Belfast Book Festival 2012 | 11th – 18th June

This year’s Belfast Book Festival returns with a mix of new writing, star performers, workshops, films, lectures, launches and discussion. As with last year, the Festival will be wide ranging and typify the energy books create when they are read, written and debated. Our belief is that a Book Festival should reflect all readers, and be accessible to all.

The Belfast Book Festival 2012 features something for everyone, politics, culture, music, films, comedy, poetry, history and drama. For a second year the Festival will bring books to life in the city of Belfast:

Monday 11th June – Dr Eamon Hughes (QUB) opens the Festival with his lecture ‘Literatures of Belfast’ looking at the strange and unknown history of Belfast writing. Avalard Press brings its reprint of Robert Cromie’s lost 1896 sci-fi classic The Lost Liner, a book which imagines the aftermath of the world’s largest liner, built in Belfast, sinking 12 years before a much mentioned ship did the same. In Whiterock Library, Gerry McCullough talks about her e-publishing sensation Belfast Girls. We’re delighted to welcome the iconic Irish writer Colm Toibin at 7pm to the Festival to discuss his latest work New Ways to Kill Your Mother. Finally the day is rounded off by Glasgow-based comic and writer Ian McPherson, introducing the profundity of Fiacra MacFiach and his book The Autobiography Of Ireland’s Greatest Living Genius.

Tuesday 12th June – The Festival visits the Lyric Theatre on Tuesday afternoon to meet Barry Cassin, the renowned Abbey and Lyric actor in conversation with the great Irish playwright Eugene McCabe. Then at No Alibis Bookstore, Paul Charles, the Irish writer introduces his new novel, The Last Dance about the life of the Showbands in the 1960s. Kate Fearon brings City of Soldiers her account of a year working in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. The Ulster Museum launches 26 Treasures, a multi media event which brings together writers such as Lucy Caldwell with the burgeoning craft and design world in Belfast. At the Oh Yeah! centre Dublin writer Tony Clayton-Lea launches his new book 101 Irish Records (You Must Hear Before You Die) featuring music from up and coming singer Soak from Derry. Liam Carson rounds off Tuesday in conversation with the Belfast poet, Martin Mooney, about his touching Belfast memoir Call My Mother a Lonely Field.

Wednesday 13th June – Another busy day on Wednesday sees a one-man lunchtime performance of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis at the Crescent Arts Centre, and Linen Hall Librarian John Killen introduces his work on Four Friends, a new book about the relationships between NI literary icons Michael McLaverty, Roy McFadden, Robert Greacen and John Boyd. At 6pm the Belfast poet Gerald Dawe brings together a group of friends to celebrate the publication of his Selected Poems, and publishing guru Nicola Morgan will dispense her advice on getting published in the Crescent Arts Centre at 7pm. Later two tyros of literature, Keith Ridgeway and Richard Beard meet Belfast literary blogger John Self at the Crescent Arts Centre (CAC). The evening finishes at the Black Box cafe with Voica Versa, a poetry collective featuring some of Belfast’s best young poets.

Thursday 14th June – Thursday lunchtime at the CAC presents the brilliant pairing of Moyra Donaldson and Bernie McGill, both local writers building international reputations, while the Linen Hall Library hosts Professor Michael Slater, the renowned Charles Dickens expert, commemorating the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth by discussing the great writer’s link with Shakespeare. Back at the Oh Yeah! Centre, the living legend of rock writing Charles Shaar Murray joins Stuart Bailie, and Pat Long, author of NME at 60 in a discussion of the legendary rock and roll newspaper. At the Crescent Arts Centre, Derry crime writer Brian McGilloway discusses his new Inspector Devlin novel concerning The Disappeared with No Alibis proprietor and king of crime in Belfast, David Torrans. The night ends with local poet Ben Maier, with the world premiere of his Edinburgh-bound music and poetry show An Imaginary Circus.

Friday 15th June – At lunchtime the CAC welcomes Irish writers Claire Kilroy and Aifric Campbell to discuss writing about the financial meltdown. The evening sees local singer songwriter Andy White take to the stage introducing his new collection 21st Century Troubadour a 300 page confession of life on the road. Andy will bring music, poetry and humour to the show, and the Festival is delighted to welcome him to the Crescent Arts for what should be a unique evening. Friday ends with the renowned Poetry Slam with competitors vying for the Belfast Book Festival Slam crown.

Saturday 16th June is family day with children’s writers Garrett Carr, Derek Keilty, Liz Weir, Sheena Wilkinson all appearing at the CAC and the new Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey appearing at Eason’s bookshop. For adults there is Malachi O’Doherty at Ormeau Library at 2pm with his new memoir of cycling, health and mortality and English writer Jen Campbell appears at Waterstone’s with her book Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. Also first-time writer Alrene Hughes brings her book on Blitz-torn Belfast, Martha’s Girls to Eason’s. Saturday night sees a special gig with Tolu Olorunda, a writer on hip-hop, race and youth culture appearing direct from Chicago speaking on No Country for Youth: Hip-Hop, Education, and Hope in Dark Times

Sunday 17th June – Sunday brings Irish fiction writers Christine Dwyer Hickey & Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, reading from their latest works, The Cold Eye of Heaven and The Shelter of Neighbours for a Sunday afternoon of high class literature. On Sunday evening three of Northern Ireland’s brightest and best musicians gather at the Crescent Arts Centre to showcase the interface between songwriting and literature, Shauna Tohill, Peter McVeigh and Aaron Shanley. Sunday ends with our Amanda McKittrick Ross: The World’s Worst Writer event. Gather together and compete to see who can read the longest section of the Larne lady’s prose. Drink will be taken.

Monday 18th June – Belfast Book Festival Extra brings Sophia Hillen to the Crescent Arts Centre to discuss her last book, May, Lou & Cass: Jane Austen’s Nieces in Ireland, the link between Jane Austen and Ireland, The Sunday Times’s Stephen Price will talk about his work The Earl Bishop concerning one of the most interesting characters of Ireland’s history, Frederic Hervey, Bishop of Derry and the 4th Earl of Bristol. And finishing the Festival is Mike Scott who brings his memoir of a life as one of the cultural icons of the 80s and 90s, Adventures of the Waterboys.

Our Festival partners, the QFT will also show four films throughout the week, concerning the strange lives of writers. They are: The Hours, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Shadowlands and Prick Up Your Ears.

For further details and to arrange an interview please contact Hugh, Hilary or Melissa at the Crescent Arts Centre – (028) 9024 2338

For more information, and to book tickets please see: