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Newtownards couple win trip of a lifetime to India in celebration of the Jaipur Literature Festival

Saturday 15th June 2019 at 9am 0 Comments Literature

Pictured is winner Jacqueline Dickson with her husband Billy Dickson and Damian Smyth, Arts Council of Northern Ireland (middle). Image: Pictured is winner Jacqueline Dickson with her husband Billy Dickson and Damian Smyth, Arts Council of Northern Ireland (middle).

Jacqueline and Billy Dickson, from Newtownards, have won a trip to the Jaipur Literature Festival in India this January 2020, in celebration of the festival’s first visit to Northern Ireland on 22-23 June, with a packed weekend of events planned for the Lyric Theatre Belfast and Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy.

Hosted in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council Northern Ireland and the Festival’s producers, Teamwork Arts, JLF Belfast will bring a true spirit of the original festival, hailed as one of the greatest literary shows on earth.

Commenting on the win Jacqueline Dickson said,

“India is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and it’s coming up to our 30th wedding anniversary so to win this prize is absolutely amazing.”
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, “I can’t imagine a better prize, a week in India, in palatial surroundings, at the biggest literature festival on earth; that’s just about as good as it gets!”

The two-day festival in Belfast and Bellaghy will feature readings, panel discussions and debates with acclaimed writers and cultural thinkers from India, Ireland and the UK, gathered to share each other’s stories in a celebration of books, poems, creativity, ideas, food and music. Themes under discussion throughout the weekend will include Borders, Food, Gender, Peace and Non-violence, Women and Freedom, Mythology and Looking into the Future: Artificial Intelligence.

Among those confirmed for the exciting weekend are: 

Asma Khan: celebrity chef, restauranteur, epicure, author, founder of charity Second Daughter’s Fund and star of Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee: distinguished granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi who has devoted her life to working for public welfare.

Namita Gokhale: Award-winning author, publisher, columnist and Festival Co-Ordinator of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Marcus Du Sautoy: author, renowned mathematician and the Oxford Simonyi Professor for Public Understanding of Science.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi: outspoken activist, dancer, actress and leader of the movement which got India’s Supreme Court to recognize the third gender.

Other distinguished speakers at the festival include Patrick Gale, Brian Keenan, Ruth Padel and William Dalrymple, alongside a wealth of immense writing talent from Northern Ireland, David Park, Shannon Yee, Glenn Patterson, Jan Carson, Garrett Carr, Paul McVeigh, Malachi O’Doherty and Lucy Caldwell.

View the full programme of events at and visit or for tickets.


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