Northern Quarter nostalgia captured in Manchester novel

The Blue Pig may have closed, but it lives on in The Second Cup.

As a Mancunian author, capturing the essence of the city in The Second Cup – and specifically the sights and sounds of the Northern Quarter – was very important to me.

My novel was completed prior to The Blue Pig announcing its closure in January, and the bar features in my novel in all its glory – from its varied clientele to its oversized chandeliers.

So anyone missing being able to pop to the corner of High Street and Back Turner Street for their favourite pint can still visit the bar in the pages of my book.

In fact, Manchester is so alive in The Second Cup, it has been referred to as a character in its own right!

I was born in the 1970s, and watched the Northern Quarter turn from an urban wasteland of old warehouses into a thriving area for all things quirky and unusual.

I can remember my Dad taking me to Affleck’s Palace (links to Wikipedia) when I was 11 so I could buy my first pair of Doc Martins. I fell in love with the place – and the Northern Quarter very quickly became my part of the city.

My novel also sings the praises of Manchester’s libraries, comparing the grandeur of Central Library (links to Wikipedia) and the elegance of John Rylands Library (links to Wikipedia) favourably to the more functional architecture of the British Library (links to Wikipedia) and the Guildhall Library (links to Wikipedia) – both of which are based in London.

The beauty of Central Library – and the feeling of awe you experience the first time you step into the central room with its vast ceiling – is one of the reasons I wanted to be a writer. Manchester glorifies books in a way other cities don’t.

I’m very pleased to see the Rosylee (links to website) and Sugar Junction (links to website) tearooms – which also feature in my novel – are still going strong. I make sure she visits them each time I make the trip up to my hometown.

I’m due to visit this summer, so I’ll be able to get a double fix of afternoon teas!

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