A central component of the 'Moving Manchester' project was the series of interviews and subsequent discussions with the writers and cultural agents who had agreed to be involved with the research. The first section of the interviews constituted a discussion of why the writers had started writing in the first place. The interviews bear witness to a creative impulse which the writers represent as culturally distinctive. That this distinctiveness is specific to someone of diasporic origin is explicitly mentioned in several of the statements and is strongly implied in others. One of the presuppositions was that the creative outputs of the writers fulfilled a social function which went beyond personal expression. The project opened up a space of dialogue between the different actors and offered a facility which promoted the wider dissemination of the work of a relatively diverse group of Manchester writer/performers.
Postcolonial Manchester offers a radical new perspective on Britain's devolved literary cultures by focusing on Manchester's vibrant, multicultural literary scene. This book presents the North West of England as quintessential 'diaspora space' and contributes to a better understanding of the region in social, cultural and aesthetic terms. It examines the way in which stories, poems and plays set in locales such as 'the Curry Mile' and Moss Side, have attempted to reshape Manchester's collective visions. The book features a broad demographic of authors and texts emanating from different diasporic communities and representing a wide range of religious affiliations. Manchester's black and Asian writers have struggled to achieve recognition within the literary mainstream, partly as a result of exclusion from London-centric, transnational publishing houses. Manchester's unfortunate reputation as one of Britain's 'crime capitals' is analysed by the use of fiction to stretch and complicate more popular explanations. A historical overview of Manchester's literary anthologies is presented through a transition from a writing that paid tribute to political resistance to more complex political statements, and focuses on the short story as a literary mode. The book combines close readings of some of the city's best-known performance poets such as Lemn Sissay and SuAndi with analysis of the literary cultures that have both facilitated and challenged their art. The book affords readers the opportunity to hear many of the chapter authors 'in their own words' by reflecting on how they themselves in terms of the literary mainstream and their identities.