The ninth Belfast Book Festival gets underway on Friday, June 7, and offers a diverse collection of over 80 authors, readings, ‘in conversation’ events and theatrical performances.
The Great British Bake-off’s Prue Leith is in conversation with radio presenter Kerry McLean on Wednesday, June 12, at the Crescent Arts Centre. As well as being a high-profile broadcaster, food writer, chef, restaurateur and Bake-off judge, she is the author of seven romantic novels. The Angelottii Chronicles trace the lives of the Angelottii family through love, loss and the restaurant industry.
Her latest book and the final instalment of the series is The Lost Son, and Prue will be chatting to book lover Kerry about her writing, her career and of course cakes.
Tickets for the Bullitt Hotel backed event cost £12/£10 and can be booked via the book festival website, belfastbookfestival.com/whats-on/prue-leith-the-lost-son
Although most events take place at the festival’s home, the Crescent Arts Centre, other Belfast venues will host, including festival partner Bullitt Hotel as well as The MAC, Waterstones bookshop, Strand Cinema, The Black Box and The Great Hall at Queen’s University, Belfast. More unusual venues include local pubs The American Bar and The Sunflower and Accidental Theatre.
High profile writers and personalities featured across the 10-day festival include Lord David Owen speaking about Donald Trump and how past leaders have paved the way for the Trump presidency, Paddy Armstrong of the Guildford Four, television personality and satirist Will Self and renowned journalists Paul Mason and Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Also presenting is Naomi Wolf, social activist and former political advisor to Al Gore and Bill Clinton, who will talk about her new book Outrages focusing on sex, censorship and the criminalisation of love.
Well-known local festival contributors include Lucy Caldwell, crime writer Sharon Dempsey, poet Medbh McGuckian, novelist Michael Hughes and famed poet Michael Longley, who marks his 80th birthday with readings, conversation and a Duke Special musical performance of Michael’s work.
The final day of the festival commemorates Bloomsday: an annual celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce and his most iconic novel, Ulysses. The festivities will be in the company of some of Dublin’s and Ireland’s finest writers, including Roddy Doyle and John Boyne.
Specially commissioned by the Belfast Book Festival and adapted by well-known local playwright Conor Maguire, Molly’s Soliloquy kicks off the festival Bloomsday celebrations.
The brunch-time event features actress Louise Parker as Molly Bloom reminiscing from her bed and the special theatrical performance includes brunch, tea or coffee and a choice of cocktails.
During the festival the winners of the Mairtín Crawford Awards for Poetry and Short Story writing will be announced on Saturday, June 15, at 7.30pm.
Also, on Saturday, June 15, is the annual Festival Family Fun Day which is run in partnership with Belfast City Council.
Running from noon to 4pm, the fun day is free for all and takes place in Lower Crescent Park located beside the Crescent Arts Centre and offers a full programme of book related entertainment for all the family.
Activities include sensory and interactive storytelling, art workshops, book trails, a poetry jukebox, craft stalls, lawn games and puppet adventures.
Festival Director Roger Courtney said: “We steadfastly believe books, authors and words really do matter and this is the ethos with which we have put together such a varied and colourful programme of events.
“Our theme this year is where do you like to read, and we’d love you to join in the conversation at #BelfastBook and share your favourite place to enjoy a book.”