Reading is the favourite pastime for many people but of course the world needs writers to provide us with interesting material to read. Below is a list in alphabetical order of authors of note who originate from Manchester:
1. Alice Ann Bailey (June 16th 1880- December 15th 1949)
Alice Ann Bailey was born in Manchester in 1880 to a wealthy family and enjoyed a prosperous and privileged upbringing. Aged 22 she moved to India and met her future husband with whom she moved to the USA with in 1907. Alice Bailey was an active writer between 1919 and 1949 and is sometimes credited with coining the term the “New Age”. Her books covered a wide range of topics such as how spirituality relates to the solar system, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general. Alice Bailey died in 1949.
2. Alice Rawsthorn (1958-Still Alive & Kicking)
Alice Rawsthorn was born in Manchester in 1958. Alice graduated in art and architectural history at Cambridge University and in 1985 she joined the staff of the Financial Times where she worked until 2001. During this time Alice was an award-winning journalist working as a foreign correspondent in Paris and pioneering the FT’s coverage of the creative industries. Alice was director of the Design Museum in London from 2001 until 2006 when she was appointed design critic of the International Herald Tribune, the international edition of the New York Times. Alice currently writes the paper’s weekly Design column.
3. Anthony Burgess (February 25th 1917- November 22nd 1993)
Anthony Burgess was born at 91 Carisbrook Street in Harpurhey on 25th February 1917. His mother Elizabeth died at the age of 30 at home on 19th November 1918, his sister Muriel had died four days earlier on 15th November aged 8. Both were victims of the 1918 spanish flu epidemic. He served in the military from 1940-1946 and left the army as a sergeant-major. After he left the army he spent four years as a lecturer in speech and drama at the Mid-West School of Education near Wolverhampton. He then travelled the world as a writer with notable spells in Malaya and Brunei. Burgess has an extensive bibliography with his best known work being A Clockwork Orange. Burgess also composed over 250 musical works and died from lung cancer on November 22nd 1993.
4. Frances Hodgson Burnett (November 24th 1849- October 29th 1924)
Frances Eliza Hodgson was born at 141 York Street, Cheetham on November 24th 1849. She was from a family that lived in comfort until her father died in 1852 leaving the family without an income. They sold their family business and in 1865 Frances Burnett emigrated to the USA with her family settling near Knoxville, Tennessee. To help supplement the family income Frances began writing and had some short stories published in local magazines. In 1870 her mother died and in 1872 she married Swan Burnett, who became a medical doctor after which they lived in Paris for two years where their two sons were born before returning to the US to live in Washington D.C. Once settled in Washington Frances began to write novels and became a successful author with her most notable works being The Secret Garden & Little Lord Fauntleroy. Towards the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.
5. Howard Jacobson (August 25th 1942- Still Alive and Kicking)
Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester in 1942 and raised in Prestwich. Howard studied English at Downing College, Cambridge. After finishing his studies he lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to England to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His later teaching posts included a period at Wolverhampton Polytechnic from 1974 to 1980. His time in Wolverhampton was the basis of his first novel, Coming from Behind. In October 2010 Howard won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Finkler Question.
6. Jack Rosenthal CBE (September 8th 1931- May 29th 2004)
Jack Rosenthal was born in Cheetham Hill on September 8th 1931. He studied English Literature at Sheffield University and then carried out his national service. He wrote 129 early episodes of Coronation Street and over 150 screenplays. Jack won three BAFTA awards during his lifetime for Bar Mitzvah Boy, The Evacuees and Spend, Spend, Spend. He created London’s Burning as a one-off drama in 1986 which later developed into a long-running TV series. Jack Rosenthal was awarded the CBE in 1994 and died of cancer on May 29th 2004.
7. Jeanette Winterson OBE (August 27th 1959- Still Alive and Kicking)
Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester on August 27th 1959 and attended Accrington and Rossendale College before reading English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. After finishing her studies she moved to London and her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit won the 1985 Whitbread Prize for a First Novel and was later adapted for television. The television adaptation then won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama. Jeanette won the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for her novel The Passion. She is also a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Awards. Jeanette was awarded an OBE at the 2006 New Year Honours “For services to literature”.
8. John Byrom (February 29th 1692- September 26th 1763)
John Byrom was born in Manchester on February 29th 1692. He was born in the building that is now The Old Wellington Inn. He was born to a wealthy family and his privileged upbringing enabled him to obtain an excellent education whilst studying at The King’s School, Chester. He also studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a fellow there in 1714. After Cambridge he travelled abroad and studied medicine at Montpellier in France. Byrom invented a system of shorthand and having perfected this he returned to England in 1716. He was best known as a poet and he died in 1763 and is buried in his family’s private chapel in Manchester Cathedral. His papers, though preserved for some time after his death, were mysteriously destroyed in the nineteenth century. His library of books and manuscripts was donated to Chetham’s Library by his unmarried and childless descendant Miss Eleanora Atherton of Byrom and Kersal in 1870.
9. William Harrison Ainsworth (February 4th 1805- January 3rd 1882)
William Ainsworth was born in Manchester on February 4th 1805. He was born at 21 King Street, his father was a prominent Manchester lawyer and his mother was the daughter of a minister at Manchester’s Cross Street Chapel. William trained as a lawyer but found no joy in the profession. Whilst completing his legal studies in London he met the publisher John Ebers. Ebers introduced Ainsworth to literary and dramatic circles, and to his daughter, who became Ainsworth’s wife. William tried the publishing business but soon gave it up and devoted himself to journalism and literature. His first success as a writer came with Rookwood in 1834, which features Dick Turpin as its leading character. In total he wrote 39 novels and he died on 3rd January 1882.