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Second NI Writers Day Will Celebrate Contemporary Voices In Literature

Thursday 14th October 2021 at 12pm 0 Comments

The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with support from the National Lottery, are inviting booklovers and writers to join them for a series of free online events later this month.

NI Writers Day 2 will take place on Wednesday 27th October. It follows on from the first hugely successful NI Writers Day in March 2021 and is part of a drive by the Royal Society of Literature to celebrate literary talent across all regions of the UK.

The October session will feature a mix of speakers, shining a light on some of Northern Ireland’s most outstanding writers working across a range of genres today, including drama, sci-fi, crime fiction and Irish language. Award-winning writer and RSL Fellow Lucy Caldwell will return to her Northern Ireland roots to host the day.

The event will open with a lunchtime workshop led by Lucy and fellow East-Belfast author Glenn Patterson, who together will deliver a free hour-long workshop exploring the joys, possibilities and challenges of working across form. Open to all, whether you’ve recently started writing or are a master of your chosen genre, this session will encourage writers to experiment with the written word.

In the afternoon, Royal Society of Literature Chair and acclaimed poet Daljit Nagra will interview Inua Ellams, a poet playwright and artist whose work has been heavily influenced by Seamus Heaney. In this special event he will talk about his poem Wood Work for Seamus Heaney and Peter Edwards, which was commissioned by the Royal Society of Literature and written in response to a portrait of the Nobel Prize winning poet held in the National Portrait Gallery.

The event will come to a close with a panel discussion featuring some of the finest Northern Irish writers working across form and genre today. Led by RSL Fellow Lucy Caldwell, sci-fi novelist Ian McDonald, Irish language children’s writer Máire Zepf, performance poet Abby Oliveira, and crime writer Steve Cavanagh will discuss their work, routes into writing and the Northern Irish literary scene.

Director of the RSL, Molly Rosenberg, explained:

“The RSL is thrilled to be working with the Arts Council on this second Northern Ireland Writers Day collaboration of 2021. Throughout the day, we'll be celebrating the remarkable work and influence of Northern Irish writers of the past, as well as the extraordinary range, quality and significance of Northern Irish writers working today. All at the RSL are excited to be part of this special set of events, and to continue this programme of work with writers across literary forms and across Northern Ireland."

Acting Head of Literature at the Arts Council, Paul McVeigh said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership once again with the Royal Society of Literature to help raise the profile of writers from NI and showcase the wealth of talent we have here. This will be a great day of discussion, celebrating all varieties of literature, from across the genres, with three events that are sure to capture the imaginations of readers and writers.”

Tickets for NI Writers Day are free and can be booked via the RSL website. Go to

Please note, numbers are strictly limited for the writing workshop with Lucy Caldwell and Glenn Patterson. To apply for tickets for this event only email before 5pm on Thursday 21st October 2021. Tickets will be allocated on a discretionary basis with priority given to writers from Northern Ireland who did not attend the poetry workshop with Daljit Nagra in March at the first NI Writers Day.


Born in Belfast in 1981, Lucy CaldwellFRSL is the award-winning author of four novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, and most recently two collections of short stories: Multitudes and Intimacies. Her latest novel These Days will be published by Faber in March 2022. She is also the editor of Being Various: New Irish Short Stories.

Ian McDonald lives in Holywood, Northern Ireland and is best known for his science fiction works. His first novel Desolation Road was published in 1988, his most recent, the final part of the Luna trilogy, came out in March 2019. He's written twenty-five novels, four novellas and four story collections and has been nominated for every major genre award. His work is translated into fifteen languages.

Máire Zepf has written 12 books for children, from picture books to a YA verse novel. Winner of the KPMG Children’s Book of the Year, the Réics Carló Award and a White Raven in 2020, her books appear in 10 languages worldwide. The Co. Down author was the first Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland, based at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at QUB (2017-19). She is Artistic Director for Quotidian – Word on the Street.

Abby Oliveira is a writer, performer, lyricist, and theatre-maker based in Derry. She has been an eminent member of the Irish spoken-word scene for over a decade. She performs regularly at events and festivals throughout the UK, Ireland & abroad and has toured work in Australia, New Zealand (via support from Arts Council NI), and Singapore. She has had work commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and Foyle, RTE radio, and more.

Steve Cavanagh is the critically acclaimed, Sunday Times best-selling author of the Eddie Flynn series, and a standalone novel, Twisted. His books have sold over a million copies in the UK alone. Every novel has either won or been nominated for a major award. His third novel, The Liar, won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the year 2018. Thirteen won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime novel of the year 2019. FIFTY FIFTY was a Richard and Judy Book club choice, and the BBC Between The Covers book club choice. His latest novel, The Devil's Advocate was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller and The Times and Telegraph crime novel of the month. His work has been translated into 26 languages. He lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and two children.

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