Belfast Book Festival Closing Week Highlights

Today marks the first day of the closing week of this years Belfast Book Festival. Which is a long winded way of saying, unless you're way ahead of us, you've already missed a heap of great stuff. However, all is not lost...

Running until Saturday 17 June, there are still a mammoth 39 events to come just this week. Now, we can't cover them all, so here is one pick from each day that we would recommend.

With Rosemary Jenkinson, Mia Gallagher and Martina Devlin

Join three of Ireland's finest short story writers Mia Gallagher, Martina Devlin and Rosemary Jenkinson for an evening of taboo-busting, transgressive tales. Each author will read an extract from their work, which shall be followed by a discussion of how to produce challenging contemporary literature.

Rosemary Jenkinson is artist-in-residence at the Lyric Theatre. Her two short story collections are Contemporary Problems Nos. 53 &54 and Aphrodite's Kiss. The Mural Painter was published in The Glass Shore, edited by Sinéad Gleeson. Her latest play, Lives in Translation, will be produced by Kabosh in 2017.

Mia Gallagher is the author of two acclaimed novels: HellFire (Penguin Ireland, 2006) and Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland (New Island, 2016), which was longlisted for the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Award (UK, 2016) and featured in the Irish Times Book Club (February 2017).

Martina Devlin is a best selling author and award-winning journalist. She started writing fiction after winning the Hennessy Literary Award in 1996 and has been shortlisted for a variety of awards including the Royal Society of Literature's VS Pritchett Prize.

Monday 12 June, Crescent Arts Centre, 18:30.

Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland

Winner of Best Irish Published Book of the Year 2016, The Glass Shore, edited by award-winning broadcaster, critic and editor Sinéad Gleeson, is an intimate and illuminating insight into a previously underappreciated literary canon. The event will be chaired by Sinéad who will be joined by Jan Carson, Rosemary Jenkinson and Bernie McGill to talk about short stories and women's voices.

Sinéad Gleeson is the editor of two previous anthologies, Silver Threads of Hope and The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, which won Best Irish Published Book at the 2015 Irish Book Awards. She presents The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1.

Jan Carson is a writer based in Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears was published by Liberties Press in 2014. Her flash fiction anthology, Postcard Stories is forthcoming from the Emma Press in May 2017.

Rosemary Jenkinson was born in Belfast and studied Medieval Literature at Durham University. Her first collection of short stories, Contemporary Problems Nos. 53 & 54, was published by Lagan Press in 2004, and a second, Aphrodite's Kiss, by Whittrick Press in 2016.

Bernie McGill is the author of Sleepwalkers, a collection of stories shortlisted in 2014 for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her second novel, The Watch House, will be published by Tinder Press in August 2017.

Tuesday 13 June, Crescent Arts Centre, 17:30.

With Sarah Firby

You know when you find yourself approaching 30 and your dreams are broken? You've got a temping career going nowhere, a student debt that's mounting and you've just had to move back into your mum's house. Then, to top it all off, you get absolutely annihilated with heartbreak because of an ex, who is just 'not ready' but then manages to be ready, a week later, with someone else.

And it is here, at your lowest point, that one of your best friends decides to remind you that you are the same age as Beyoncé.


The Belfast Book Festival is ridiculously excited to welcome the brilliant stand-up comedian and author Luisa Omielan. Hilariously funny, wonderfully uplifting and brutally honest, Luisa's memoir shows us all that there is no situation in which Bey can't save the day. She chats with Sarah Firby about how you turn your life around by answering the one mantra every person needs in their life: What Would Beyonce Do?

Wednesday 14 June, Crescent Arts Centre, 20:00.


Lagan Online offers a platform to promote contemporary voices from Northern Ireland through the 12NOW series of New Original Writers. Every writer needs readers in order to thrive; we seek to connect great writers with new audiences, offering the first steps in a career path that closely supports and nurtures up-and-coming talent.

Join us this evening for the second in the 12NOW series of events at this year's Belfast Book Festival, featuring readings from Peter Adair, Olive Broderick, Patricia Devlin-Hill, Paul Doran, David Mitchell and Claire Savage.

Thursday 15 June, Crescent Arts Centre, 18:30.
With Elizabeth Nelson Gorman

On Saturday 23 November 2013, 10 children were shot dead. The youngest was 9; the oldest was 19. They fell in suburbs, hamlets and ghettos. None made the national news. It was just another day in the death of America, where on average 7 children and teens are killed by guns daily.

Editor-at-large at The Guardian, Gary Younge picked this day at random, searched for their families and told their stories. What emerges is a sobering, searing, portrait of youth and guns in contemporary America.

This is a book, which will lead the news agenda on publication and will leave the reader knocked sideways by its emotional power.

'This is Gary Younge's masterwork. You will never read news reports about gun violence the same way again. Brilliantly reported, quietly indignant and utterly gripping. A book to be read through tears.' - Naomi Klein

He will be joined in conversation by Elizabeth Nelson Gorman.

Friday 16 June, Crescent Arts Centre, 19:00.

photo of BBF17: Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and The Rose
Featuring Actor Adam Turns

London's Will Butterworth Quartet has written a suite of original music inspired by the Oscar Wilde story The Nightingale and the Rose.

The suite employs beautiful melodies and rich and dark harmony to retell Wilde's story of love and sacrifice, and comes to a dramatic crescendo as the final song of the nightingale is performed. The group uses these melodies as starting points for improvisation, and the result is riveting and exhilarating music making.

Originally this music was composed as solo piano music for a storybook, but it has grown into a fully formed, dynamic jazz suite. The evening begins with a performance of the short story, featuring local actor Adam Turns.

Will Butterworth - Piano
Seb Pipe - Alto Sax
Nick Pini - Bass
Pete Ibbetson - Drums.

Saturday 17 June, Crescent Arts Centre, 20:30.

This is just six events from a still jam-packed festival. We highly recommend finding a programme – online version is here – and we're certain you'll find something interesting to you...

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