Sarah Butler, author of Manchester-set coming-of-age novel Before the Fire, shares her favourite representations of her hometown.
Sarah lives in Manchester and runs a consultancy which develops literature and arts projects that explore and question our relationship to place.
Poem - Rain by Lemn Sissay
This poem is painted onto the side of a building on Oxford Road in Manchester (right near to St Mary’s Hospital where I was born). I have a long standing interest in the relationship between text and place, and also a long standing relationship with Manchester rain, so this poem appeals on many levels!
A great police drama, set in Manchester. I particularly love the opening credits which give a real flavour of Manchester’s urban fabric: red-brick, glass, concrete. This is one of the few TV dramas I’ve watched where the two leads are women, their boss is a woman, and her boss is a woman – very refreshing!
A page-turning mystery set in 18th century Manchester which conjures up the city at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.
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Another police drama (so many of Manchester’s representations in books and TV are associated with crime...). This was written by Paul Abbott, of Shameless fame, and is a sparky, funny, at times brutal but very watchable drama.
A beautiful, funny film starring Steve Evets as a Manchester postman having a rough time, and Eric Cantona as his imaginary life coach. I’m not a football fan at all, but this is a fantastic story about male friendship, love and finding your place in the world.
While this isn’t strictly a representation of Manchester, it is the epitome of my teenage years in Manchester in the late 1990s. Listening to it evokes the city so strongly for me.