Anneliese Mackintosh

Earlier this year, I was involved on the media side of the Lancaster Litfest. One of the benefits was getting talk to the writers who were taking part, the first one being the very lovely Anneliese Mackintosh.  Anneliese has lived in all sorts of places, writing stories, novels and radio drama. She also performs, edits and teaches. Her favourite subjects to write about are “sexuality, death, women, relationships, mental health, and me, me, me.”  She’s involved in many reading events in and around Manchester: if you have a chance to listen to her, then take it!


Anneliese, I heard you read recently at the Manchester Museum, which was a great setting. What’s your favourite venue for reading? And the strangest?

The Living Worlds Gallery in Manchester Museum is an amazing venue, and certainly one of my favourites. There’s nothing quite like reading a story about death while surrounded by skeletons! As for the strangest venue I’ve ever performed in… hmmm… I’ve got some coming up. I was asked to perform outside some toilets today. Ordinarily I’d love to do it, but I can’t make it, because I’m going to be performing in a vintage bus full of soaps and fragrances made by high-street store Lush over the next fortnight (see This means I won’t be performing outside toilets; instead I’ll be performing alongside toiletries. Is someone trying to tell me something?


Litfest 2012 has some great authors lined up. If you could choose three authors from anywhere in time and space to read at your very own event, who would they be, and why?

Presuming I don’t have to clear up after them, I’ll go with: Bukowski, so I can practise my impressions of him; Roald Dahl, who I will ask to read a selection of adult and children’s stories to a strictly adult audience; and Janice Galloway, because whenever I watch her perform, I always come away buzzing. I’m not sure whether the three of them would get on. I’ll make sure they’ve got separate dressing rooms, just in case.


What’s your tip for the Man Booker this year?

I’ve actually been way more tied up with the Not-the-Booker on The Guardian website this year. I edited one of the books which ended up on the shortlist: Tales From The Mall by Ewan Morrison, published by Cargo in Glasgow. I’m enjoying watching the drama as the shortlist unfolds, and fascinated by the range of comments each book gets from the public. Fascinated, and a little bit terrified.


What do you think makes Litfest a special festival?

I only recently moved here from Scotland (though I’m from England originally), so this will be my first ever Lancaster Litfest, but I’m really excited about this year’s programme. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to some of the folk that organise the festival – they’re super-hardworking and their enthusiasm is infectious. There are some great writers on the bill this year, including William Letford, Zoe Lambert, and Rodge Glass, and I hope to catch as many of them as possible.


Think of your favourite short story writer. If you could choose one of their stories to inhabit for the day, which one would you choose? And why?

Oh gosh, there’s a difference between liking a short story and actually wanting to inhabit it. My favourite short story writers include Lorrie Moore, David Vann, and Miranda July. I feel like I already inhabit the worlds of many of Lorrie Moore’s stories, although I’m not entirely pleased about that! I don’t inhabit the world of so many of David Vann’s stories, and that, quite frankly, is a relief. There’s a short story called ‘This Person’ by Miranda July that’s always intrigued me. In the story, a woman is invited to a party being held in her honour, where ‘every person this person has ever known is waiting to hug this person and bring her into the fold of life’. This person arrives at her party, but shortly afterwards ends up going home to have a bath instead. I sometimes wonder how I’d react in that situation. There are a lot of people from my past that I no longer talk to – a heck of a lot that have fallen by the wayside – but how would I react if I was given the chance to see them again? To get that hug? Chances are I’d want to go home and have a bubble bath too. But I’d like to at least arrive at the party, if only to snub it.


If you’d like to find out more, Anneliese’s website is at If you’re in Manchester on November 28th, you can hear her reading at the Bad Language birthday bash at The Castle Hotel. Here’s the Facebook link:

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