I’ll be chairing an event with Joanne Harris author of 20 novels & journalist, editor and interviewer Sarah Shaffi. Pretentious? Moi?! ‘In this light-hearted session, we look at the heavy-handed writers who allow their imaginations to be overruled by their egos, and think about how to avoid the pitfalls of authorial pretension.’
The second event also sounds like a lot of fun.
Dear Kit and Paul… ‘Need help? Why not join our literary agony Aunt and Uncle, Kit de Waal and Paul McVeigh as they offer advice and solutions to all of your writerly (and other) problems.’
This year’s lineup includes Jordan Stephens of hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks; bestselling author and screenwriter Juno Dawson; podcaster Viv Groskop; screenwriter and author Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Suffragette, The Split); social media influencers Alex Light and Natalie Lee aka StyleMeSunday; superstar musician La Roux; multiple-award winning writer and Primadonna Kit de Waal; TV presenter and writer June Sarpong; Sunday Times bestselling-author Cathy Rentzenbrink; top crime writer Erin Kelly… and many more famous names and emerging talent from the world of books, entertainment and music. Plus walkabout Alice in Wonderland, late-night disco sessions, pop-up dance classes, nature walks, stand-up and loads of things for kids to do. And if you’re a writer (or want to be) Primadonna offers you the chance to rub shoulders with agents, authors and publishers or take our ‘MA’. And loads more still to announce!
Celebrating the Short Story with Wendy Erskine & Bernie McGill
in conversation with …Paul McVeigh
Wednesday 27th July at 1.30pm Market Theatre, Armagh.
Wendy Erskine’s first collection, Sweet Home, (2018) was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and won the 2020 Butler Literary Award. In her new collection, Dance Move, we meet characters who are looking to wrest control of their lives, only to find themselves defined by moments in their past. In these stories – as in real life – the funny, the tender and the devastating go hand in hand.
“Truly magnificent. These stories buzz with life and verve and humour. A collection that reminds us how glorious the short story can be.” Danielle McLaughlin
Bernie McGill has written two novels, The Butterfly Cabinet and The Watch House, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Irish/European Union Prize for Literature, a collection of short stories, Sleepwalkers, and two plays, The Weather Watchers, and The Haunting of Helena Blunden. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for numerous awards and is anthologised widely. Her latest collection of short stories is This Train is For, published by No Alibis, June 2022.
“[Bernie] McGill writes about life, love and telegraphy with a poet’s clarity.” The Sunday Times
Armistead Maupin is heading back out on the road and stopping off in Belfast’s Ulster Hall on 8 June 2022. And I get to interview him. Can’t tell you how much this means to me – I feel like I grew up with his characters.
‘Following a successful UK tour in 2019, the bestselling, much-loved author and LGBT activist, Armistead Maupin is bringing his brand new show to Belfast.
Maupin has been blazing a trail through US popular culture since the 1970’s, when his iconic and ground-breaking series Tales of the Citywas first published as a column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The novel series has been taking the literary world by storm ever since, and was recently adapted by Netflix into a critically acclaimed series, starring Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis and Elliot Page.
Don’t miss the chance to join America’s ultimate storyteller, as he recounts his favourite tales from the past four decades, offering his own engaging observations on society and the world we inhabit.’
The Launch of the 32: An Anthology of Working Class Voices – and Kit de Waal and Paul McVeigh: Why We Need More Diversity in Publishing
The 32 Launch Introduced by Kit de Waal and Editor Paul McVeigh with short readings from the Northern Irish contributors Riley Johnston, Dr Michael Pierse and Marc Gregg.
The 32 is the Irish version of ‘Common People’ anthology edited by Kit de Waal. It has 16 established Irish working class voices including Roddy Doyle, Kevin Barry, Lisa McInerney and Daniel McLaughlin, as well as, 16 new writers from across the island of Ireland. The anthology aims to go some way towards highlighting the lack of access working class writers have to the publishing industry.
This event will also include a free wine reception and refreshments. and is supported by The Irish Secretariat and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
The launch will include a conversation between two of our leading authors who have championed working class writers discuss the challenges faced by people from less affluent backgrounds in getting into print and how they can be overcome. They will discuss the lack of diversity in publishing and the importance of promoting a wider range of voices in literature. The event will consider why the books industry still so white, middle-class and male and what steps can we take to make publishing more inclusive.
Lucy Caldwell is the author of two short story collections, several stage plays and radio dramas, and four novels, including the forthcoming These Days (Faber, March 2022). She is also the editor of Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber, 2019). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a former Fellow of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright, and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her most recent collection Intimacies was described by Kevin Barry as “A tremendous collection. Precise and beautifully controlled fictions but with strange, wild energies pulsing along just below their surface,” and by Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee as “Heart-stoppingly good.” She was named by the Sunday Times as “one of Ireland’s most essential writers.”
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim, followed by a short-story collection, Children’s Children(2016), and two flash fiction anthologies, Postcard Stories (2017) and Postcard Stories 2 (2020). Her second novel, The Fire Starters (2019), won the EU Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Novel of the Year Award. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She has won the Harper’s Bazaar short-story competition and has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize. She specializes in running arts projects and events with older people, especially those living with dementia.
Paul McVeigh‘s debut novel, The Good Son, won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award and was shortlisted for many others including the Prix du Roman Cezam in France. His short stories have been read on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5 and on Sky Arts. They have appeared in print in journals such as The Stinging Fly, and numerous anthologies including Faber’s Being Various: New Irish Short Stories and The Art of the Glimpse. He is associate director of Word Factory, ‘the UK’s national organisation for excellence in the short story’ (The Guardian), and he co-founded the London Short Story Festival. He was co-editor of the Belfast Storiesanthology and was fiction editor at Southword Journal. He edited The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Writers, which includes new work by Kevin Barry, Roddy Doyle and Lisa McInerney.
Join us for a jam-packed programme of events and classes on writing and publishing short stories.
Taking place on Zoom and hosted by Dahlia Books’ founder Farhana Shaikh, our Short Story September Festival is the ultimate retreat for anyone looking to master writing short stories. All attendees will be sent recordings and a copy of the chat following the event. Recordings will be available to playback for up to 90 days.
FESTIVAL PROGRAMME (subject to change)
Saturday 25th September
10.30 AM Registration & Warm-up workshop
In this warm-up workshop, we will begin to think about using our own life as a springboard for generating new ideas for fiction. Through a series of writing games and prompts we will begin to write fragments and set them free in our shared online writing journal.
11.00 – Morning Keynote with Paul McVeigh
Paul’s debut novel, The Good Son, won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award, and was shortlisted for many others including The Prix du Roman Cezam. Paul began his writing career as a playwright and comedy writer. His short stories have been in numerous anthologies, journals and newspapers, as well as, on BBC Radio 3,4 & 5, and Sky Arts. He co-founded the London Short Story Festival and is associate director of Word Factory, London; ‘the UK’s national organisation for excellence in the short story’ The Guardian. He co-edited the anthology Belfast Stories, and edited Queer Love & The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices. He has judged numerous literary prizes, including The Edge Hill Short Story Prize, The Dylan Thomas Prize and, currently The V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize for the Royal Society of Literature. He is writing has been translated into seven languages.
11.30 – 12 PM Breakout groups
12 PM – Publishing your Short Story Collection with Reshma Ruia and Mona Dash
How can short story writers develop their writing skills and how do they navigate the publication journey? In this session, Dahlia Books 2021 authors Reshma Ruia and Mona Dash share their experiences of writing their first collection, finding their voice, and getting published. This event will be pre-recorded.
12.15 – 1.15 PM Lunch
1.30 – 2.45 PM A Brief Pause Showcase: Developing your practice
Earlier this year, twenty writers from across the UK were selected to take part in our short story development programme, A Brief Pause. In this showcase event, writers will share their work and discuss how the scheme has helped them to take the next step in their career.
3 – 5 PM Writing Workshop with Kathy Fish
Embracing Your Inner Wild: Creating Untamed Flash Fiction
Creative breakthroughs occur when we stretch our writerly muscles. This session is aimed at working outside your comfort zone to more vibrant, risk-taking writing. What happens when we unbind ourselves from the constraints of tame, domesticated realism and let our imaginations run wild? We will explore playfulness of language and structure as well as trying our hands at writing flash of a more surrealistic bent. Come ready to write and expect to surprise yourself!
Kathy Fish has published five collections of short fiction, most recently Wild Life: Collected Works from 2003-2018. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Copper Nickel, Washington Square Review, and numerous other journals, textbooks, and anthologies. Fish’s “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild,” was selected for Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018 and the current edition of The Norton Reader. She is the recipient of a Ragdale Foundation Fellowship and a Copper Nickel Editors’ Prize. Her free monthly newsletter, The Art of Flash Fiction, includes a craft article and writing prompt. Subscribe at artofflashfiction.com
5 – 5.15 PM – virtual tea break with chai and brownies
5.30 – 6.30 PM – Leicester Writes Short Story Prize Ceremony
The Leicester Writes Short Story Prize was set up in 2017 to recognise and reward the best short story writing talent. Join us to celebrate this year’s fantastic long-listed writers and listen to the short stories that made it to our top 20 from more than 310 entries! Our prize anthology featuring all 20 short stories will be launched on the day. Readers on the night tba.
Bursaries are available for writers on a low income*
Please email Farhana at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for a bursary place demonstrating your commitment to your creative practice and a brief statement on your current circumstances. Please email by 10th September at the latest.
Australian Writers Cate Kennedy and Paddy O’Reilly in Conversation with Paul McVeigh
About this Event
Cate Kennedy is a novelist, short story writer and poet whose work features in the school syllabus in Australia. When writing about her favourite Australian fiction, the late Eileen Battersby recommended Cate Kennedy’s second short story collection Like a House on Fire (2012) and said: ‘Australia’s response to the art of Alice Munro, Cate Kennedy is a singular artist who looks to the ordinary in a small rural community and is particularly astute on exploring the fallout left by the aftermath of the personal disasters that change everything. Her debut collection, Dark Roots (2006) heralded the arrival of a fully-formed master of the form ….’ The Irish Times
Paddy O’Reilly is a multiple award-winning Australian writer whose novels and stories have won and been shortlisted for many major awards, and have been published, anthologised and broadcast in Australia, China, Europe, the UK and the USA.
‘In her latest collection, Peripheral Vision, Paddy O’Reilly proves to be one of Australia’s most accomplished authors of the long-wave story. Peripheral Vision has expansive energy, and will fascinate readers with a taste for open endings and vivid voices.’ The Australian
Join the Royal Society of Literature and Arts Council Northern Ireland for a day of activity, shining a spotlight on the outstanding writers and writing of Northern Ireland, hosted by award-winning writer Paul McVeigh. A seminar, workshop, and panel discussion aim to inspire you to revisit and recommend your most loved Northern Irish writers.
1 – 2pm, Poetry Workshop with Daljit Nagra At lunchtime, award-winning poet and Chair of the RSL, Daljit Nagra (pictured), delivers a free hour-long workshop designed to reinvigorate your poetic voice. Open to all, whether you’ve recently started writing or are regularly performing work, Daljit’s writing exercises and infectious energy will encourage you to experiment with form and imagination. BOOK NOW
3pm, In Conversation with Paul McVeigh and Molly Rosenberg Director of the RSL Molly Rosenberg and Paul McVeigh (pictured) discuss the RSL Open programme and answer your questions about what RSL Fellowship means, why a community of writers is important, and how to recommend a writer to the programme. BOOK NOW
6.30pm, Panel Discussion with Paul McVeigh, Wendy Erskine, Glenn Patterson, Shannon Yee and Daljit Nagra We celebrate some of the finest Northern Irish writers working across form and genre today. Short-story writer Wendy Erskine (pictured), novelist Glenn Patterson, playwright Shannon Yee and poet and Chair of the RSL Daljit Nagra, will discuss their work, routes into writing and the Northern Irish literary scene. BOOK NOW