Louis De Bernieres and Sara Pascoe on Belfast Book Festival line-up

Helping launch the seventh Belfast Book Festival programme are, from left, Keith Acheson, festival director; Deepa Mann-Kler, chairwoman of Crescent Arts Centre; and Damian Smyth, head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the festival's principal funder
Gail Bell

BELFAST Book Festival kicks off on June 7 and runs for 11 days, jam-packed with a diverse collection of events, themes and people.

Through authors, workshops, music, comedy, poetry, theatre and discussion, festival-goers will be treated "to the best international and local talent" at the Crescent Arts Centre – and partner venues across the city – according to festival director Keith Acheson.

Key speakers include renowned political scientist, activist and prolific author Norman Finkelstein; comedian and actress, Sara Pascoe; British political commentator Douglas Murray; and celebrated author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres.

Visitors can choose to spend a night with the stars of the international smash hit podcast, My Dad Wrote a Porno, which recently sold out Sydney Opera House, or spend a year in the life of of mum, wife, blogger and bestselling author of The Unmumsy Mum, Sarah Turner.

Meanwhile, stand-up comedian and author Luisa Omielan will ask What Would Beyonce Do?; poet, Kayo Chingonyi, will read from his new collection Kumukanda – in which issues of race, identity and masculinity are explored – and Co Fermanagh actor and author Ciaran McMenamin will discuss his debut novel, Skintown, which is already receiving rave reviews.

This year also sees the launch of the inaugural Mairtin Crawford Award aimed at poets working towards their first full collection, with the winner receiving a six-month mentorship with support from the Irish Writers Centre.

To see the full festival programme, visit

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