Monday, June 09, 2014

Belfast Book Festival (9-15 June) #belfastbook

Can you ever have too many books? Whether fact or fiction, paper or electronic format, written in your mother tongue or translated from another culture, books and the many literary variations are wondrous.

Belfast Book Festival is back this week. And not a mention of football!

If you’re fast – and live next door to the Crescent Arts Centre where many of the events are being hosted – you’ve still got time to catch the end of the first of the nine events I’ve highlighted from the eighty or more sessions in the week-long festival programme. Lots of lunchtime as well as evening events.

Monday 9 June at 9pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Bankruptcy Collapse Meltdown. Mitch Feierstein (a successful hedge fund manager who has acted as a disaster and contingency planning consultant for a number of governments) will read from and talk about his latest book Planet Ponzi before being joined in discussion by Stacy Herbert (markets and finance broadcaster) and Max Keiser (an outrageous pundit and stock exchange software creator). These three figures from the world of journalism, finance and the global economy. £10.

Tuesday 10 June at 8.30pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Talking Myself Home. Ian McMillan is poet-in-residence for Barnsley Football Club and The Academy of Urbanism, and a frequent broadcaster. £8.

Wednesday 11 June at 6.30pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Sorry For Your Troubles. You may have caught Pádraig Ó Tuama’s lyrical tones delivering Thought for the Day on Radio Ulster over the past few years. He’s a striking poet and his 2013 collection comes out of his work in reconciliation, telling stories of people who have lived through personal and political conflict. £5.

Thursday 12 June at 7pm. Public Records Office NI (PRONI), Titanic Quarter. Aces On Tour: A Showcase Of Up & Coming Literary Voices. Six rising literary starts – who’ve all been awarded grants from Arts Council of NI will be performing: Pauline Burgess (children and adult fiction); Jan Carson (writer); Kenneth Gregory (fantasy novelist); Matt Kirkham (poet); Nathaniel Joseph McAuley (poet); Anthony Quinn (writer and journalist). Free.

Friday 13 June at 1pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Randall Stephen Hall: Lunchtime Songs. Spend a distracted lunch break in the company of poetry, interactive songs, projected illustrations and stories … all with a local feel. Free.

Friday 13 June from 3-4pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Mixed Up Fairy Tales. A fun-packed workshop using drama-based games to allow children to create brand new angles on classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Ages 6 to 8. Free.

Saturday 14 June at 6pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Writing On Motherhood. Three writers speak about the tensions between family life and creativity: Sinead Morrissey (inaugural Belfast Poet Laureate); Debi Gliori (children’s writer and illustrator) and Carolyn Jess-Cooke (poet and novelist). £6.

Sunday 15 June at 1pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Alan Johnson: This Boy. Stephen Walker will be in conversation with Labour politician, former shadow-Chancellor and former Home Secretary (amongst other cabinet positions) about his childhood memoire and upbringing in the slums of 1950s Notting Hill Gate. £8.

Sunday 15 June at 8pm. Crescent Arts Centre. Ann Widdecombe. The Conservative politician and Strictly Come Dancing veteran will be in conversation with Noel Thompson about her family life in Singapore, student life in Birmingham and Oxford, life in Westminster, her conversation to Catholicism in 1993 and her fulsome lifestyle. £8.

While the festival technically finishes on the 15 June, a number of other later events are worth noting.

Alessandra Celesia’s superb film The Bookseller of Belfast is being screened in the Crescent Arts Centre at 6.30pm on Monday 16 and Thursday 19 June. John Clancy was a second hand bookseller whose love of literature far outlasted his physical bookshop in Smithfield. This award-winning documentary examines the literary character along with the lives of some of those he touched in his local community. John sadly passed away in January 2014. It’s great to see the film getting a couple of local screenings. Strongly recommended. £3.

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