Over 150 female writers based in Northern Ireland are set to join the worldwide celebration of International Women's Day on March 8 with a series of free literary events taking place around the country.
Aimed to inspire women everywhere to write, read and champion local work, events will include readings, bookshop appearances and an exciting recital en route to a special collaboration in Dublin.
Kicking off in Lurgan on March 7, the events have been organised by Women Aloud NI, a project started only last year which has grown into a diverse community with hundreds of authors, poets and storytellers creating a new platform to help raise the profile of female writers in the north.
The celebration continues throughout International Women's Day, when libraries and other venues across Northern Ireland host a feast of local literature, before 50 writers travel to the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin on March 11 to join a day-long readathon, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
To compliment this, passengers on board the Translink Enterprise train from Belfast will be treated to a unique literary recital from those making their way to the Irish capital.
Jane Talbot, founder and project manager of Women Aloud NI said: 'Building on the success of Women Aloud NI 2016, we’ll be running another ambitious series of literary events to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Since last year, our community of 130 women writers has grown to an incredible 250. We’re still as diverse and as inclusive as ever, and it’s been wonderful for us to be able to network with each other and support each other over the last 12 months.'
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council, with writers, Joanne Zebedee, Anne McMaster and Felicity McCall
'We’re equally delighted to be teaming up with the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin. While this is a fantastic opportunity for us to raise the profile of the writing scene for women in Northern Ireland, this collaboration is about meeting our fellow writers based in the Republic of Ireland and cementing relationships across genres and across borders.'
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature, Arts Council, added: 'We are delighted to support the Centre in offering women writers an important platform for their work to be heard, to network and to build relationships across genres and across the island. Women Aloud has brought a new energy to showcasing women’s written creativity and, since Northern Ireland has produced more than its quota of distinguished women writers, this day of joint celebration in Dublin promises to be quite an experience for all participants.'
Women Aloud NI events are free and open to everyone. They will take place at the following locations and dates:
Randalstown Library, 11.30 – 12.30, March 8. Libraries NI Storyteller-in-Residence, Liz Weir, will host a session featuring local women writers. Come along and listen to a selection of poetry, prose and oral storytelling! Readers and storytellers include: Liz Weir, Mary Waldron, Helen Hastings and more.
City Centre mystery event, 10.30-11.45, March 8. Writers involved include: Jane Talbot, Belinda Bennetts, R.B. Kelly, Paula Matthews, Kerry Buchanan, Jo Zebedee, Bernie McGill, Eibhlinn McAleer, Alex Catherwood, Louise Kennedy, Gaynor Kane, Martelle McPartland, Sheena Wilkinson, Angeline King, Aine MacAodha, Ev McLoughlin, Clodagh Brennan Harvey, Clare McWilliams, Anne McMaster, Annemarie Mullan, Pauline Burgess, Catherine Tinley, Anne Doughty, Vicky McFarland, Jenny Methven.
Easons, Donegall Place, 17:00 – 19:00, March 8. Come along and listen to local writers read their work!
Banbridge Library, 13.30 – 14.30, March 8. Come along and listen to local writers read their work! Readers include: J.S. Comiskey, Doreen McBride and more.
Bangor Library, 14.30-16:00, March 8. Libraries NI Storyteller-in-Residence Liz Weir will host a session featuring local women writers. Come along and listen to a selection of poetry, prose and oral storytelling! Readers and storytellers include: Liz Weir, Stephanie Conn, Moyra Donaldson, Kelly Creighton, Lesley Allen, Jane Coyle and Rebecca Reid.
Killyleagh Library, 18.30-19:30, March 8. Libraries NI Storyteller-in-Residence Liz Weir will host a session featuring local women writers. Come along and listen to a selection of poetry, prose and oral storytelling! Readers and storytellers include: Anne Harris, Helen Hastings, Anita Lamb, Liz Weir and more.
Blakes of the Hollow, 19.30-late, March 8. Women from Fermanagh Writers will be reading their work. Local writers, who are not members of Fermanagh Writers, will be participating in the event too. Come along and take part or join the audience!
Aras Cholmcille, 7pm-10pm, March 8. Hosted by the Literary Ladies on behalf of Women Aloud NI, this event will be held in the historic surroundings of Áras Cholmcille, the heritage centre celebrating the city’s patron saint and founder. Some twenty women writers will gather in the atmospheric surroundings of the Long Tower Church and school to share and celebrate their work. Readers include Yvonne Boyle, Helen Clarke, Jenny Methven, Maura Johnston, Claire Savage, Lunatari Stargazer, Eimear O’Callaghan, Mel Bradley, Freya McClements, Felicity McCall, Lynne Edgar, Julieann Campbell, Jane Talbot, Claire Allan, Anne McMaster, Hilary McCollum and Kerri Swan.
Keady Clachan [hillside ceili house and community hub], 7.30pm onwards, March 8. An intimate evening of song and verse!
Cookstown Library, 15.00-16.00, March 8. Come along and listen to local writers read their work including Joan Newmann, Kate Newmann, Sive Haughey, Roisin McAuley, Margaret McGarvey, Carol Doey and Maura Johnston.
Toner’s Bar, Lower Baggot Street, 7.45pm, March 8. Come along and listen to women writers from the Northern Ireland read their work. Featuring: Featuring: Maria McManus, Deirdre Cartmill, Nandi Jola, Bernie McGill, Sheila Llewellyn and Annemarie Neary.
Belfast to Dublin: 8:30am-9:45am, 11 March, Women Aloud NI in-train literary recital aboard the Translink Enterprise from Belfast to Dublin.
Causeway Coast and Glens Waterstones Poetry Competition
Submissions open until 20 February. As part of the run up to Women Aloud NI 2017, Waterstones Coleraine will display a selection of framed poems by women writers within the borough. If you’re interested in submitting one piece of work [no longer than 30 lines] for possible inclusion, please email your poem to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm on Monday February 20.
For further details on all the Women Aloud NI events and to find out how to take part visit www.womenaloudni.com/women-aloud-ni-2017/.