Home News Belfast Book Festival opens its doors to a pay-what-you-want policy

Belfast Book Festival opens its doors to a pay-what-you-want policy

Belfast Book Festival to operate a pay-what-you-want policy for all its readings and events

The Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast is now home to a colony of swifts as well as to a great festival—and you can get a glimpse of both from the 10th to 19th June.

Belfast Book Festival has always extended a welcome that feels more like arriving at someone’s home than a venue. This year has the same ethos, but with something extra.

Operating a pay-what-you-want scheme gives you the option of attending an event for free, or paying up to £25 for a ticket.

Cost of living

The decision to introduce the pay-what-you-want policy is in part a response to the rising cost of living. It means that for more than 50 events, you will be given the option to pay nothing for a ticket when you book on the festival website.

But of course you can also decide to pay more than the recommended ticket price (£7), and in so doing you are both supporting others to attend, and the festival.

Programme highlights 

For teenage and Young Adult audiences Sue Divin will talk about her new novel, Truth Be Told, with Irish poet Mícheál McCann.

The compelling narrative centres on two teens from very different backgrounds who come face-to-face at a residential; Tara, the Catholic daughter of a two-generation single-parent family, and Faith, the daughter of strict Evangelical Protestants from Armagh.  

Sue Divin and Mícheál McCann.


Come and listen to novelists Michelle Gallen and Olivia Fitzsimons, discussing their novels Factory Girls and The Quiet Whispers Never Stop with author Jan Carson.

Both novels feature stories of youth, love and escape in 1990s Northern Ireland, when the Troubles were the norm and growing up meant choosing to stay, or fighting to leave. 

Olivia Fitzsimons tells Ruth McKee which books she’d save if her house was on fire, for the podcast Burning Books.

International guests

Sharing the stage with Northern Irish talent are crime writer Ian Rankin, acclaimed memoirist Cathy Rentzenbrink, philosopher A.C. Grayling, builder and entrepreneur Harrison Gardner, New York Times journalist Patrick Radden Keefe, and TS Eliot Prize Winner Joelle Taylor

The Belfast Book Festival and Crescent Arts Centre are supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, and the full programme can be found online here.