Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555

Latest News
Browse Archive

Belfast to welcome Man Booker Prize-winning author Anna Burns

Friday 15th March 2019 at 8am 0 Comments Literature

Man Booker Prize-winning author, Anna Burns Image: Man Booker Prize-winning author, Anna Burns

Man Booker Prize-winning author Anna Burns, whose standout 2018 novel Milkman captured the ultimate prize in literature last year, is set to come to the Lyric Theatre Belfast next month for a special evening event on Monday 15th April. The event will be jointly hosted by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Faber Members, in association with the Lyric.

‘In conversation with’ acclaimed Irish author and fellow Man Booker-winner Anne Enright, Anna Burns will read extracts from her work and give an insight into her creative inspirations, and her much talked about novel.

Milkman is Anna Burns’ third full-length novel, winning the author her first major award. She is the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the prestigious prize.
Born in Belfast and now based in East Sussex, the novel draws on the writer’s experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Set in an unnamed city, the story focuses on middle sister as she navigates her way through a complex and dangerous world, overshadowed by the threat of gossip, rumours, social pressures and politics. 

Looking forward to the event, author Anna Burns said:

“I feel excited and joyous to be coming to my home town of Belfast to take part in this event. It is an honour to be the first Northern Irish winner of the Man Booker Prize and to have the chance to share this achievement with the place I was born and grew up in. I am delighted to find that my book has spoken, not only to those of my generation, but also to younger people who weren't even born during the era in which the book is set.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“We knew that Anna Burns was inventive and unnerving and daring as a writer. But it was only when Milkman appeared early in 2018, that the scale of her gift was visible. It was already clear that in Milkman she had written possibly the best novel from or about Northern Ireland in a decade.

“Since then, we have lived with the book’s scrutiny of the insidious and invasive cultures of the time, and with its intense and distinctive humour, and its masterly control of the play of our language. Somebody McSomebody and Middle Sister have joined the ranks of the indispensables of our culture. It is a huge joy of course to welcome her back to her home city of Belfast which she has so vividly refashioned for good in the image of her characters.”

Executive Producer of the Lyric, Jimmy Fay, said:

“We are honoured to have been chosen by Anna Burns to host this event. It marks her first public appearance in Ireland, north or south, since she was announced as the winner of the Man Booker Prize. Her brilliant novel Milkman, with a central character whose only means of escape is literature, is just the perfect fit for the Lyric Theatre Belfast, as the home of new writing in Northern Ireland.
The chance to meet and hear Anna Burns is a wonderful opportunity for book lovers and fans of new writing across the country. It is just fantastic that we can celebrate this extraordinary writer in her home town.”

Milkman is published by Faber & Faber, making it the fourth consecutive year the prize has been won by an independent publisher. Faber & Faber has the second highest number of winning titles of any publisher, with six winners that include: Something to Answer For (1969), Rites of Passage (1980), Oscar and Lucinda (1988), The Remains of the Day (1989), True History of the Kelly Gang (2001), Vernon God Little (2003).

Tickets for the event are priced at £12, with a concession price of £8 per ticket for schools. To book your place visit

Faber Members is Faber & Faber's free-to-join literary programme of events, news and special partnerships -


Comments (0)

Add Your Comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.