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Novel plan to get Belfast reading one book

By Anna Maguire

Published 01/05/2012

Book worms: Author Glenn Patterson with the Arts Council's Noirin McKinney
Book worms: Author Glenn Patterson with the Arts Council's Noirin McKinney

Writer Glenn Patterson has been selected to spearhead Northern Ireland’s first ‘One City One Book’ initiative.

The east Belfast author’s ‘The Mill For Grinding Old People Young’ will be the first focus of the Arts Council initiative, designed to promote Northern Ireland’s rich literary heritage.

Next month will see a programme of events across the city in a bid to encourage as many people as possible to read the same novel at the same time.

Fashion expert Cathy Martin and Belfast Telegraph contributors Malachi O’Doherty and Ivan Little will host a series of talks, tours and film screenings.

The Mill For Grinding Old People Young has received widespread critical acclaim.

Established in Seattle in 1998, One City One Book is a first for Northern Ireland.

Glenn said: “For one of my books to be recognised in this way is a tremendous honour.

“I have always considered myself first and foremost a Belfast writer. The city is my imaginative heartland.”

Noirin McKinney, director of Arts Development at the Arts Council, said: “In a world of 24-hour news and entertainment, it’s all too easy to forget the simple pleasure derived from reading.

“Glenn’s novel was the ideal choice for the first One City One Book Belfast — it’s a compelling story set in (Belfast) during a time of great industrial change.”

One City One Book Belfast 2012 has been developed by the Arts Council and supported by Belfast City Council, Libraries NI, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Queen’s University.

For details of events, talks, and tours taking place as part of the 2012 programme visit: or join in the conversation at or @ArtsCouncilNI.


Novelist Glenn Patterson also makes documentaries for the BBC and has published his collected journalistic writings as Lapsed Protestant (2006). His recurring theme is the reassessment of the past.

His novels include Burning Your Own, Fat Lad, Black Night At Big Thunder Mountain, The Third Party and The Mill For Grinding Old People Young.

Belfast Telegraph

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