Literary big hitters Roddy Doyle and Richard Ford for Belfast Book Festival

Jenny Lee

Climate change, masculinity, class, menopause, motherhood and the power of translation are just some of the many topics under discussion at this month’s Belfast Book Festival.

Over 40 events and workshops will take place across 10 days, running from June 13-18 at the Crescent Arts Centre in south Belfast.

Highlights include Deirdre Madden, who has a reputation as one of Ireland’s most significant and emotionally resonant writers, will be in conversation with Wendy Erskine.

Dublin novelist Ciara Geraghty, whose novel Queen Bee, described by Cathy Kelly as’ Laugh-out-loud funny with a spikily endearing heroine who runs full tilt at the menopause with a baseball bat in her hands’, will be amongst the panel of Cracking the Menopause.


Hosted by Fiona Bell, the evening also brings together journalist Alice Smellie and BBC Northern Ireland’s Health Correspondent, Marie-Louise Connolly will be separating the myths from the reality and offering expertise, hope and advice in a frank discussion– with a generous side order of humour.

June 15 brings together Seamus Heaney Centre’s 2022-23 Fellows, multi-disciplinary poet and performer Kae Tempest, novelist Roddy Doyle and the Belfast Ensemble’s composer, director and songwriter Conor Mitchell, for a fascinating evening of conversation about their different forms of storytelling.

American Pultizer prize-winning author Richard Ford will be in conversation with debut Belfast novelist Michael Magee, discussing masculinity, class and what writing means to them.

Writing Home brings together poet Jane Clarke, writer Sally Hubard and Cork sculpture conservator Eoghan Daltun in a discussion on how we make and maintain a home in a world assailed by the climate emergency?

Eoghan’s book An Irish Atlantic Rainforest offers a manifesto on how nature and the world can be reclaimed for the common good. In A Change in the Air Jane explores how landscape and nature shape us. And Sally’s Sea Bean follows the currents of ocean and history in a profound meditation on healing.

Other events include Kerri Ní Dochartaigh and Doreen Cunningham discussing motherhood with Alice Kinsella, the exhibition launch of Incanting Leland Bardwell and a rare live recording of RTÉ Sunday Miscellany in the Cube with special guests Wendy Erksine, Neil Hegarty and John Toal.

The Belfast Book Festival is honoured to mark the centenary of Irish poet and novelist Leland Bardwell with an exhibition curated by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, ​​John McLachlan and Natasha Cuddington


The Belfast Book Festival is bursting with storytelling talent and are trying to encourage even more budding writers with a number of initiatives.

The first Belfast Book Festival FunFair is a social afternoon with and for folks active and interested in books and writing. Resource organisations, funders and publishers including the Irish Writers Centre, Poetry Ireland, Blackstaff Press and BBC Writersroom will be on hand to offer advice.

Demystifying Contracts & Authors’ Rights With The Society Of Authors is a workshop aimed at those who have been offered a book contract.

Society of Authors Contracts Advisors, Elizabeth Haylett Clark and Johanna Clarke, will explain common contractual terms you might encounter and flag pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. 


Little ones aren’t forgotten in the Belfast Book Festival with family-friendly events, including a story-making session with author, illustrator and current Children’s Writing Fellow NI Paul Howard, perfect for kids ages 4-8. 

Paul will work with participants to craft an exciting new story for Paul’s wonderful characters, who children will recognise from books such as The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark and The Burpee Bears.

The festival will operate a Pay What You Decide Scheme for a second year – with a recommended price of £10. 

For full programme and booking visit