THE first major names who will be part of the Manchester Literature Festival have been revealed.

The festival, which returns to the city in October, will welcome the undisputed king of Scottish crime fiction Ian Rankin.

He will discuss his new thriller featuring the character DI John Rebus, A Heart Full of Headstones, at the Royal Northern College of Music on Wednesday, October 12.

The event, presented in partnership with Waterstones, will be hosted by Jackie Kay, acclaimed poet and former Makar of Scotland.

The festival gets underway on Friday, October 7 when Ruth Jones, star of the hit TV series Gavin and Stacey and Stella will be at Home to talk about her new novel Love Untold.

The BAFTA award-winning Welsh screenwriter, actor, comedian and novelist will share stories about her career creating and playing characters on page and screen.

Other headline performances also announced for the festival include an evening with Kamila Shamsie at the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama on Bridgeford Street, Manchester on Saturday, March 8.

Hosted by broadcaster Razia Iqbal, the author who won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018 for her novel Home Fire, will discuss her latest book Best of Friends.

The Royal Northern College of Music will welcome a very special guest on Sunday, October 9, when one of the country’s best loved actresses will talk about her remarkable life.

An afternoon with Sheila Hancock will be hosted by broadcaster and critic Alex Clark. With a career spanning seven decades, Sheila Hancock has worked in film, on TV and in radio as well as being a best selling author. She will talk about her new memoir Old Rage.

On Sunday, October 2, two pioneers - Edward Enninful and Bernardine Evaristo will be in conversation.

Edward, author of A Visible Man, was the first Black editor-in-chief of British Vogue and overcame prejudice and challenged the establishment and its attitude to inclusion.

Benardine was the the first Black woman and Black British person to win the Booker Prize for her novel Girl, Woman, Other.

Best selling author Maggie O’Farrell will talk about her latest work, The Marriage Portrait, during an evening at Home on Thursday, March 24 hosted by fellow festival headliner and MLF Patron Kamila Shamsie.

In total over 40 different events will be held at venues around the city as the festival returns to being a fully-live event following the pandemic.

The full programme will be announced on Wednesday, August 24 with tickets for the headline events already on sale from

Now in its 17th year, Manchester Literature Festival has been building on its previous success expanding audiences and creating new partnerships across the national and international literary world.