For 6 days, the 13th Belfast Book Festival welcomed wonderful array of writers, thinkers and storytellers into our beautiful South Belfast home. Alongside events there were games to be played, films to watched, faces were painted and VR was experienced.  

Between 13 - 18 June 2023, we welcomed to the Festival some of Northern Ireland's incredible talent who connected with visiting artists via a series of conversations, workshops, residencies and Awards that seeked to connect, amplify and showcase our creative communities. 

In 2023; 

  • We operated a Pay What You Decide scheme for a second year.
  • We welcomed a new collaboration with The Adrian Brinkerhoff Foundation.
  • The programme of events gathered 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 ErskineSarah Gilmartin discussing her new novel Service; poets Jess McKinneyJane Clarke, and Emma MustMichael 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.
  • All activity at The Crescent and the Belfast Book Festival is collaborative endeavour. Our thanks to Festival 2023 Associates Natasha Cuddington, Sasha de Buyl, Neil Hegarty and Mícheál McCann for their insights, perspectives and ideas
  • We ran the first ever Belfast Book Festival FunFair; a social afternoon with and for folks active and interested in books and writing. We were joined by 33 resource organisations, funders and journals who were on site to provide support, advice and connections.  
  • Commissioned works including the creation of a giant hot pink Swift, created by artist Ronan Lee Smyth. You can find out more about this artwork and other commissioned works here.
  • 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 celebrated its 150th birthday in 2023 and it’s looking well on it!).   
  • 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.

A huge thank you for hosting us again at the outstanding Belfast Book Festival! We loved our time with you and had so many useful interesting and fun conversations. There are so many impressive and motivated writers engaging with what you do, and benefitting hugely - both day to day and during the Festival. It was an absolute joy to be able to join in. With every good wish and warmest thanks. Elizabeth & Johanna - The Society Of Authors

Click on the cover below to read the Belfast Book Festival 2023 programme. 


BBF23 Seamus Heaney Centre Fellows
BBF23 Richard Ford Signing Books
BBF23 FunFair
BBF23 Audience Outside Crescent
BBF23 Artists about the building
BBF23 Cube
BBF23 Workshops
BBF23 Ronan Lee Smyth Sculpting

Stay in the loop with The Belfast Book Festival

Be the first to hear about upcoming events, courses and workshops. Sign up to our mailing list today

join the Belfast Book Festival on facebook join the Belfast book Festival on twitter