Let’s start with a confession. I didn’t get out nearly as much as I should have last year. Let’s continue with a plot twist. Despite not going out much, I still managed to see very good things. Manchester is useful like that, all literary.
Fat Roland’s one man show at the Lowry was all sorts of brilltastic. Beth Underdown’s ghost-filled National Trust commission at Manchester Literature Festival was great and you got a handsome looking pamphlet with it and everything. I didn’t get to many live literature nights but managed a Bad Language, which was fab as always and a First Draft at the Portico Library which was ridiculously good from beginning to end.
My (selfish) highlight of the year though was the launch of Normal People at Waterstones. Selfish because during the event, Sally Rooney said something so smart that it sent my brain on a little meander that concluded with me identifying why my novel wasn’t quite working and what I needed to do to fix it.
Sure, everyone else I mentioned was great, but did they help me analyse the problematic nature of the narrative structure of my novel? No. No they did not. So Sally Rooney is the winner. Better luck next time, everyone else.