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Artists from NI showcased at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the greatest literary show on Earth!

Friday 19th February 2021 at 10am 0 Comments Literature , Northern Ireland Music

Paul McVeigh, Jason O'Rourke, Jack Warnock, Stephen Sexton Image: Paul McVeigh, Jason O'Rourke, Jack Warnock, Stephen Sexton

Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas.  The past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe.  This year the Jaipur Literature Festival will be presented entirely online due to the pandemic and will feature a number of artists from Northern Ireland including, poet, Stephen Sexton, writer, Paul McVeigh, musician, Jason O’Rourke and BBC NI & Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Young Musicians’ Platform Awardee, Jack Warnock.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented,

“It is great to see the Jaipur Literature Festival thriving in spite of the pandemic and also good to see writers and artists of the calibre of Jason O’Rourke, Paul McVeigh, Jack Warnock and Stephen Sexton engaged in this year’s online edition. We wish everyone a splendid festival over ten days.”

Acclaimed poet, Stephen Sexton, from Northern Ireland, will join Namita Gokhale, Syima Aslam, Joshua Ferris and Francesca Rhydderch in conversation with Elaine Canning on Saturday 20th February at 7:30am GMT.  The writers will discuss their individual literary disciplines, the new literary landscape and the significance of words in transcending borders and cultures.  There will also be a special reading from Welsh actor, Michael Sheen. 

Tune in again on Sunday 21st February, 11:30am GMT, to hear writer, Paul McVeigh, from Belfast, in conversation with Glaswegian writer, Douglas Stuart.  The two writers will discuss Stuart’s 2020 Booker Prize-winning debut novel, Shuggie Bain, where they will unravel the thought and process behind bringing this heart-breaking story out into the world.

Later on Sunday 21st February at 2:30pm GMT, Jaipur Literature Festival presents, ‘Belonging’: A Belfast-Kolkata musical collaboration between Jason O'Rourke and Deepmoy Das.  The project was supported by National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s, Artist Emergency Programme (AEP), a programme established in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to support individual artists to develop their creative practice and create new work.

Jason O’Rourke, commented,

“The idea behind this project was to carry out an online musical collaboration that could be delivered in socially-distanced settings taking into account public health.  It brings together the traditional music of India and Ireland by finding common ground between the two ancient musical cultures, as well as incorporating new material.  We encourage responses to our music from viewers on the theme of ‘belonging’, particularly from those who’ve never participated in the arts before.”

On Thursday 25th February at 2:30pm GMT, the Jaipur Literature Festival will present traditional musician, Jack Warnock.  Jack who is from Maghera, Co.Derry, was recently announced as one of six recipients of the prestigious BBC NI and Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s, Young Musicians’ Platform Award (YMPA), supported by National Lottery funding.  Jack will perform a range of much-loved traditional songs at the festival including, County Derry song, The Faughanside, Oro Mo Bhaidin, Slan le Maigh, The Kilglas Lakes/Joe Derrane's and the well-known folk song, Mary and the Soldier. 

An exceptional young musician, in addition to his BBC NI/ACNI YMPA, Jack has won multiple awards including the An Ré Nua Competition and Senior Accompaniment Competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.  He was also nominated for the hugely prestigious BBC Young Folk Award in 2018.  In 2021, Jack is due to release his highly-anticipated debut solo album with support from National Lottery through Arts Council’s Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP).

Each week, National Lottery players raise £30million for good causes across the UK.  Jack Warnock commented,

“It's an absolute honour to be included on the bill for this year’s online Jaipur Literature Festival. The opportunity for young artists to showcase their music at international arts festivals like this are so few and far between, particularly at present, so I would like to thank National Lottery and the Arts Council for providing the opportunity to get involved. Festivals like this are an integral part of what keeps the world spinning, allowing creators from all types of artistic practice across the globe to connect, collaborate and share their creativity with audiences from east to west. I can't wait to share my stories, songs and tunes with those audiences, and look forward to being on the receiving end of those experiences too.”

Where to watch: The entire Jaipur Literature festival will be held online from 19th-28th February 2021 and is free to view at

Register: Please register at to be able to view the events.  Registration is now live so feel free to register & explore the virtual venue!

Programme: To view the entire programme visit

Jaipur Music Stage Schedule: The entire music stage schedule can be viewed at


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