NI Festival of Writing Goes Online With 2020 Winter Programme

James Murphy, director of the Northern Ireland Festival of Writing & Simon Wood, Chairperson at NVTV launch the 2020 festival Pic by Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press.

Following on from the successful inaugural event in 2019 the NI Festival of Writing is launching an online programme of content to once again encourage and support writers who want to start or develop their skills.

Throughout November and December the free online content will include interviews with local writers and content creators, panel events, workshops and masterclasses.

Director of the festival, James Murphy, said that the festival intends to become even more successful in encouraging local talent.

“While we cannot repeat last year we have worked hard to make sure we have a rich programme that aims to help develop participant’s confidence,” he said. 

“We hope that what we have planned will educate, empower and improve literacy and communications skills.”

The 2020 NI Festival of Writing which has been developed in partnership with Belfast City Council, has launched a Crowdfunding campaign.

“Whilst the events will be free, in order to increase the number and variety of events held throughout the remainder of the year, Belfast City Council have kindly offered to match-fund us to a maximum of £5,000 if we undertake a crowdfunding campaign,” James explained. 

“We have designed a range of opportunities from donations from as little as £5 through to sponsorship opportunities from £100. We have currently raised just over £1,000 and we hope to double that by the end of the crowdfunder this week.

“We know that what we will be providing will make a real impact on participant’s lives through participation, learning and even the opportunity to showcase their work.”

The 2020 programme will include in-depth interviews with local, national and international writers; a range of practical writing and creative writing workshops, online book club and reading recommendations; panel discussions; and, a regular online writing retreat.

This year the festival has joined forces with local public service television channel NVTV to make the festival more accessible to people across the country.

Simon Wood, Chairperson at NVTV said: “Northern Visions is excited to be a partner in the Northern Ireland Festival of Writing this year. One of the pleasures for many of us during these challenging times, especially during lockdown, has been being able to get lost in a book and become acquainted with books we have forgotten we actually own.

“What’s so interesting about the Festival of Writing is that it is writing in all its forms so this is a real voyage of discovery.” 

Fans of the festival can see the main NVTV broadcast on Friday November 27 broadcasting on Freeview 7 (greater Belfast) and Virgin Media 159 (across Northern Ireland).

The festival will also be streaming sessions on Facebook and running a series of online workshop sessions as well as a range of other interactive events throughout November and December.

“In addition we will launch NI Festival of Writing’s very own podcast as well as interactive advice sessions with writers, agents and publishers,” said Festival co-founder Tina Calder.

“With the support of all including our festival partners NVTV, Oranga Creative, BAM magazine, The Secret Bookshelf and my own company Excalibur Press we will make this a success and look forward to having a further programme planned for the time when safer social gatherings can take place.”

To help support the festival the Crowd Funder page can be found here: find out more at