Welcome to the 13th edition of the annual Belfast Book Festival, run by the Crescent Arts Centre.

We are excited to welcome you into our lovely South Belfast home: Come on in!  

From 13 - 18 June 2023, we invite you in to meet, watch and listen to storytellers; to write your own stories; to get crafty; to build, borrow or buy your summer reading list. At the very least let us introduce you to the colony of swifts that The Crescent is a home to: spot them in the skies around us from late April to August!

Alongside our events there are also games to be played, films to be watched, faces to get painted and VR to be experienced. If you’re coming to an event, consider building in some time to explore the building (which celebrates its 150th birthday this year and it’s looking well on it!).   

This year’s programme gathers together speakers on a range of themes: the climate emergency; explorations of girlhood; and the power of translation to create new worlds. Festival highlights include Deirdre Madden in conversation with Wendy Erskine; Sarah Gilmartin discussing her new novel Service; poets Jess McKinney, Jane Clarke, and Emma Must; Michael Magee discussing models of masculinity, Kerri ní Dochartaigh and Doreen Cunningham discussing motherhood with Alice Kinsella; a celebration of the Stinging Fly at 25; Eoghan Daltun on rethinking our relationship with nature; and a special live recording of RTE Sunday Miscellany.

The Belfast Book Festival is a Platform. Northern Ireland is bursting with storytelling talent that we bring to you via a series of conversations, workshops, residencies and Awards that seek to connect, amplify and showcase our creative communities. It is also a collaborative endeavour, as the festival continues its focus on innovation and collaboration, with a team of cultural associates including Natasha Cuddington, Sasha de Buyl, Neil Hegarty and Mícheál McCann. Click here for more information about this years associates.

We also run the annual Mairtín Crawford Awards for Short Story and Poetry, named after the beloved writer and poet and who was a significant figure in Northern Ireland's literary community. Click here to learn more about Mairtín Crawford. 

Our thanks go to all our supporters, including you!  A particular nod to The Crescent’s Principal Funder The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and investment support from Belfast City Council.  It is a pleasure to work with Johns Elliot Solicitors and Translink, supporters of the Festival over a number of years, and we welcome a new collaboration with The Adrian Brinkerhoff Foundation.

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The Belfast Book Festival, with its broad and accessible approach to all things literary, covering all manner of genres, from children’s novels to sporting biographies and much else in between, has inspired the city to think differently about books. The programme for 2019 matches with a renewed energy and vision the very best editions of this vibrant celebration, convening a wonderful gathering of writers, thinkers, personalities and opinion-formers, all of whom reach for creative words to achieve their ambitions. The Arts Council, as principal funder, is proud to support the ninth Belfast Book Festival as it continues to promote the immeasurable joy of books, in all their forms.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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