Home News Belfast Book Festival is back!

Belfast Book Festival is back!

Belfast Books Festival is back

A sparkling line-up for summer 2021

Belfast Book Festival makes a welcome return from 10 – 13 June with an online programme of live events for book lovers, covering everything from love and politics to Cinderella as a zombie! 

Presented by the Crescent Arts Centre, highlights of the festival include Annie Macmanus (BBC Radio 1) unveiling her debut novel ‘Mother, Mother’ which is set in Belfast; Ian McElhinney (‘Derry Girls’) and literary biographer Roy Foster exploring the work of Seamus Heaney; Glenn Patterson (‘The Northern Bank Job’) in conversation with author Conor O’CallaghanColm Tóibín (‘Brooklyn’), reading from ‘Queer Love: An Anthology of Irish Fiction’ and a special recorded performance from the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics, Lemn Sissay.  

emerging writers

For up and coming writers and poets, there will be discussions with industry professionals from the worlds of poetry, prose and publishing about how to get your work seen and heard, and the lucky winners of the Mairtín Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story 2021 will also be announced. 

This year’s festival covers a wide variety of themes – including feminism, grief, family, disability, sexuality, body image and the care system – and features writers based in Ireland, the UK, Germany, France and the United States.

short stories

Multi-award winning author and Belfast Book Festival patron Lucy Caldwell returns with short stories of love, loss and exile in her new collection, ‘Intimacies’, in the company of fellow author Louise Kennedy (‘The End of the World is a Cul de Sac’) and actor and journalist Mira Sethi (‘Are You Enjoying’).  


If you’d like a little bit of escape after all that reality, ‘Magical Realism in Modern Literature’, a partnership with Dublin Book Festival, features an enviable line-up of panellists including Jan Carson (‘The Fire Starters’), Deirdre Sullivan(winner of the An Post Irish Book Award for Young Adults 2020) and Cathy Sweeney (‘Modern Times’), with writer, spoken word performer, journalist and broadcaster Peter Murphy in the chair. 

Barnardo’s NI

Our stories about ourselves are one of the main things that define us, but what about the stories of children in care?  In partnership with Barnardo’s NI, ‘Understanding Our Stories, Understanding Ourselves’ looks at the psychological nature of storytelling, with guests who have either personal or professional experience of the care system: poet Lemn Sissay, journalist Alex Kane and psychologist Dr William Coman

women’s bodies

Women’s bodies in Ireland have been a topic of debate for generations.  Author and poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa (‘A Ghost in the Throat’) and writer and podcaster Sophie White (‘Corpsing: My Body and Other Horror Shows’) write about the subject with aching honesty and humour and join chair, journalist Aine Toner, to share their experiences. 

For full Belfast Book Festival programme details and to book tickets – priced either £3 or free – visit www.belfastbookfestival.com