With over 100 events, many completely FREE, the fifth Belfast Book Festival, 8-14 June, is getting ready to showcase some of the biggest names in the literary world from home and beyond. The voices of authors, poets and performers will come alive at the Crescent Arts Centre as well as other locations across the city. From young to old from first timers to late bloomers – whatever your age or level of reading interests the jammed packed programme is guaranteed to have something to encourage you to take part.
Notable highlights for this year include; a conversation with Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and David Walker on their co-authored book ‘Cameron’s Coup’; 1991 Booker prize winner, novelist and short story writer Ben Okri; writer, filmmaker and radical thinker Tariq Ali in conversation on his book ‘The Extreme Centre: A warning’; Comedian Mark Thomas who will be raising the roof of the Belfast Empire; actress and comedienne Helen Lederer who will discuss her book ‘Losing It’. Plus hear from Eimear O’Callaghan on her book ‘Belfast Days: A 1972 Teenage Diary.’
The Belfast Book Festival is proud to present a range of firsts, late bloomers, launches, weeklong events, workshops, lunchtime sessions, as well as providing a platform for unknown authors. Look out for ‘Fiction Firsts’ featuring first time novelists, contemporary writers at ‘Young Irelanders’ and, showing it’s never too late to start writing, will be the ‘Literary Late Bloomers’. Join local author Glenn Patterson as he launches his latest book ‘Here’s me Here.’ Get yourself heard through events such as Self-Publishing Salon, Publishing Day and Squat Pen. Need a festival fix during the day? Then, make sure you check out the literary lunchtimes featuring a range of local author’s voices. Weeklong events include ‘SacrumProfanum’ an exhibition in the 1st floor Crescent Arts Centre gallery whilst workshops range from fiction writing with Claire Keegan to performance reading for writers with Rosie Pelan.
The festival will also provide a voice on interesting topics and debates. Highlights include ‘Writing on Depression’ with Liz Frazer and Carolyn Jess-Cooke, high profile former Premiership footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger in conversation with Denise Watson and racy revelations of a famous Dublin Madame with Julie Peakman and Nuala McKeever – ‘Peg Plunket: Memoirs of a Whore.’
Poetry lovers will be in their element with the wide choice of events available. Some of the events include; ‘The Accessible Muse’ Brian Patten one of the legendary Liverpool Poets; exhilarating performance poet Tony ‘Longfella‘ Walsh; the annual Poetry Slam; award-winning Kate Newmann and Nessa O’Mahony or hear from John F Deane, James Harpur and Anthony Cronin at Three Voices.
The voices of children and children’s authors will also be heard with support from Eason and the best bit – all of these events are FREE. Hear from Julie-Anne Graham’s ‘The Perfect Percival Priggs’, to Chrissie Gittins’ ‘Stars in Jars’ to Derek Mulveen’s ‘Oisin the Brave – Robot Island’. Kids will enjoy the book detective events where they can track down escaped book characters as well as the outdoor Eason Family Fun Day at Crescent Arts Centre featuring art workshops and magical stories. Want to spark their imagination then get your 7 – 12 yr along to the Scribbling & Rory’s story cubes workshop. Local school pupils will get the chance to be involved in the Festival when featured authors will join them for workshops. Register your interest at email@example.com.
If music is your interest then the Belfast Book Festival has something for you. Look out for a discussion with local musician Duke Special & writer and comedian Andrew Doyle on their forthcoming musical adaption of Gulliver’s Travels at the Lyric Theatre with Youth Music Theatre UK. Hear from storyteller, illustrator and musician Randall Stephen Hall on his one man show. Go behind the scenes of the Eurovision Song Contest with David Blake Knox or hear about life in 90s Manchester band Inspiral Carpets with frontman Tom Hingley.
Festival Director, Keith Acheson, said:
“Every year the Belfast Book Festival provides an opportunity for authors, poets and performers, to showcase their work. Yet again we reveal another packed programme of events which we hope will appeal to everyone – no matter what age or level of interest in literature. Whilst we are delighted to welcome returning supporters we are keen to reach out to those who have never participated in our festival before and encourage them to join us in trying something new. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our key funders the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council for their continued support as well as all of our many festival sponsors and partners.”
For further details on the Belfast Book Festival including the full festival programme visit www.belfastbookfestival.com or follow on facebook – Belfastbookfestival or twitter @belfastbookfest #belfastbook.