The third NI Writers Day will take place on Monday 26th September 2022 and shine a spotlight on the art of writing for stage and screen, providing a platform for discussion, sharing industry insights and celebrating the work of local writers.
Headed up by esteemed playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, recently announced a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the event will unfold in two sessions.
The first, an intimate lunchtime writing workshop with Bonnie for 12 playwrights wanting to hone their craft. Participants will have the chance to read one of Bonnie Greer’s latest scripts and hear about her life in theatre, having studied with David Mamet and Elaine Kazan, taught playwriting to students and formerly incarcerated women, and seen her plays performed to great acclaim around the world.
The evening event will feature a panel discussion in the Lyric’s Naughton Studio and is open to the public.
Chaired by Bonnie Greer, it will celebrate Northern Ireland-born playwrights, who have gained local and international acclaim for their work. The line-up will include writer and theatre director Fionnuala Kennedy whose play, Removed, produced by Prime Cut Productions, in partnership with Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC), won the 2020 Zebbie award for Best Play and is set to tour internationally in 2023. Director and performer Stacy Gregg, will also share their experiences of the industry, having written extensively for television and worked with global broadcasting platforms. Most recently they directed a block of The Baby (Sky/HBO) and wrote and directed the feature film Here Before, which premiered at South by Southwest.
This event marks the third Arts Council and RSL NI Writers Day collaboration and the first in the series to take place live.
Director of the RSL, Molly Rosenberg, explained:
“The RSL is really happy to be working with the Arts Council in collaboration on the third instalment of Northern Ireland Writers Day. This year our day celebrates the work of writers beyond the page, across screen, theatre and performance. We hope that the workshop and evening discussion this year will inspire even more connection between writers across forms and across Northern Ireland. This day is open to everyone, including those who have attended before, and, we hope, even more people will join us this time around, as we explore the literary potential of words beyond the page.”
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council, said:
“Once again the Arts Council is working in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature to help raise the profile of writers from NI and highlight the range of skills writers bring to the contemporary scene. It’s a particular joy to welcome Bonnie Greer, whose wisdom as a writer and thinker has influenced so many. A great event awaits.”
Tickets for Bonnie Greer’s lunchtime writing workshop are free but numbers are strictly limited. To apply please send a short paragraph about yourself and a two page writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm on Thursday 15 September. The sample should be a script or a piece of writing relating to performance. You will be contacted the following week as to whether you have a place held in the workshop.
Tickets to the evening event, NI Writers Day 3, can be booked via the Lyric Theatre box office from 1pm on Wednesday 9th August and are priced at £5. Contact the Lyric box office to book your seat on 02890 381 081 or go to: https://lyrictheatre.co.uk/whats-on/royal-society-of-literature-panel-discussion-with-bonnie-greer.
Bonnie Greer OBE was born in Chicago Illinois and grew up on the Southside. She studied playwriting with David Mamet and with Elia Kazan. She has had several plays produced and was awarded The Verity Bargate Award. Bonnie also taught Shakespeare as a literacy tool. Her novels include Hanging by Her Teeth (1996) and Entropy (2006) as well as a biography of Langston Hughes. She was Deputy Chair of the British Museum and awarded the OBE in 2010. Bonnie was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.
Fionnuala Kennedy is a writer from Belfast. Her play Removed, produced by Prime Cut Productions, in partnership with Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC), won the 2020 Zebbie award for Best Play and will be touring internationally in 2023. Most recently, she has written Thaw for Replay Theatre Company, and Hunt, for the National Theatre’s Connections Programme 21/22. She is currently under commission for NI Opera writing a libretto for young people on housing rights. Fionnuala is one of the writers of BBC Drama Room 21/22.
Stacey Gregg is a writer, director and performer for stage and screen. Most recently they directed a block of The Baby (Sky/HBO), wrote and directed feature film Here Before which premiered at SXSW; co-directed Inside Bitch for the Royal Court Theatre and Clean Break working with women in the criminal justice system, and wrote and performed Hatchet Jinny at Outburst Queer Arts Festival. Gregg has written extensively for television and her plays are published by Nick Hern Books and Bloomsbury. Her work has toured internationally.
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Appointed to the Royal Society of Literature as a Fellow in 2018, her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, was published in 2015, for which she was a recipient of a 2016 Betty Trask Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, was published in 2016. It was shortlisted for the 2016 inaugural Jhalak Prize and the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A collection of short stories, Nudibranch, was published in 2019. It was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2021 she was awarded an MBE For Services To Literature. A novel, Curandera, is forthcoming in 2022.
Paul McVeigh co-founded Scarecrow Theatre Company, in Belfast, in the 1980s. The company won an Edinburgh Fringe First and represented Northern Ireland at the International Theatre Festival in Gdansk. He also co-founded the all-island Armada Theatre Festival which took place in Belfast, Derry and Dublin, simultaneously. Moving to London, he wrote and directed shows which toured to the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s West End. Paul’s work has appeared in venues such as the Barbican, Cochrane, Hampstead and Tricycle Theatres.
Paul's debut novel, The Good Son, won The Polari First Novel Prize, The McCrea Literary Award and was shortlisted for many others including the Prix de roman Cezam. His short stories have appeared on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5, and Sky Arts. His writing has been translated into seven languages. His new play 'Big Man' will be on at Lyric Theatre as part of the 2022 Belfast Interntional Arts Festival.