Manchester Metropolitan University

Widening access to literature and creativity

Founded in 1998, and home to the UK’s largest community of academic and student creative writers, including the Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy, the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University has developed a number of initiatives for children and young people aimed at widening access to literature and enabling creativity.

The Manchester Children’s Book Festival (MCBF) is an annual festival coordinated and directed by the Manchester Writing School. Its mission is to widen access to reading culture for children, families and carers, and to support new writing for and by children and young adults. The MCBF brings literature, and those who write it, to an audience of children, schools and families, delivering sustainable, long-term social and cultural impact. 

It has benefitted more than 40,000 pupils, teachers, children and families in the UK and worldwide. 

In addition, MCBF initiative Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) is a multi-lingual poetry competition, which supports participants to bring their mother languages and cultures into the classroom and to gain a greater appreciation of those of their classmates. It makes difference a creative opportunity rather than a barrier.

Devised and led by Dame Carol Ann Duffy, it celebrates cultural diversity and the many languages spoken by people in Britain today. Now in its sixth year, more than 14,000 pupils have engaged with the project. In 2015, it was sponsored by World Champion boxer Amir Khan and, in 2016 and 2018, it received the endorsement of Nobel Peace Laureate Malala 



Further reading