Diaspora space and the devolution of literary culture

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.

Corinne Fowler

order to explore the obstacles faced by black and Asian writers, this chapter initially takes the example of Joe Pemberton’s novel Forever and Ever Amen (2000), discussed in an earlier essay published in 2008, before considering how such problems are amplified and complicated for poets, whose work is by definition a noncommercial literary form. This chapter considers the prospects for the next generation of British black and British Asian poets in the light of significant changes that are affecting the publishing industry, including the rise of social media, the

in Postcolonial Manchester
Manchester’s poetry in performance (1960s to the present)
Corinne Fowler

a new surge of popular interest in British poetry. This popularity is not unprecedented. It is reminiscent of mass poetry readings associated with the British Poetry Revival4 (1960–75), and Manchester’s poetry in performance is strongly associated with the devolved cosmopolitanism5 of poets associated with the revival, such as Roger McGough and Brian Patten from neighbouring Liverpool. To my knowledge, this is the first time that the British Poetry Revival has been discussed in connection with the work of British black and British Asian poets but my research has

in Postcolonial Manchester