Chapter & Verse Blog
The Manchester Literature Festival Blog
Meet the MLF team: Liz Postlethwaite
What's your role with the festival?
I am the Children and Young People's Programme Coordinator for Manchester Literature Festival. This means that I focus on developing opportunities for children and young people to get involved in our work. We do this through writer events and workshops and projects, both within the festival and throughout the year.
What's the part of the job you most enjoy, and what is the most challenging bit?
I love working with children and young people and seeing them get fired up by stories. Their imaginations and creativity are endless and it is a real privilege to see them soar using reading and writing as a launch pad. The most challenging part of the job is plate spinning to keep lots of different projects on the go, especially during the festival in October when things are really, really busy.
What events are you really looking forward to this year?
We have a brilliant programme for young readers this year. I am particularly excitied about Malorie Blackman (the current children's laureate!) as she writes such brilliant novels for young adults, and her readers absolutely adore her so I am anticipating a very in-depth and informed question and answer session for that one. We will also be broadcasting the event online which is an exciting new experiment for us and means it will be possible for young people from all over the world to join us.
I also can't wait to see Carlos Acosta who will be at the festival talking about his first novel, Pig's Foot. I love his work as a dancer and thoroughly enjoyed his quirky and individual memoir No Way Home, which shared the story of his childhood in Cuba and his early years as a dancer, so I'm really looking forward to hearing how he turned his writing from fact to fiction.
Another joy of the festival for me is the discovery of writers whose work I have not read before. Last year I attended the event with Richard Ford, talking about his book Canada and I have been hooked ever since. I am hoping this year's festival will reveal another writer to me who I can really get my teeth into.
What would be your dream MLF event?
I have four dream events – two are possible, two are absolute flights of fancy. For events that are possible I would love to hear Eric Carle talking about The Very Hungry Caterpillar as it is a book that is so special to so many people and that is, in its simplicity, a perfectly formed piece of storytelling. I also adore the McSweeney's publishing house from San Francisco and would love to see them and their founder Dave Eggers in Manchester sharing their literary creative genius, which keeps pushing literature in terms of content and form.
My flights of fantasy would be JG Ballard talking whose book Empire of the Sun was what really got me into reading as a teenager and whose work fascinates me more each time I dip into it – to me he is an unsung literary hero whose writing is so fabulous and prophetic that it needs to be shouted about. Finally I'd love to have Anton Chekhov at MLF. His short stories are such perfection that I am convinced that they hold the solution to every problem or challenge a 21st century human could encounter!
Read any good books lately?
I've got a couple of books on the go at the moment. I'm loving Cooked by Michael Pollan which asks if our modern way of eating is killing us and our sociability. I am also reading the novel Orkney by Amy Sackville about an unlikely love story between a 60-year-old university lecturer and his 21-year-old student. It's beautifully written and vividly depicts the powerful physical and emotional landscape of Orkney.