Belfast’s colourful, citywide celebration of the written word, the printed page, the editorially edifying and the laudably literary returns from 10-16 June 2013.
The third Belfast Book Festival boasts an impressive programme, glutted with big international names alongside the shiniest local talent from the big, broad world of words and literature.
The written word is showcased in all shapes, hues, contexts and forms, offering something for all tastes as venues right across the city play host to readings, workshops, theatre, music, film, talks and more!
The festival line-up is as eclectic as it is acclaimed, Scotland’s Makar (National poet) Liz Lochhead opens the Book Festival, setting an outrageously high standard for the festival week. One of the world’s most celebrated travel writers Paul Theroux brings his latest book The Last Train to Zona Verde: Overland from Cape Town to Angola to a Belfast Book Festival audience. The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas author John Boyne will be reading from his new book This House is Haunted, legendary music / cultural commentator / motormouth Paul Morley joins the Book Festival to discuss new book The North which takes in everything from Wordsworth to The Smiths.
Internationally famed psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz discusses his bestselling book, The Examined Life, and controversial food writer and household name Jay Rayner is a Greedy Man in a Hungry World. Memoirist, novelist and activist Linda Grant is also making a hotly anticipated visit to Belfast’s Crescent Arts Centre for the festival.
Voica Versa brings the freshest and finest local performance poetry to BBF13, Sinead Morrissey will be reading from her latest poetry collection Parallax, and will be joined by fellow Belfast poetical luminary, Martin Mooney. Up and coming Belfast poet Geraldine O’Kane leads an exciting multi-disciplinary evening of dance, painting and performance in response to her work, in Poetic Perspective: Through Artists’ Eyes. The startling, award-winning poet Dave Lordan reads from his fiction debut First Book of Frags. The incendiary,’30 under 30’ Irish short story anthology is represented by five of the best young Irish writers, reading their work for the Festival.
Whether it’s timely regional foreshadowing or simply spellbinding discourse, Belfast Book Festival is also proud to present Unstated: Writers of Scottish Independence – an evening of discussion about the vibrant cultural autonomy that Scottish writers have established, more passionate and imaginative than the near-moribund political debate on independence. Featuring a panel of writers and academics including Peter Geohagen, Aonghas MacNeacail, Aaron Kelly and Denise Mina, this event promises to stand apart from the facile game of counter-claim dominating the Scottish press.
New Voices of Crime does exactly what it says on the tin and finds No Alibis book shop proprietor David Torrans introducing Claire McGowan and Thomas Mogford, two of the brightest names in crime fiction in the UK and Ireland.
The screening of Janapar: Love on a Bike features the intrepid Thomas Allen who left friends, family and promising career behind to set off with a bike, armed only with a tent and a video camera. Ten thousand miles later, join him at the Belfast Book Festival.
The venerable tradition of Irish publishing is strongly represented by Lagan Press and Liberties Press, who invite festival goers to a series of literary lunchtimes with readings and discussions.
Elsewhere there’s an evening in the company of one of the rising stars of local letters Nathaniel Joseph McAuley, who will premier the next chapter of his work in progress The Joiner’s Song at the Belfast Book Festival. This latest instalment, entitled The Dyer’s Notes on Indigo perfectly represents McAuley’s expansive vision in this episodic collection of poems and songs from the perspective of various rural tradesmen. Community Arts Partnership showcases work from Moments the painstakingly and lovingly collected poetry anthology public submission.
Author Leesa Harker and playwright Martin Lynch talk fags, flegs and filth as they discuss Harker’s Red, White and Blue trilogy whilst actress Caroline Curran brings Harker’s unforgettable anti-heroine Maggie Muff to lurid life.
Family fun comes courtesy of Illustrate Summer Stories – Watercolour Postcards which offers children a chance to create and post stunning artwork to friends, the Children’s Poetry Prize will find all young readers walking away with a small gift and, in a Book Festival first a free Family Fun Day in Lower Crescent Park, with children’s writers, storytelling, food and drink, games and loads and loads of books.
Melody and words comes together with Malojian hosting The Art of Songwriting and Performance and I Have Travelled this Country – the collected songs of Cathal McConnell and Gerry O’Connor.
Dramatic performances include Parnassus‘ I, Kavanagh – Noel McGee’s one man show on the influential poet, Black Egg Production’s Love for Sale, – an adaptation of the deliciously grimy Bukowski short story of nearly the same name. Wireless Mystery Theatre present the witty, the wicked The Play of the Book and there’s a howlingly good mini-season of movies on The Beats at the QFT.
Festival Co-ordinator Hugh Odling-Smee said:
“This year’s Festival again restates our belief that books are for everyone. We’ve got stellar writers from across the world, debates, launches, music, theatre, film and art all created to lure even the most unsuspecting into the magical world of books. If books create worlds to escape into, then we’ve tried to create one week where all of the city and its visitors can let their imaginations and creativity soar.”
Damian Smyth of principle funder The Arts Council Northern Ireland added:
“Belfast has long been famous as a city of readers and writers and the Belfast Book Festival perfectly captures the moods of invention and reflection and fun which only a book can excite. The Arts Council is delighted to support this Festival – reading is still a private and intimate joy, but when it goes ‘live’, on song, outdoors or on stage, this is where public funding rightly comes into its own”
The Belfast Book Festival 2013 is also supported by Belfast City Council’s Community Festivals Fund. Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of the Council’s Development Committee, commented:
“On behalf of the Council, I would like to congratulate the organisers for another excellent quality programme, which showcases the best of our local literary talents alongside reputed international writers. The 2013 Festival is a credit to all concerned and I urge booklovers to support it.”
For complete programme and further information on the Belfast Book Festival please go to www.belfastbookfestival.com