.

What would be your dream festival event?

To experience once again at MLF the wordy, witty, warm-heartedness of Iain Banks and Linda Chase – RIP both.

Read any good books lately?

I've just re-read one of my favourites, As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann (a modern masterpiece, in my opinion; when I met her a couple of years ago at MLF, I was too tongue-tied to tell her this). I'm also reading John Connolly and Declan Burke's fascinating compilation of crime writers writing about crime writing itself, Books to Die For. I heard Connolly speak at the Theakston's Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate last year and he was as compelling and humorous as ever in front of a live audience.