Return to site

Belfast Book Festival 2017

Programme launch



With 11 days of 100 live events and workshops, get ready to celebrate the wonderful world of books at the 7th Belfast Book Festival. Running from the 7-17th June, this year’s festival features a unique, diverse and highly creative programme; catering for a wide range of interests and exploring many topical themes.  Through authors, workshops, music, comedy, poetry, theatre and discussions festival-goers will be treated to the best international and local talent at the Crescent Arts Centre and partner venues across the city.

Key highlights for this year include; renowned political scientist, activist, distinguished professor and prolific author Norman Finkelstein; comedian and actress Sara Pascoe discusses her debut book Animal which explores the forces that mould and affect modern women;spend a night with the stars of the international smash hit podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno which recently sold out Sydney Opera House;author of the best-selling book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis De Bernieres talks about his latest novel Blue Dog;  spend a year in the life of mum, wife, blogger and bestselling author The Unmumsy Mum Sarah Turner;  British author, journalist and political commentator Douglas Murray discusses his book The Strange Death of Europe; stand-up comedian and author Luisa Omielan will question 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 local actor and author Ciaran McMenamin discusses 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, the winner will receive a 6-month mentorship, which will support the poet to grow artistically and develop professionally.  The award has been organised in association with Moyra Donaldson and has received support from the Irish Writer’s Centre The book festival will also pay tribute to and celebrate the much missed poet at a special event during the festival.

Unsurprisingly the theme of Brexit and its associated issues around immigration and political uncertainly are present within the Festival. Guest authors and journalists include, Polly Toynbee, David Walker and Gary Younge. Feminist writers in both fiction and non-fiction feature this year, as well as discussions around related issues.  A key highlight, in association with the Woman’s Equality Party Northern Ireland, is Catherine Mayer, who is a co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party and former editor at large of TIME magazine.

The Belfast Book Festival, in partnership with Belfast City Council, invites families to discover the merry old land of Oz on 10th June at Lower Crescent Park 11am – 3pm. Featuring children’s authors storytelling, games, lots of entertainment and of course books – this jam packed family fun day is free to attend.

Deepa Mann-Kler, Chair of the Crescent Arts Centre, commented:
“ We did it again – this year’s programme is so ridiculously good! We have literary nourishment for your mind, body and soul. You may have noticed that the world is in a state of flux, so if you want to escape the turmoil of the planet or if you want to reflect then you have to join us for #Belfastbook festival 2017. We have drawn talent from across the globe and closer to home, so please take a few minutes to book your festival highlights now. This year we are delighted to be working with the Bullitt Hotel, who are the festival sponsor, and a huge thank you to our funders and key sponsors - we can only do what we do because of you.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the festival’s principal funder, said:
" The 7th Belfast Book Festival opens up the incredible worlds of literature and the imagination by allowing the best international and local writers to present their work to audiences in the most intimate and personable of settings. The Arts Council’s  support as principal funder reflects our confidence in this festival to extend the appeal of all literary genres so that everyone, from the most tentative to the most seasoned of readers, has the opportunity to experience the full and inimitable pleasure of books.”

Festival Director, Keith Acheson, added:

“We are delighted to announce the programme of our 7th Belfast Book Festival.  Year on year the programme reaches new heights and this year is no exception. Across 11 days, through a range of international and local talent, we will open up the world of books via workshops, talks, performances and our annual free Family Fun Day. The festival provides not only a unique opportunity to explore, discuss and debate key themes affecting us all, but importantly offers new and existing audiences the opportunity to discover these themes through the wonderful world of books and meeting the authors in intimate settings.”

For further details on the Belfast Book Festival including the full festival programme  visit or follow on facebook – Belfastbookfestival or twitter @belfastbookfest #belfastbook.



Helping to launch the 7th  Belfast Book Festival 2017 programme which will run 7-17th June at the Crescent Arts Centre as well as a range of venues across Belfast City including Festival Sponsor Bullitt Hotel were, from left,  Deepa Mann-Kler Chair of Crescent Arts Centre,  Keith Acheson Festival Director and  Petra Wolsey Director of Marketing, Bullitt Hotel & the Beannchor Group