The E:SF: Fringe events embodies our belief that ‘English’ literature is something that we all can and should have access to. At a time when participation in arts and culture is being challenged – whilst the benefits of that participation are simultaneously being championed – the E:SF conference and Fringe provide a mechanism whereby local and national figures can work together. E:SF: Fringe will showcase Salford and Manchester’s strong history of cultural innovation, exploring and celebrating this creative edge.

NEW POETRY AND MUSIC FROM SALFORD AND MANCHESTER curated by No Matter, Peter Barlow’s Cigarette & Murmur + FITH

Friday 26 June 7:30-10:30pm The Robert Powell Theatre, University of Salford campus, Salford M6 6PU

Three of Manchester’s most adventurous poetry reading series join forces to co-host a special bill showcasing the best innovative and experimental poets from Manchester, introduced by Scott Thurston, poet and lecturer at the University of Salford.


In its seventh year of operations, Peter Barlow’s Cigarette has sought to provide a platform for new and emerging innovative poets on the Manchester and North West scene whilst also promoting writers with an international profile including Vahni Capildeo, Mamta Sagar, Steve McCaffery, Karen Mac Cormack and others. The current organisers are Joey Frances, Tim Allen and Rachel Sills.

Joey Frances is a poet based in Manchester. He co-organises the Poetry Emergency conference, and has produced zines, exhibitions, workshops and parties with Generic Greeting Collective. His poetry collection a l’instar de was published by Knives Forks and Spoons in 2016; his latest pamphlet is Cash/Sex, co-written with Bryony Bates (Generic Greeting/intimate pussy, 2019). Work has appeared in Cumulus, datableed, Zarf, adjacent pineapple, Some Roast Poet and the Murmur anthology. He is coming to the end of a PhD at the University of Salford.

Tim Allen used to organise the Language Club reading series in Plymouth and edit the magazine Terrible Work. His books and pamphlets include Settings (Shearsman 2008), incidental harvest (Oystercatcher 2011), The Voice Thrower (Shearsman 2012), Copyright (Department 2013), The Carousing Duck (zimZalla 2014), Default Soul (Red Ceilings 2014), Tattered by Magnets (KFS 2014), A New Geography of Romanticism (Red Ceilings 2015), Under the Cliff Like (if p then q 2017) and most recently Portland: a Triptych (KFS 2019) with Norman Jope and Mark  Goodwin. With Andrew Duncan he also edited Don’t Start Me Talking (Salt 2006), a book of interviews with linguistically innovative poets.

Rachel Sills is the author of Two Hundred Houses (Knives Forks and Spoons Press), Endless/Nameless, with Richard Barrett (Red Ceilings Press) and Modernist Jewellery (zimZalla, 2015). Her poems have appeared in 3:AM Magazine, Otoliths, Red Ceilings, Tears in the Fence, Stand Magazine, Blackbox Manifold, Shearsman Magazine and Molly Bloom. She has a PhD on the poetry of Frank O’Hara.


In its second year of operations, No Matter received Arts Council England funding to commission six new performances in 2019-2020 from poets including Bhanu Kapil, Lisa Robertson, Verity Spott, Anne Boyer and Jade Montserrat. The team comprises Nell Osborne, Jazmine Linklater, and Hilary White (seen here left to right, celebrating the first anniversary of the series at The Castle Hotel in Manchester).

Nell Osborne Jazmine Linklater Hilary White

Jazmine Linklater works in marketing and events organisation for T-Junction International Poetry Festival and Carcanet Press and is currently studying for an MA in Modern & Contemporary Literature. She has published the pamphlets Toward Passion According (Zarf, 2017) and Découper, Coller (Dock Road Press, 2018) and her poetry has appeared in Paratext, Hotel, MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture, Stride, a glimpse of, Chicago Review’s ‘#MeToo: A Poetry Collective’ and amberflora, among others. A new pamphlet is due out in 2020 with Guillemot Press. In 2018-19 she was a Poetry London mentee with Vahni Capildeo.

Nell Osborne is a poet and researcher, based in Manchester, where she is completing a PhD in experimental writing by women and intimacy. Her poetry appears in places such as Bath Magg, MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture and para-text. She recently participated in I’d do this all day if I could, a series of performances focused on the act of reading held in PEER’s Participation Space, and has a collaborative Chapette book forthcoming with Make Mud Press. Nell is a contributing editor to the zine Academics Against Networking.

Hilary White is a writer, researcher & sometimes illustrator based in Manchester, where she is completing a PhD on 1960s experimental women’s writing, visuality & indiscipline including the work of Christine Brooke-Rose, Ann Quin and Brigid Brophy. Her writing appears in Zarf, The Stinging Fly, The Penny Dreadful & others and she co-organised the ‘Gestures: Writing That Moves Between’ conference in Manchester in 2019. Hilary is a contributing editor to the zine Academics Against Networking.


Murmur is a reading series founded in 2017 which aims to bring poetry and experimental writing to new audiences. It has featured performances from artists and writers including Ed Atkins, Sophie Jung, Fatema Abdoolcarim, Sam Riviere, Hera Lindsay Bird, and Aurelia Guo, and spawned a small press imprint, Monitor Books. Monitor’s first publication is an anthology of work by readers at the event series, with texts by Mònica de la Torre, Lila Matsumoto, Rachael Allen, and many other contributors. The next publication from Monitor is Amy McCauley’s second book, Propositions, followed by single-author pamphlets throughout 2020.

Rory Cook is a writer based in Manchester, undertaking a PhD at the University of Salford in Flatness and Screen-based Media in Contemporary Poetics and Art Practice. He writes poetry and short-form prose with a focus on found text, computer-manipulated language, and collage. Publications includes the pamphlet Mosquito Aptly Flat (Comfortable on a Tightrope, 2018) and Via Trionfale (Chaosmos, 2017).

Rory Cook


FITH is a Salford/Berlin-based group of young musicians and poets, “driven by the spell of the spoken word, minimal percussive refrains, washed out in oneiric textures and deep melodic synths, combining cinematic imagery, storytelling and spiritual frenzy”.  Led by writer and Salford graduate Dalia Neis, this performance has been specially commissioned for ESF: Fringe.

See an online interview with the band here:



Saturday 27 June from 6:30-8pm The King’s Arms, Salford M3 6AN

One of Manchester’s most exciting small literary presses joins one of Salford’s best writer development projects and journal to showcase the work of their authors and organisers, introduced by Kaye Mitchell, critic and lecturer at the University of Manchester.


DW is one of the most dynamic small presses in the UK and the heart of a design enterprise run by Victoria Brown and Richard Brammer.

James Davies is a poet whose works includes stack, Plants, Forty-Four Poems and a Volta, A Dog, Snow, Rocks, and Acronyms. He is also the author of two novels – The Wood Pigeons (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019) & When Two Are in Love or As I Came To Behind Frank’s Transporter (Crater Press, 2019, with Philip Terry), as well as the short story Changing Piece. In addition to being the editor of if p then q press, between 2008-2018 he was co-organiser of The Other Room reading series & resources website in Manchester. He also makes video art and in 2017-18 was Poet in Residence at The University of Surrey. 

Maria Sledmere is completing a DFA in anthropocene aesthetics and the everyday at the University of Glasgow. She is also a music journalist, member of A+E Collective, editor at SPAM Press, poetry editor at Dostoyevsky Wannabe and founding editor of Gilded Dirt magazine. Publications include Existential Stationary (SPAM Press, 2018) nature sounds without nature sounds (Sad Press, 2019), lana del rey playing at a stripclub (Mermaid Motel, 2019), Rainbow Arcadia (Face Press, 2019), Pure Sound (SPAM Press, 2019), Virga (Earthbound Press, 2020) and infra•structure (Broken Sleep, 2020), a forthcoming collaboration with Katy Lewis Hood. Her poem ‘Ariosos for Lavish Matter’ was highly commended in the 2020 Forward Prize, and her work was included in makar / unmakar (Tapsalteerie, 2019), an anthology of contemporary poets in Scotland. She blogs at

Emma Bolland is an artist and writer who works experimentally with literatures, translations, script and screenwriting, text, space, performance, drawing, and the moving image. This includes an investigation of the problematics and ambiguities of an expanded understanding of translation—between languages and language codes, and between modes of writing, reading and speaking. She is a co-editor at Gordian Projects, a small press operating at the intersection of artist’s book, art writing, and archive. Emma is an Associate Lecturer in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, specialising in language practices. Recent publications include Over, In and Under (Dostovesky Wannabe, 2019) and appearances in edited collections The Kink in the Arc (ed. by Paul Becker), Meaningfulosity (Wolfman Books, 2019) and Love Bites (Dostovesky Wannabe, 2019).


The Real Story is a writer development project and journal devoted to promoting the form of nonfiction writing in the UK. It is funded by Arts Council England and administered by Openstories, a Manchester-based writing development organisation. Its founder-organisers are Kate Feld and Adam Farrar who are joined by Marie Crook.

Kate Feld writes short fiction, essays, poetry, and work that sits between forms. Her writing has appeared in journals and anthologies including Hotel, The Stinging Fly and The Letters Page. She is founding editor of creative nonfiction journal and reading series The Real Story and works as a journalism lecturer at the University of Salford. A native of Vermont, she has lived for many years in Manchester. Her writing can be found at

Marie Crook writes poetry and creative nonfiction and performs her work regularly in and around Manchester. Her PhD ‘The Writing Cure’ (completed at York in 2003) was concerned with the relationship between life-writing and psychoanalysis, something she continues to explore in her work. A Digital Producer for BBC Education, she creates online content to support young people with life-skills and she’s written and adapted over thirty children’s books for the Penguin Young Readers series. She is currently working on a memoir.

Adam Farrer is a creative nonfiction writer, humourist and spoken word performer based in Manchester. He is the editor of The Real Story and in 2019 became the inaugural Writer in Residence for Peel Park, Salford. He has performed his work at a number of arts and literature festivals, including Sheffield Doc/Fest, the Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival, the WAM Words and Music Festival, the Northern Light Writers Conference, the Prestwich Arts Festival and the Manchester Literature Festival. He is currently working on his first essay collection, titled The Lost Villages of Holderness and funded by Arts Council England.


Saturday 27 June from 8-9pm HOME Arts Centre, Manchester M15 4FN

Young Identity (YI) is an arts organisation that delivers dynamic poetry and spoken word workshops for young people. Their mission is to develop literacy, critical thinking and active citizenship for young people, through experimenting with the combined arts. We are delighted that YI will be launching their new anthology of creative work by members of the group who will be performing their original spoken word work live with musical interventions. Not to be missed!

Chanje Kunda ‘Plant Fetish’

Sunday 28 June 2:15-3:45 @ Carole Nash Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester M13 9RD

Chanje Kunda is a poet playwright and Performance Artist and winner of BBC’s Verb New Voices Award. Chanje was suffering with stress and anxiety when she first discovered that plants soothe the soul. She then learnt that some women in Mexico, fed up with men, were getting married to trees. Trees aren’t very talkative, but they are tall and do great things for the planet. Chanje fell in love with plants: fleshy succulents, monstera’s handshaped leaves, the Venus flytrap, the twining of a creeper. This show maps her journey.

PLUS additional research material on the subject of Masquerade

Chanje Kunda



Polyphonic is a vivid interplay between the written word and moving image that brings Romania’s best contemporary poetry to life with twenty animations by visual artist Raluca Popa. Weaving together the image-making power of poetry with diverse animation techniques, the artist created work in response to 20 poems by nine Romanian poets of various ethnic backgrounds, who use polyphony in their poetry by writing both in Romanian and their first language. The poets are Michael Astner, Andrei Dósa, Robert Gabriel Elekes, Matei Hutopila, Henriette Kemenes, Aleksandar Stoicovici, Livia Ștefan, Mihok Tamas, and Victor Țvetov.

Art and poetry have long been considered fruitful allies. Both share a structure, harmony and rhythm; both emerge from a desire to make something new out of the familiar, to capture a thought or an experience in a compelling way. Curated by London-based poet Simona Nastac and produced by the National Museum of Romanian Literature in Bucharest, Polyphonic has been presented at the London European Poetry Festival, Brussels International Poetry Fest, Haus für Poesie Berlin, Bucharest International Festival of Poetry, StAnza International Poetry Festival in St Andrews, and the Vilnius Book Weekend.

Simona Nastac is a curator, critic and poet living in London. She studied Art History and Theory in Bucharest and holds an MA in Creative Curating from Goldsmiths University, London. She has curated exhibitions and live poetry events in London, Seoul, New York, Saint Petersburg, Prague, Shanghai, Cluj and Bucharest. In 2017 she published her first poetry book, “The Depressing Colour of Honey” (Tracus Arte, Bucharest), which won the Alexandru Mușina Prize “The King of the Morning” for poetry debut. Her poems have been published in Poesis International, Harana Poetry, Why Now, and the Europoe anthology (Kingston University Press, 2019) among others. Since 2016 she has been the curator of the experimentª poetry night at the Bucharest International Festival of Poetry.

Visual artist Raluca Popa studied at Byam Shaw School of Art / Central Saint Martins (London) and The University of Art and Design (Cluj). She lives and works in Berlin. Her works have been presented in public and private institutions: Lateral ArtSpace / Fabrica de Pensule, Cluj; Guangdong Times Museum; Shed im Eisenwerk, Frauenfeld; Printmaking Gallery / The University of the Arts, Philadelphia; Rumänska Kulturinstitutet, Stockholm; Ivan Gallery, Bucharest; MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; Bucharest; Galeria Plan B, Cluj; MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest; Leopold Museum, Vienna; Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu.