The Belfast Book Festival, Northern Ireland’s leading literary festival Returns from 10-13 June with an online programme of live events.

This year’s festival will explore various themes, including sexuality, abuse, feminism, love, and more. 

Kicking off the three-day event is a panel discussion about issues affecting poets and the spoken word community. ‘Poetry In Focus’  is led by Chair Martin Doyle, where he brings together industry professionals and poets to talk about the opportunities offered by several network organisations.

Political journalists Susan McKay and Amanda Ferguson will discuss Susan’s new book, ‘Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground’, which touches on an array of social justice issues and campaigns, particularly the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

In ‘Queer Love’, Paul McVeigh will host a talk with contributors Colm Toibin and Shannon Ye. The book aims to rectify the lack of LGBTQI+ community representation in Irish literary anthologies. 

‘Her Other Language: Northern Irish Women Writers Address Domestic Violence and Abuse’ is a collection of poems, stories and play extracts written by women. The project was initiated to raise the ongoing issue of domestic violence and abuse while also giving visibility to women’s writing. Editors Ruth Carr and Natasha Cuddington will introduce the project and host six readings from contributors.

Writing about women’s bodies in Ireland with aching honesty, in ways spiritual, laced with history and humour, and charged by lived experience ‘Life, Death & The Body In Ireland’ will bring together the fantastic Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Sophie White.

Younger audiences should tune in for Joseph Coelho’s reading of his book ‘Zombierella’, where the fairytale heroine becomes a zombie. The author and poet will discuss his journey into becoming a poet and children’s author and gives pointers on how to start writing poems.

In ‘Writing The Teen Voice’, the discussion will explore how adult writers write for teen readers and the voice of the teen writer exploring and documenting their own experiences. The forum will look at the delicate balance and relationship between writer and reader and how representation of the Teen Voice and the teen experience matters in literature.

The Book Festival will see the return of the annual Poetry Slam, presented by Poetry NI. The event, open to all poets, invites anyone interested to share their work through three rounds until a Festival ‘Slampion’ is declared. The Winner will receive the Brian Baily Memorial Cup in tribute to the much-missed poet and pioneer of the Belfast live poetry scene. 

The above is only a fraction of the great discussions and panel talks that will take place over the three days. For the full Belfast Book Festival programme details and book tickets – priced either £3 or free – visit www.belfastbookfestival.com

If you would like to buy any of the books discussed throughout the festival, you can head over to No Alibi’s Book Festival page, where you can get 10% off: https://noalibis.com/category/bbf-21/