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First NI Writers Day will Celebrate Home-grown Talent

Thursday 18th February 2021 at 10am 0 Comments Literature

Pictured: Writer Paul McVeigh, RSL Director Molly Rosenberg, playwright Shannon Yee, short-story writer Wendy Erskine, novelist Glenn Patterson and Chair of the RSL, Daljit Nagra Image: Pictured: Writer Paul McVeigh, RSL Director Molly Rosenberg, playwright Shannon Yee, short-story writer Wendy Erskine, novelist Glenn Patterson and Chair of the RSL, Daljit Nagra

The Royal Society of Literature has joined with the Arts Council to celebrate Northern Irish writers and writing as part of the first NI Writers Day in March (Tuesday 23rd March).

Linked to RSL Open – in which the RSL is seeking public recommendations of excellent UK writers who are underrepresented in the literary culture – this free online day of events, hosted in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will shine a spotlight on our acclaimed poets, playwrights and authors.

NI Writers Day is part of a UK wide drive by the Royal Society of Literature to broaden its reach and celebrate diversity in literature.  Founded in 1820, RSL is a long-established and respected voice for writers and champion for the arts. Through its RSL Open Fellowship Programme, 60 new fellows will be elected this year, from communities under-represented in UK literature - particularly working class writers, writers outside of London, writers of colour, and LGBTQ+ writers.

This is the first time that the RSL has joined with the Arts Council to host an event like this in Northern Ireland and the planned programme has been designed to appeal to both readers and writers.

The day’s proceedings will be hosted by award-winning Belfast-born writer Paul McVeigh. In conversation with Director of the RSL Molly Rosenberg, they will discuss the RSL Open Fellowship Programme, why a community of writers is important, and how to recommend a writer to the programme.

At lunchtime, award-winning poet and Chair of the RSL, Daljit Nagra, will deliver a free hour-long workshop. Open to all, whether you have recently started writing or are regularly performing work, Daljit’s writing exercises and infectious energy will encourage writers to experiment with form and imagination.

Events will come to a close with a very special panel discussion featuring some of the finest Northern Irish writers working across form and genre today. Short-story writer Wendy Erskine, 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.

Director of the RSL Molly Rosenberg, explained:

“The RSL and ACNI believe that literature is at its best when it includes voices from the greatest breadth of backgrounds and experiences from across the UK. I’m thrilled to be working with ACNI on this day-long programme to celebrate the great writing and writers of Northern Ireland, and am excited to see our relationship only deepen into the future with the RSL Open Fellowship programme."

Head of Literature at the Arts Council, Damian Smyth said:

“We are delighted to work in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature to help raise the profile of writers from NI. This will be a great day of discussion, showcasing and promotion, where all varieties of literature, from flash to poetry to performance, fiction, non-fiction and memoir, across the genres and ages, engaging with diversity in every sense, can be recognised. It marks a key moment in the visibility of writers as a whole and we can’t wait!”

At the heart of the RSL is its Fellowship, which encompasses around 600 of the most eminent authors working in the English language in the UK. The RSL’s Fellows inform all their activities —from judging prizes to writing new work for our young people’s outreach programme, from speaking at events to leading new initiatives to bring literature to the greatest possible number of people across the UK. Guided by your recommendations, RSL seek to celebrate the great diversity of the UK’s literary writing and writers in our Fellowship.

To read more about RSL Open and how you can nominate your favourite NI author visit https://rsliterature.org/rsl-open/

Tickets for NI Writers Day are free and can be booked via the RSL website. Numbers are strictly limited for the poetry workshop with Daljit Nagraand, so early booking is recommended. Visit https://rsliterature.org/rsl-event/rsl-open-northern-ireland-writers-day/ 

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