Festival Associates

Activity at The Crescent and Belfast Book Festival is a collaborative endeavour. Each year, we work with a pool of Freelancers who bring their expertise, ideas and range of perspectives to inform and shape the programme. For 2023, we are delighted to be working with; Natasha CuddingtonSasha de BuylNeil Hegarty and Mícheál McCann



Natasha Cuddington was born in Saskatchewan. Her translations, essays and reviews have appeared variously. In 2017, she was announced as the recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary. An assistant editor of Cyphersher début poetry collection, Each of us (our chronic alphabets) was published by Arlen House in 2018. Together with Ruth Carr, she co-edited the anthology Her Other Language: Northern Irish Women Writers Address Domestic Violence and Abuse (Arlen House: 2020).


Sasha de Buyl is a literature development professional who works nationally and internationally to share the joy of books and reading. They were the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature in Galway from 2019 – 2022 and prior to this managed Scottish Books International, developing projects and partnerships for Scottish literature overseas. Sasha spent two years working as Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, and five years managing reader development projects, including the programme for Book Week Scotland, while at Scottish Book Trust. Over their career, they have held roles with Stanza International Poetry FestivalEdinburgh International Book Festival and Aye Write Book Festival in Glasgow. They are currently Literature and Ideas Programmer at International Literature Festival Dublin and a board member of GAZE: Dublin’s International LGBTQ Film Festival.


Neil Hegarty grew up in Derry. His novels include The Jewel, described by the Irish Times as ‘a vital book for our time’, and Inch Levels, which was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Novel of the Year award in 2017. Neil’s non-fiction titles include Frost: That Was the Life That Was, a biography of David Frost; The Secret History of our Streets, which tells the story of twentieth-century London; and The Story of Ireland, which accompanies the BBC television history of Ireland. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Dublin ReviewStinging FlyTangerine and elsewhere; he is a regular literary reviewer with the Irish Times; and is co-editor with Nora Hickey M’Sichili of the essay collection Impermanence, published by No Alibis and recently adapted for radio by RTÉ. Neil lives in Dublin.

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Mícheál McCann is a poet from Derry. His poems have appeared in The Poetry ReviewThe Stinging Fly and Poetry Ireland Review. He has published pamphlets of poems, most recently Waking Light (Skein Press) and Keeper (14publishing). He was a co-editor of Hold Open the Door (UCD Press), Trumpet (Poetry Ireland) and is a founder and editor of Outburst Arts’ catflap magazine. He lives in Belfast where he is completing a PhD in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

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