This is where we’ll put all of our news about story updates, Manchester literature events – including our forthcoming writing workshops – and related projects. You can stay fully tuned by joining our Facebook group or subscribing to Rainy City Stories via RSS, email or Twitter.

August 12, 2010 – After a week of public voting and deliberation by judges, we’re delighted to announce the winners in our Rain Never Stops Play competition, run in conjunction with Creative Tourist: Belfast-based Troubles and The City Is Leaving Me, set in Manchester. The City Is Leaving Me, written by Manchester-based Lydia Unsworth, is a tale of love and loss between the protagonist and the city. Surprising, touching and funny, you can read it in full here.

June 3, 2010 –

Rain Never Stops Play: A summer short story competition from Creative Tourist and Rainy City Stories

‘If you look hard enough, you can find romance and mystery and dark undercurrents everywhere in life,’ the author Jonathan Coe said recently, and this seems especially apt to us when considering writing set in cities. The city is the ultimate microcosm, a collection of souls whose experiences and views and memories of their shared home are infinitely varied and individual.

We love cities (especially our famously wet Manchester, but really, all cities.) We love good writing. So to celebrate great urban writing, Creative Tourist and Rainy City Stories have teamed up to launch a new short story competition, Rain Never Stops Play.

We’re looking for great tales from the city. By this we mean stories that encapsulate some of the romance or the horror, the daily drudgery or the surreal moments, the beauty or the decay of modern urban life. Stories should be contemporary or set within the last ten years, and should provide a detailed snapshot of city life. Rather than just being the place the action happens, the city must be fully present in the story, almost having the same stature as another character. We want to walk the streets with your characters, see what they see, hear what they hear – be transported there.

The competition is open to anyone, from any city. We will be selecting one Manchester winner and one winner from elsewhere. The winning stories will be published on Creative Tourist and Rainy City Stories, and the winners will receive a cash prize of £100 and tickets to some very special events at this year’s Manchester Literature Festival (we have to keep these under wraps until the programme is officially announced  but we promise you’ll love them).

The stories will be selected by a judging panel including author Jenn Ashworth, poet John McAuliffe of The University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing, Creative Tourist editor Susie Stubbs and Rainy City Stories editor Kate Feld… and you.  In July, Creative Tourist will publish the first 500 words of a shortlist of six and open the shortlist up to a public vote (the vote will count as 40% towards the selection of the final winner). The final winners will be announced on 2 August.

Some more important details: the competition is open to all writers, both published and non-published, but the story entered must not have been published previously, either in print or online. Please note that all stories must be 3,000 words or less, longer entries will not be considered, and please only send in one entry per person.

To enter, email your story as an attached word document to Please put ‘Rain Never Stops Play’ in the subject line. Please specify where your story is set, and include your full name, place of residence and a 2-3 sentence biography, including any relevant blogs or website links. Please make sure we have your contact details, including a telephone number. All entries must be received by 6pm on 2 July. Terms and conditions apply (see below).

Terms and Conditions

1. This competition is not open to employees of Manchester Museums Consortium and its nine associated venues; Marketing Manchester, Visit Manchester or any agency or company connected with this competition or family members of employees of these organisations.

2. Only one entry per person.

3. No prize alternative is available. Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and non-changeable. Our decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

4. The competition will be closed at 6pm on Friday 2 July 2010. Any entries received after this date will not be entered into the prize draw.

5. Entrants acknowledge that their entries may be released or displayed to the public by Manchester Museums Consortium/Creative Tourist, Rainy City Stories and/or or any agency connected with the competition and assign all rights necessary for promotion and publication of such entries to Manchester Museums Consortium/ Creative Tourist. Winners agree to grant Manchester Museums Consortium/ Creative Tourist or any agency connected with the competition the right to use their name and likeness and excerpts from their story for advertising and publicity purposes without any additional compensation.

6. The winning Manchester story will be published on Rainy City Stories and both the winning Manchester and non-Manchester story will be published on Creative Tourist. By entering you agree to allow Manchester Museums Consortium/Creative Tourist and Rainy City Stories to publish in full your competition entry. Excerpts from six entries will also be published on Creative Tourist and opened up to a public vote and by entering the competition you agree to allow Manchester Museums Consortium/Creative Tourist.

7. Copyright for all entries remains with the author(s).

8. The competition shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales.

9.These terms and conditions do not confer any rights to any third parties under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

May 19, 2010 – Artist Abi Milnes has illustrated five Rainy City Stories! You can view her illustration by clicking on the small versions alongside each story:

April 13, 2010 – Rainy City Stories writing workshops are back:

AGMAIn May and June 2010 Rainy City Stories is going to be running some more of our popular ‘writing about place’ creative writing workshops across Greater Manchester. These two-hour sessions will explore how the best writers successfully evoke the unique feeling of a place, and how descriptions and telling details can be used to transport the reader to a particular setting.

The workshops are suitable for all levels of writer. Places are free, but limited to 15 people per session, so early booking is advised. (*Note two of the workshops are with a specific group of participants, the rest are open to all.)

They will be led by the following authors:

Jenn Ashworth lives in Preston. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize and she was chosen as one of Waterstone’s New Voices for 2009. She is currently working on her second novel, and she also blogs at

Suzanne Batty has published two collections of poems, most recently The Barking Thing (Bloodaxe Books). She is an experienced workshop leader who teaches Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and is co-editor of poetry journal Rain Dog.

Shamshad Khan is the author of a collection of poetry, Megalomaniac (Salt). She has edited two poetry anthologies and her writing has appeared in many others and has been been broadcast on the BBC.

Nicholas Royle is the author of five novels, including The Director’s Cut and Antwerp. He has edited 13 original anthologies. He teaches creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. He runs an independent imprint, Nightjar Press, specialising in short story chapbooks.

Sessions will be held in:

Rochdale Thursday May 6, 2-4 pm, Touchstones Rochdale. With Nicholas Royle. To book call 01706 924 492

Leigh Wednesday May 12, 6 – 8pm, The Derby Room, The Turnpike Centre, Leigh WN7 1EB. With Jenn Ashworth. To book call 01942 404404

Cheetham Hill Saturday 15th May, 11am – 1 pm, Buddleia Space,  573 Cheetham Hill Road (basement). With Shamshad Khan. To book call 07974 422 608.

Tameside Monday May 17, 6 – 8pm, Tameside Central Library, Ashton-under-Lyne. With Jenn Ashworth. To book call 0161 342 2031.

*Salford *For Contour Housing tenants* Wednesday May 19 7-9pm at Contour Housing offices in Salford Quays. With Jenn Ashworth.

Stockport Sunday May 23, 2-4 pm, Stockport Art Gallery. With Nicholas Royle. Part of Stockport Culturefeast 2010. To book call 0161 474 4453

Trafford – Tuesday May 25th 7-9pm, Hale Library. With Shamshad Khan. To book call 0161 912 5966

Oldham Thursday 3rd June 1:30-3:30pm, Oldham Library. With Suzanne Batty. To book call 0161 770 8000.

*Bolton – *With the Sahara Women’s Group* Bolton Council of Mosques. Tuesday June 15th, 1-2:30pm. With Shamshad Khan

Bury – Saturday June 19 from 2-4 pm, The Phoenix Centre, St. Mary’s Park, Prestwich. This will be an intergenerational workshop for young people and adults together. With Suzanne Batty. To book call 0161 253 5545

For more information email kate [at] openstories [dot] org.

These workshops are supported by the Association for Greater Manchester Authorities.

December 18, 2009 – The Rainy City Stories logo you see above was given a Gold medal in the 2009 Fresh Creative Awards (see page 77 of this pdf). Thanks to Manchester’s own Mark Studio for their excellent design work

November 2, 2009 – Rainy City Stories is featured on the Guardian’s Books Podcast this week! If you want to listen, its the last item, which starts around 26 minutes in. Guardian Literary Editor Claire Armitstead called it “one of the most imaginative (Manchester Literature) Festival projects” she’s heard of.

October 21, 2009 – We’ve just published our first set of Rainy City Stories podcasts – click here to listen to them.

September 3, 2009 –  We’ve had a busy summer filled with reading and writing and publishing more Rainy City Stories. We like this one-story-or-poem-a-week schedule. It feels right to us. But if we’re going to keep it up we need some more submissions, and stocks are running low. So if you’ve been sitting on a piece of Manchester-based writing, hemming and hawing about sending it to us, send it in!

Loads to tell you about…  Our June creative writing workshops were a roaring success. All booked up fast and the feedback was uniformly very positive. We think that’s entirely down to the considerable talents of writer Suzanne Batty, who led these workshops.  (Suzanne is doing a more extensive workshop for experienced writers October 17 & 18  in connection with the Angels of Anarchy exhibition.)

We are currently waiting to hear back on some grant applications but hope we’ll be able to put together a new programme of RCS workshops before too long. Until then, we are offering one workshop during the Manchester Literature Festival: Writer David Gaffney is doing a “writing about place” workshop for Rainy City Stories on Saturday 24 October from 11:30-1:30 at Friends Meeting House in Manchester (£5/£3).

Right now we’re busy recording some RCS writers reading their stories for a podcast that will follow a walking route in the city centre. We’ll be launching the podcast with a live promenade event featuring readings on site, starting at 1pm on Tuesday October 20 from Urbis. Tickets will be very limted for this free event, so book early if you’re interested.

Tickets for both the writing workshop and the “Walking the Rain” tour can be booked on the Manchester Literature Festival site here, or by calling 0843 208 0500.

May  19, 2009 – Hey. We said there’d be workshops, didn’t we? So we’ve teamed up with the lovely folks at Commonword to offer a series of creative writing workshops just for you. The first Rainy City Stories writing workshops will be taking place across Greater Manchester in June. And somewhat unsurprisingly, the theme of these sessions will be “writing about place.”

How do the best writers successfully evoke the unique character of a place? How can  telling details be used to transport the reader to a particular setting? Writer Suzanne Batty will help writers explore new tactics and techniques in a two-hour workshop suitable for all flavours of writer, from underseasoned to extra spicy.

Suzanne has published two collections of poetry, most recently The barking Thing (Bloodaxe). She is an experienced workshop leader who teaches Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and is co-editor of poetry journal Rain Dog.

Because we believe in freedom this workshop’s completely free, thanks to the generous support of our benefactor Arts Council England. But places are limited to twelve lucky people per session. So if you want in, book nowish.  There are four workshops:

Stockport Art Gallery Saturday June 13, 2-4 pm
To book ring 0161 474 4453

Bury Fusiliers’ Museum Wednesday June 24, 7-9 pm
To book ring 01706 823264

Hyde Library Thursday June 25, 1-3 pm
To book ring 0161 342 4450

Standish Library Saturday June 27, 10am-12pm
To book ring 01257 400496

In other news, we’ve had some great writing on the map lately. But we’ve noticed the skies over Levenshulme, that buzzing bastion of creativity, are remarkably clear. Weird, eh? Anyone out there want to send us something?

April 6, 2009 – Hurrah! After a long, dark winter, spring is slowly stealing over the city. Daffodils are pushing their way up through the empty crisp packets. And the writers of Manchester have been inspired. We’ve had some excellent work published on the site in the last couple of months – check out our archive if you want to catch up.

We had our first ever Rainy City Stories writing workshop at Body Positive in Whalley Range, and it was a big success. Thanks to Cathy Bolton, workshop leader extraordinaire, for a great afternoon, and Arts About Manchester for organising the day as part of their Open City Project.

We’re teaming up with  Commonword to run some more workshops around Greater Manchester in June, and have even more planned for the Manchester Literature Festival in October.  The idea is to get folks thinking about how we look at place, and do some writing about places in the city that are significant to them. They’ll be free workshops open to the general public and suitable for all flavours of writer, from the total newbie to the seasoned pro.  We’ll tell you more when we have everything all ironed out.  And please let us know if you’re interested in having us come in and do a workshop with your community group, school or organisation.

February 13, 2009 – It’s almost Valentines’s Day, and we can report that our Rainy City Love Stories contest was a roaring success. In a single month we received 56 stories, poems and bits of writing spanning every imaginable kind of love. We read romances involving snakes, bees, cats, superheroes, ghosts and the Man City squad.  To find out which made the shortlist, and who eventually won, click here.

February 5, 2009 – The love contest is proving to be very popular, with dozens of mentions on blogs and literature sites, and in the media. As the deadline is fast approaching, we’ve started sifting through the entries so far. If you’re working on a story, please make sure it’s in by the close of business on February 10!

January 11, 2009 – We’ve launched a contest: Rainy City Love Stories. The deadline is February 10 and the winning entry will be published in time for Valentine’s Day, February 14. The writer will receive a £50 Borders gift voucher – so click here for more information and to submit your entry.

December 1, 2008 – It’s been a busy month here at the site. November brought cracking new short stories from Emma J. Lannie, Neil Campbell, Lee Ashworth, and Anne Beswick, and a new poem from Trevor Barnett. You can check out all of these by visiting our archive section, which is handily arranged by date.

We’ve received a flurry of new submissions following an outing to the live literature night No Point in Not Being Friends. So many thanks to all those who have submitted their work; please help us keep the site brimming with fresh content by harassing your writerly friends and relations to send us stuff. If you really want to get out there and help us spread the good word of Rainy City Stories, there are pdfs of posters, flyers and press releases we can send you. Just get in touch and we’ll load you up with all you need for some serious prosteletyzing. Hallelujah!

October 30, 2008 – Four spooky new things up on the site this week. We’ve got something of a night bus horror story from Jenn Ashworth, who also happens to be the winner of this year’s Manchester Blog Award for best writing (check out her blog Every Day I Lie a Little.) Also: a poem by Richard Barrett about a missed meeting at a city centre bar, Socrates Adams-Florou’s riff on Chinatown, and Ailsa Cox’s, Doors of Tunis, a cinematic story of a relationship ending on Oxford Road.

Submissions are still coming in, but they have slowed from the veritable flood of writing we had immediately following our launch. So if you’ve been dithering about whether or not to send us your story, don’t dither. We can’t wait to read it.

How’s our map looking? Well, the city centre and neighbourhoods to the south are filling up nicely, but the Northern area of the map remains blank. No Rainy City clouds in Prestwich, Failsworth or Crumpsall… not to mention Irlams O’ Th’ Height. Just putting that out there.

We’re also going to start sending out monthly Storygrams, which will feature a selection of recently published stories and news about the project. If you want to get these, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed or add yourself to our email list. Happy haunting.

October 20, 2008 – This evening we published our first three public-submitted stories – in fact, two short stories and a poem. The poem’s by Jon Atkin, who helps run the Manchester Literature Festival – it’s very bittersweet, as you can read.

The longest story namechecks a Smiths song – Rusholme Ruffians – and is written by Matthew David Scott, who has one book published and another due in May 2009. The other, Thin Air, is written by Elinor Taylor, an English and creative writing student at Salford University. It’s based in Ancoats.

October 9, 2008 – The site has now launched! Thanks for all the feedback so far, and for the submissions we’ve already received. Rainy City Stories was mentioned in Metro and on the MEN’s The Mancunian Way blog – and there have also been over a dozen mentions on other blogs.




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