Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Publishing

Date Thursday 10 June 2021
Time 5:30 PM
PriceA Free Event
Age Range16+ years
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Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Publishing


We are delighted to welcome colleagues from Belfast-based independent publisher No Alibis, Hachette Books Ireland, Amazon Publishing and writers Kit De Waal and Wendy Erskine for a panel discussion on the publishing industry. 

Chaired by Lamia Dabboussy expect a thought-provoking conversation as the panel discuss; how publishers of different scales have been navigating their way through the pandemic; challenges and opportunities for writers; reflections on access and opportunity; changes in consumer behaviour; the role of bookshops; and collaborative approaches. 

This event is in partnership with NIPR, the National Collection of Northern Ireland Publications

Looking to buy a book by one of the writers involved in this year's programme? Check out our official Festival Bookstore partner, No Alibi’s, who have created this special Belfast Book Festival page on their website which features the books and collections of the writers at the 2021 Festival. Plus they are offering a 10% discount on all of the Festival titles! 



Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award in 2017. Her second novel, The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women's Prize and her young adult novel Becoming Dinah was shortlisted for the Carnegie CLIP Award 2020. She also crowdfunded and edited an anthology of working-class memoir, Common People, which was published in 2018. Kit founded the Big Book Weekend, a free digital literary festival and was named the FutureBook Person of the Year in 2019. Her latest publication, Supporting Cast, is a collection of short stories.

Ciara Doorley is the Editorial Director at Hachette Books Ireland. She commissions and edits a broad range of bestselling fiction including crime/thriller, book club and commercial women’s fiction and bestselling non-fiction in the areas of narrative memoir, self-help, illustrated, sports and lifestyle. As part of the publishing process, Ciara works on everything from the development of ideas to cover design to structural editing. Her authors include Michael Harding, Prof Jim Lucey, Caroline Foran, Gerry Hussey, Catherine Kirwan, Roisin Meaney and Sophie White.  

Victoria Haslam is an Editor for the Amazon Publishing imprints Thomas & Mercer and Little A, acquiring widely within crime and thriller and narrative non-fiction. Before joining Amazon Publishing, Victoria was Commissioning Editor at Audible UK where she acquired titles for the company’s first list of audiobook Audible Originals across all genres, and worked on developing great listens and shaping transformational audio content and has experience of working with independent trade and B2B publishers in a variety of roles. 

Emma Warnock is the Commissioning Editor at No Alibis Press, an independent publisher of fiction based in Belfast. She studied literature at Queen's University, Belfast and has a PhD in contemporary fiction. The next publication from No Alibis Press will be Seed by Joanna Walsh (June 2021). We are delighted to welcome Joanna to the Belfast Book Festival, in conversation with writer Naoise Dolan. Click here for more information about this event. 

Wendy Erskine’s short story collection Sweet Home (Stinging Fly, 2018 and Picador, 2019) won the Butler Literary Award, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award for the story ‘Inakeen.’ Her stories and nonfiction have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and on RTE Radio 1. She hosts a show on Soho Radio for Rough Trade Books and is a full-time secondary school teacher.  Her new collection Dance Move will be published by Stinging Fly and Picador in early 2022.

Lamia Dabboussy (Chair) is acting Head of Arts at the BBC and leads the department’s programming strategy – including television commissioning, seasons and festivals, partnerships, digital innovation and the nationwide creative talent development scheme BBC Introducing Arts. Before joining the Arts department, Lamia led the BBC’s strategic audience planning insight function and the brand effectiveness team.


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