The first Belfast Book Festival (February 24 - March 1 2009) has announced its programme, which will include over 30 events at venues across the city, including the Linen Hall and Central libraries, and will be opened by Booker Prize winner John Banville.
The festival will feature readings, talks, open mics, discussions, films, and workshops on a variety of topics and themes about creative writing.
Belfast Book Festival director David Lewis said: 'The Belfast Book Festival is for everyone who reads and enjoys books, and we are delighted with the roll call of writers and artists who are set to feature in this, our inaugural year.
'We want to destroy any stuffy stereotypes. That's why Hot Press writer Peter Murphy, former NME editor Stuart Bailie and Ulster music legend Terri Hooley will be reading rock writing at the Oh Yeah Centre. And any budding poets out there will be given a rare opportunity to attend a masterclass with Claire KilroyCiaran Carson, director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.'
Other unusual events include bilingual workshops for children in Irish and Ulster Scots with writer and illustrator Stephen Hall, a debate on historical fiction, a Dead Poets' Society with recordings of writers from beyond the grave and a tour of Bairds printers in Antrim.
Libraries and arts organisations across Northern Ireland, including the Linen Hall Library, CultureNorthernIreland.org, the Verbal Arts Centre and the Belfast Education and Library Board, have joined forces to create the new festival.
'By working together we can have a major impact next year and in the years to come,' Lewis added. 'The Belfast Book Festival will reflect Belfast's growing international reputation in the field of literature and our exuberant contemporary writing scene.'