A History of Literature in Manchester
With the likes of The Secret Garden author Francis Hodgson Burnett, Elisabeth Gaskell, and the opium-fiend, Thomas de Quincey, Manchester has a rich heritage in producing writing talent.
In more modern times, exceptional writers like Jeannette Winterson and Howard Jacobson hail from Manchester, whilst the brilliant writer and poet Lemn Sissay OBE occupies the office of Chancellor of the University of Manchester.
Must-Visit Manchester Bookshops
Paramount Books is a really unique spot in this list of Manchester Bookshops.
They have all of the latest literary paperbacks, plus classic genre staples such as Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
However, what’s really interesting about Paramount Books is their extraordinary collection of vintage magazines and collectable first editions of older books.
A broad church of publishing, you can even buy comics and graphic novels. Ace!
Much like its Leeds counterpart, the Manchester Travelling Man Bookshop is nerd paradise.
From comics, to graphic novels, to table top board games… this is where you want to be for all things anime, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Definitely a must-visit if you’re heading Manchester way.
Catalog bookshop is definitely the quirkiest of Manchester bookshops, insofar that it’s a bookshop on wheels. Bicycle wheels!
Inspired by a trip to Copenhagen, owner Peter believes in blending ‘the practicality of industrial design with the sustainability of the Nordic minimalism’.
You’ll usually find him on Oxford Road, selling periodicals and indie published books off the back of a cargo bike.
Check out Peter’s Instagram for pictures, and some of the latest periodicals available from Catalog.
Chorlton Books is a family-run chocolate box-like bookshop designed for all the family.
From the gates at the front to the approachable interior, this Manchester bookshop is built on a passion for encouraging reading in young people.
They also have a free book ordering service, with many books – whether fiction or non-fiction, hardback or paperback, available on a next-day delivery service. Neat!
Also, they sell Jellycat children’s cuddly toys. My kids love those.
Chapter One Books is a really interesting spot.
Part artisan coffee house, serving some delightful-looking cakes (check out their Insta for instantly gratifying food porn), it’s also a really beautiful place to write, watch the world go by, and – well, you know, buy books!
May win the award of most beautiful bookshop on this list. Definitely check it out.
Urmston bookshop in Manchester is a classic community-first bookshop.
Working closely with local schools, arranging author outreach visits and welcoming school trips to the shop, they perform a really important role in the local community.
Queer Lit was founded by owner Matthew to help fellow LGBTQ+ readers discover literature that expressed their own lived experiences.
Manchester has a particularly vibrant gay scene, but he found representation in literary circles to be a challenge.
In only October last year, Queer Lit was awarded ‘Best New Business’ at the LGBTQ+ Business Awards, and by the looks of things – they have plans to expand.
It’s a stunning little shop and definitely worth poking your head in next time you’re Manchester-bound.
Oh, and they also have a bookshop doggo called Jasper who I hear is one of the goodest of boys.
The Modernist, a mere stone’s throw from fellow booksellers Chapter One Books, focuses primarily on architecture and design books.
A quirky spot, you can buy prints and even stationery (who doesn’t love stationery?!)
Fans of modernist art and architecture can even sign up to a quarterly magazine, which focuses on untold stories and undiscovered places. Previous topics have included a Paris tower block, a city in Eritrea, a micro apartment in Tokyo, and even something as trivial as an Accrington public toilet!
Spearheaded by bookseller, David, Blackwell’s Manchester runs a range of bookish events, including panels and book launches – always with really interesting guests.
Plus, it’s just a really beautiful shop. Well worth visiting.
How many of these Manchester bookshops have you visited? Let me know some of your favourites in the comments below!