Tony O’Neill and Graeme Shimmin, a Bad Language collaboration

Tony O'Neill event poster

New York author TONY O’NEILL will join us on November 25th for a noir-filled night of novel reading, with a special support slot from GRAEME SHIMMIN, author of spy thriller A Kill In The Morning.

Support will come from Bad Language names DAVID HARTLEY and FAT ROLAND.

Tony is here to promote Black Neon, which Irvine Welsh calls “pitch black classic slice of neo-noir, where black magic, art house cinema, drug-fuelled madness and apocalyptic violence collide with dizzying effect.”

“I fell in love with every page,” adds Welsh.

Tony is a founding member of the Brutalists, a literary collective alongside Adelle Stripe and Ben Myers. He has played in Kenickie, in The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and with Marc Almond and Kelli Ali. Alongside novels, he has co-written memoirs and has written short stories for the likes of 3:AM Magazine. He’s even written poetry. Basically, he’s done everything.

Tony O’Neill appears courtesy of Bluemoose Books and Bad Language. This event takes place at Blackwell’s bookshop, Oxford Road, Manchester on Tuesday November 25th 2014 at 7pm. Entry is free. Join the Facebook event page here.

Science talks 2014

Manchester Science Festival logoOur popular annual talks for Manchester Science Festival are bigger than ever this year, and will take place in two venues: here at Blackwell’s and at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Look out for a pigeon from the past teaching us about the decline of species, the last people you expect to ignore climate change, top mathematician Alex Bellos making numbers add up for us non-mathematicians, plenty of animal sex, the story of the biggest particle hunt of all time and a spot of stargazing with TV’s Mark Thompson.

(We recommend you book for the Alex Bellos and Mark Thompson events. Click their names to book.)

Our event schedule:

A message from Martha, the world’s last carrier pigeon
Saturday, October 25th at 17:30 in Blackwell’s (see event)

Why we ignore climate change
Monday, October 27th at 18:30 in Blackwell’s (see event)

What’s your favourite number? with Alex Bellos
Tuesday, October 28th at 18:30 at the Burgess Foundation (see event) (get tickets)

Sex on earth
Thursday, October 30th at 18:30 in Blackwell’s (see event)

Smashing Physics: inside the world’s biggest experiment
Saturday, November 1st at 14:00 in Blackwell’s (see event)

Stargazing with Mark Thompson
Saturday, November 1st at 18:30 (see event) (get tickets)

See all events here

Very Short Talks

Very Short Talks poster

On November 27th, Blackwell’s will host an evening of talks with selected authors from the brilliant, bestselling book series Very Short Introductions.

Oliver P Richmond talking about peace;
Jamie Woodward talking about the Ice Age;
Tim Bayne talking about thought.

Come and have your brain stretched in this entertaining (and FREE) evening packed with facts, analysis, new ideas and buckets of enthusiasm. Hosted by local compere and comic performer Fat Roland.

Venue: Blackwell’s bookshop, Oxford Road, Manchester
Date: 27th November 2014
Time: 6.30pm
Admission: free – no need to book

Brought to you by Blackwell’s and Oxford University Press.


The Manchester launch of @anneliesemack’s #AnyOtherMouth: 18 June 2014


Book launch poster

Any Other Mouth is the debut short story collection by Manchester-based author Anneliese Mackintosh, and we’re delighted to be hosting the English launch of the book here in Blackwell’s.

Anneliese Mackintosh is a Bridport Short Story Prize shortlistee and her fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. She is an associate editor in her spare time, and this collection was years in the making.

Supporting her on the night will be master of very short fiction David Gaffney, novelist Socrates Adams and multi-talented author Michelle Green. The event will be hosted by the inimitable Fat Roland.

Click here to join the Facebook event page. Click here to read a five-star review of Any Other Mouth.

Date: Wednesday 18 June 2014
Time: 6.30pm

Venue: Blackwell’s bookshop, Manchester
Admission: free

The @RainyCity rises for @McrHistFest’s RUINED


Let history record that our RUINED short story night for Manchester Histories Festival was an excellent success.

Eleven scribes told tales inspired by the lost buildings of Manchester: we had humour and horror, weirdness and whimsy, sadness and joy.

Our sincere thanks must go to our performers Abi Hynes, Adam Blaize, Benjamin Judge, David Hartley, Joe Daly, Lee Moore, Sarah Butler, Sarah Jasmon, Sian Cummins, Tom Mason, Trisha Starbrook and compere Fat Roland.

As past places came alive at the event, there has been an internet revival of sorts too. Rainy City Stories was a project that mapped Manchester with narrative. The stories from Ruined are now appearing there. Have a read of the five that have appeared so far:

Finding Mitchell Street by Sarah Jasmon;

Fort by Sarah Butler;

The History You Tell Them by JP Daly;

St John’s Church by Abi Hynes;

Lest We Forget by David Hartley.

An appreciation of Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves (3 of 3)

Here is our third of three bloggish appreciations of Mark Z Danielewski‘s House of Leaves as a sideways way of celebrating the release of Fifty-Year Sword on Cargo Publishing. See the other blog posts here and here.

Our event with Mark is on Tuesday April 15th (buy your tickets now). This is our biggest event of the year so far and it’s unmissable. Seriously. Get a ticket or two before they all go.




S-comma, s-comma, s-comma…


Not just text.

An appreciation of Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2 of 3)

In advance of our Mark Z Danielewski event on Tuesday, we take a little time out for a closer look at the postmodern genius of House of Leaves.

Do join us on Tuesday. The event will take place at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation at 6.30pm, and support will come from the winner of the Dundee International Book Prize, Nicola White 

Get your tickets before they sell out.


The beginning.


If you guess the connection between these names, you get a free lens cap.


Some words just spine chilling.

Clare Debenham book launch

In the shop:
Thursday, April 10th at 18:30 – 19:30

Join political historian Birth Control and the Rights of WomenDr Clare Debenham as she launches Birth Control And The Rights Of Women, her new book exploring the nationwide campaign for birth control – including Marie Stopes’ free “contraception caps” – after women were granted the vote in 1918.

The book, published by IB Tauris, explores a hugely important grass roots social movement, its threat to Victorian ideas about female sexuality, and its empowerment for women everywhere. It features brand new archival material in the forms of memoirs, personal papers and press cuttings.

The launch will be an informal affair, and all are welcome. We have wine and cake, and – crucially – on the night only, attendees can buy the book for £25 rather than the usual retail price of £59.95.

An appreciation of Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves (1 of 3)

On Tuesday, April 15th, we will host a book talk and signing with Mark Z Danielewski. He has a brand new edition of Fifty-Year Sword out on Cargo Publishing. You can buy your tickets for that event here.

In this, and two other blog posts, we appreciate the stunning beauty of his classic House of Leaves.


“hollowed out… beneath the belly…”


Positively waltz-like.


Lists and lists and lists.

RUINED: Short Short Stories from Long Lost Places


Fat Roland, compere of 2013’s visual story night Electric Shorts, hosts this very special evening of commissioned short, short stories for Manchester Histories Festival.

Local authors excavate uncanny tales from the ruins of Manchester’s lost buildings.

Expect tales told with humour, pathos and a touch of the uncanny by some of the best performers on Manchester’s live literature scene.

It all takes place in a venue filled with books and endless stories. All around us in Manchester, we demolish, yet the voices echo on… arrive early to ensure a good seat!

Line-up: Abi Hynes, Adam Blaize, Benjamin Judge, Dave Hartley, Joe Daly, Lee Moore, Sarah Butler, Sarah Jasmon, Sian Cummins, Tom Mason & Trisha Starbrook.

THURSDAY 27 MARCH 2014 7.30pm (doors 7pm). Free admission. Blackwell’s bookshop, Oxford Road, Manchester M20 5QB.