If you can manage to put down your books and get out of bed every now and again, there is a lot for a literature lover to do in this here Liverpool. Here are some good things:
Located here, The Bluecoat is the city’s hotspot for contemporary arts of all kinds. If you check out their events page and tick ‘Literature’ it will bring up a list of exciting literary happenings. Often they are free, or charge a very small fee. If you are a poetry fan like me then look out for their (usually free) poetry readings and groups. If you are in Liverpool this month then there is an exciting sounding Literary Walks event called Visiting Victorians on Sunday 24th July, 2-4pm. The event “evokes 19th century Liverpool and discovers how writers explored the struggles and triumphs of the town that Dickens called the ‘Copperfield stronghold'”- click the link to book tickets. The events are updated every few weeks so keep checking back to see what’s on. There is always a lot going on at the Bluecoat and it has a nice garden and places to get a bite to eat or a drink. It’s worth taking a book along and hanging out, or you know, a friend, whichever you prefer….
News from Nowhere:
For books this is your man, well, actually, your woman, your not-for-profit women’s collective to be specific. Located on Bold Street, ‘Liverpool’s Radical and Community Bookshop’ stocks all the books on your reading list, so it’s handy for that. But it’s also a great place to browse for everything you’ll ever want to read (unless you swing politically to the right…). There is a great range of books from latest releases to books on politics, activism, and everything under the blazing left-wing sun. They also have a very handy list of local events, so check that out too.
The Reader Organisation:
If you fancy doing a bit of extra reading (and why wouldn’t you?) check out the Reader’s shared reading groups. It’s good practice for your seminars to be in a nice, informal group where you get to do a bit of reading and light discussion. It’s also a great place to meet new bookish friends, and you can never have too many of them. They also offer great volunteering opportunities if you fancy jazzing up your C.V.
Liverpool Central Library:
You can never be a member of too many libraries, that’s what I always mumble from beneath my dusty pile of borrowed books I’ll never have time to actually read. You can find the lovely Liverpool Central Library here. It works just like any other library. The picture at the top of this post is of the gorgeous Picton Reading Room in the library, you totally want to hang out in there right? Have a look at their website if you want, or just go there. If you’ve got kids to entertain then the children’s section is pretty great, not just for books but for its layout – my son likes going there just for the slopes, steps, stage and cool places to sit. There’s also a Costa inside the foyer of the library, a park just opposite, a museum and art gallery next door.
Writing on the Wall:
If you want to enter some local writing competitions then do it here. There is also a month long festival each May, celebrating all sorts of writing.
The Egg Café:
The Egg is known for its delicious vegetarian/vegan offerings, but did you know they also host poetry open mic nights? Well they do: info here. Also check out The Dead Good Poets Society on Facebook for more info about events they host.
In The Red:
If you are a writer or like to hang out with writers then In The Red is the place to be for Liverpool’s student wordsmiths. Keep an eye out for submission calls and regular open mic nights where you can show off your talents.
Rhymes and Records:
For more spoken word head to The Jacaranda every second Wednesday of the month with Rhymes and Records. They offer 3 minute slots and the chance for performers to be uploaded to their YouTube Channel! Click the link for more info on how to get involved.
Check out MATE Productions in Liverpool and Prescot for an “award winning community arts organisation based in Knowsley, Merseyside; leading the community engagement for Shakespeare North”. Look out for shows and events they put on throughout the year, and stay alert throughout your degree as you might get the chance to do some fabulous work experience with them!
The Everyman Theatre is *basically* inside John Foster Building so you’ve no excuse not to visit sometime (okay, you may have to go outside and cross the road). The Playhouse is not so far away either. Check out What’s On because there’s bound to be something you want to watch. To sweeten the deal LJMU students get £5 tickets AND 10% off in the café and shop so you may become the theatre-going dahhhling you’ve always dreamed of being without breaking the bank.
Liverpool Literary Festival:
The Liverpool Literary Festival runs from 28th-30th October 2016 and promises to host “an exhilarating weekend of discussions, readings and debates reflecting the insatiable curiosity of both the city and University of Liverpool”. Although it does mean cavorting with the enemy (boo!) there are loads of lectures and discussions that are bound to be interesting and useful to students, including an opening lecture by author Ali Smith (who you might at some point study if you’re into gender theory), a discussion of Frankenstein led by Philip Pullman (if this doesn’t excite you then we aren’t freinds), a discussion of the life of Ted Hughes (get your Team Ted or Team Sylvia banners ready), a talk on David Bowie’s reading list, and, perhaps most thrillingly, a talk on The Dinosaur That Pooped which includes actual video clips of its creators Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter of Mcfly and McBusted fame. I will be there with my McBusted t-shirt on for sure. Do check out the festival webpage because there’s bound to be something you’ll want to see. You do need to buy tickets for most of the events but the concession prices are reasonable and I’ve no doubt it’ll be worth it!
So that’s my little round up of literary things to do in this fine city. There’s bound to be waaaaaay more that I’ve missed, so go exploring and let me know what cool, bookish things you find to do!
-Katie and T.E.A