Catch-up on literary series Novel Voices

This year, The University of Manchester launched the online series Novel Voices which sought out future leading lights of the literary world.

Novel Voices saw Ellah P. Wakatama (Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for New Writing) cherry-pick 10 exceptional debut authors who were invited in pairs to feature in conversation about their craft and journey towards publishing their first, full body of work.

From Meng Jin and J.A. Mensah on 22 February to Natasha Brown and Jarred McGinnis on 26 April, the series featured a genre-spanning range of authors whose narratives reflect 2021’s broad literary landscape. In the brief time that has elapsed since the series, a number of these authors have gone on to surge in popularity and receive awards – a testament to Ellah’s gift for spotting future voices.

To name just a few highlights, Cherie Jones has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021, Meng Jin is a finalist in The New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award 2021, Catherine Menon’s Fragile Monsters has been named one of the Telegraph’s best novels of 2021, and Natasha Brown is one of the Guardian’s best debut novelists of the year.

Hearing from the authors of tomorrow at the start of their career is a special thing, and we’re thrilled that so many people were able to join us for the unique insights that Novel Voices afforded. Transcending geographical boundaries, the Zoom-based delivery of the events allowed a global audience – spanning Texas to Singapore to Barbados – to be a part of this exciting series.

Making Novel Voices even more accessible, recordings have now been made available online. If you weren’t able to make these events or if you’d like to re-watch them, then you can stream all five events for free via YouTube.

Novel Voices was proudly presented by Creative Manchester, the Centre for New Writing and Blackwell’s Bookshop.

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