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Identity, culture and change explored in 31st John Hewitt International Summer School Programme

Monday 18th June 2018 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Hilary Copeland and Tony Kennedy from the John Hewitt Society are pictured with Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Image: Hilary Copeland and Tony Kennedy from the John Hewitt Society are pictured with Noirin McKinney from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The John Hewitt Society has launched the programme for the 31st John Hewitt International Summer School, taking place in The Market Place Theatre, Armagh from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 July.

This year’s summer school focuses on ‘Facing change: shifting borders and allegiances’ with over 35 events from more than 60 writers, artists, commentators and lecturers, examining how changing political circumstances affect how we think and behave, and how relocation, enforced or voluntary, shapes our life chances.

Artists, writers, and speakers will also consider the impact of anniversaries on our allegiances, including the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement, and the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, and what we can learn from past or different experiences.  The festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds.

The 2018 programme features gala events from poets Michael Longley and Imitaz Dharker, both recipients of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and readings from celebrated novelists such as Patrick Gale and Liz Nugent.

Musical performances include the renowned collaboration from trad supergroup from Ulaid and Duke Special, and Edges of Light with iconic dancer Colin Dunne (Riverdance) with celebrated musicians Tóla Custy, Maeve Gilchrist and David Power.

A double bill of theatre comes to Armagh, written and performed by the acclaimed Mikel Murfi, with international sell-out show The Man in the Woman’s Shoes and its sequel, I Hear You and Rejoice.

The 2018 Summer School provides opportunities for new and established writers to develop their talents, with three-day writing workshops from Nessa O’Mahony, David Wheatley, Siobhán Campbell, Mary O’Donnell, Bernie McGill, Ferdia Mac Anna and Eoin McNamee.

The Summer School will be officially opened by former Irish Fianna Fáil politician Dr. Martin Mansergh who served as Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Minister of State for the Arts from 2008 to 2011.

Tony Kennedy, chair of The John Hewitt Society, said:

“In a year that marks a number of significant anniversaries, and when debate continues on the impact of Brexit on the Irish border and relations in Ireland and throughout Europe, this year’s John Hewitt International Summer School is particularly topical.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said;

“John Hewitt’s own contribution to the cultural life of Ireland has been well-documented and his work and spirit lives on through this annual, landmark festival. Once again, we have an impressive array of exceptional artists and events to look forward to. We wish the John Hewitt Society all the very best with this year’s programme.”

More information on the Summer School programme is available at

Tickets on sale now: call The Market Place Theatre on 028 3752 1821 or book online


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