The Word 2014 – Another successful year

Engrossing speakers, curious and interested attendees, and book sales aplenty. These were the hallmarks of the Word 2014.

Thank you to everyone who dropped in. See you next year.

Below: short story writer John Rutter; agent and Unthank publisher Robin Jones; short story writer Elizabeth Baines; YA writer Joseph Delaney talking to Heather Carey; the dangerously lovable Les Malheureux (Sarah-Clare Conlon & David Gaffney).

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The Word – programme for the day published

Time Activity Notes  
9.15am Arrival 9.30am
9.30am Welcome 9.40am
9.40am Conrad Jones Self-publishing + Q&A 10.45am
10.45am COFFEE BREAK Pop-up bookshop & networking 11am
11am Alan Whelan Travel writing + Q&A 11.45pm
11.45pm Robin Jones
Unthank Books


Independent publishing

Two short stories from Unthology writers (Sarah Dobbs & Elizabeth Baines)


12.45pm LUNCH Pop-up book shop & networking 2pm
2pm Welcome Back 2.05pm
2.05pm Marli Roode Reading from her short fiction collection 2.40pm
2.40pm COFFEE BREAK Pop-up bookshop & networking 3pm
3pm Joseph Delaney


Young adult fiction & dealing with Hollywood + Q&A 4.15pm


Les Malheureux David Gaffney & Sarah-Clare Conlon
micro-fictions set to music
4.50pm Close “Join us for drinks in the snug” 5pm

Last Guest Speaker announced… Marli Roode

Marli Roode was born in South Africa and moved to the UK when she was 17. After earning an MA in Philosophy and Literature, she worked as a freelance journalist in London before beginning work on her novel, Call It Dog, at Manchester University’s Centre for New Writing. Her short stories Second Degree and Spring Tide were published in the 2009 and 2010 Bristol Short Story Prize Anthologies; Pieces Green was shortlisted for the 2011 Bridport Prize. Call It Dog was shortlisted for the 2013 Dylan Thomas Prize. She lives in Manchester.

Robin Jones – Literary Agent & Chair of Unthank Books

robin jonesRobin Jones is the Chairman of Unthank Books and a literary agent.

Unthank have published a wide range of novels and short stories, including Captivity by Lander Hawes, Killing Daniel by Sarah Dobbs, and King of the Jungle by KS Silkwood.

Last year Unthank issued Red Room, edited by AJ Ashworth, which was a series of short stories inspired by the Brontes.  The company also publishes the popular Unthology series, showcasing short stories from both new and established writers.   Unthology 6 is out this autumn and includes many North West authors.

Unthank Authors Sarah Dobbs & Elizabeth Baines will also be appearing at this year’s Word festival.

Meet Sarah-Clare Conlon the other half of Les Malheureux

Sarah-Clare ConlonSarah-Clare Conlon is a prize-winning author and her work is published by Salt Publishing, Comma Press, Stand, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Paris Lit Up, among others.  She also writes for a living, working with a diverse range of organisations that include: Creative Industries Trafford, They Eat Culture, Birmingham Book Festival, Redeye Photography Network, Mark Devereux Projects, Royal Exchange, Manchester Craft & Design Centre and Cracking Good Food.  She’s also edited a number of novels and anthologies by acclaimed authors and non-fiction manuscripts for Manchester University Press. In her spare time Sarah-Clare regularly organises acclaimed live literature events and runs creative writing workshops, as well as performing nationally and internationally with spoken word and music act Les Malheureux.

Unthank author Sarah Dobbs at The Word

Sarah Dobbs is an author and lecturer in English and Creative Writing who lives in Manchester and earned a PhD from Lancaster University.  Her debut novel, Killing Daniel a literary thriller received rave reviews and was nominated for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize.  She has also published short stories in Red Room and Unthology 3 and is working on her second novel.

Alan Whelan to share travel writing tales at The Word…

alan whelanAlan Whelan is a ghost-writer, author, copywriter and world wanderer based in Lytham. He has ghost-written books on subjects ranging from heart-breaking true stories to the memoirs of an entrepreneur.

He is best known for his non-fiction travel books.   African Brew Ha-Ha tells the story of his journey to find the people at the hidden heart of Africa… and sit down for a nice cup of tea with them.   His second book, The Black Stars of Ghana  documents his journey across Ghana to discover the effects of two generations of independent rule within his lifetimeAlan has just returned from his fourth motorcycle trip to Africa.

Music & micro fiction from David Gaffney

David Gaffney is the author of three critically acclaimed micro-fiction collections including the Edgehill Prize-long-listed The Half-life Of Songs and his first novel Never Never.  Along with writing how-to articles for The Guardian, Sunday Times, Financial Times and Prospect, his second novel More Sawn-off Tales, was published in May 2013.

David is behind two of Manchester’s more subversive literary events: guerrilla-writing project Errata Slips for Cornerhouse Micro Commissions, in which fake amends telling a story are surreptitiously added to magazines, and Station Stories, when six writers “secretly” performed short stories to audiences linked by headphones.

David has been seen performing short stories with an electric guitar and his collaboration with poet, blogger and flash fiction author Sarah-Clare Conlon, Les Malheureux can only be described as a unique way of performing stories.

Les Malheureux will be performing at this year’s Word Festival.

Manchester-based novelist Elizabeth Baines at this year’s Word Festival

Manchester based novelist Elizabeth Baines has so far spread her talents across writing, teaching, editing and the occasional bit of acting.  Welsh born Elizabeth is a prizewinning author of prose fiction and plays, with an established career as an acclaimed radio dramatist.  Her work for BBC Radio 4 have included the comedy series The Circle, a contemporary vampire serial Sweet Blood, and numerous single plays.  She co-founded and edited the acclaimed short-story magazine Metropolitan and has taught Fiction Writing at Bolton Institute and the University of Manchester.

Her collection of short stories, Balancing on the Edge of the World, published by Salt, was pronounced a stunning debut collection (The Short Review).  Both her novels Too Many Magpies and The Birth Machine were also published by Salt.

This year, Elizabeth’s story Looking for the Castle was runner-up in the Short Fiction Journal Prize and Tides, Or How Stories Do or Don’t Get Told appears in the Best British Short Stories 2014.  She has been short-listed for countless awards including runner up for the Bridport Prize.