Belfast Telegraph

Talks & Ideas @ #BIAF19

by Belfast International Arts Festival

Be part of Belfast's biggest theatre and arts festival this year and join them in their series of talks and ideas edit, for more details see below;


Michael Rosen, Sat 2 Nov, Ulster Museum,

Renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter, Rosen is one of the best- known figures in children’s books.  This event, suitable for all ages, is an enthusiastic celebration of libraries and why we must fight to save them.

Brexit Without the Bullsh*t with Gavin Esler, Wed 30 Oct, Ulster University, York St,

Brexit Without the Bullsh*t is not about the Brexit you were told you were getting; it’s about the one that is arriving.  From fishing to passports, the backstop and the border, on the eve of Brexit BBC TV veteran Gavin Esler presents a no-holds-barred guide to the most momentous change in the UK for decades. 

Lowborn with Kerry Hudson, Sun 3 Nov, No Alibis Bookshop,

A powerful, personal agenda-changing exploration of poverty in today’s Britain. Claimed to be "one of the most important books of the year,” by The Guardian, Lowborn is an exploration of the towns Hudson grew up in to try to discover what being poor really means in Britain today and whether anything has changed.


Lanny with Max Porter, Tues 22 Oct, Black Box,

An innovative hybrid of fairy tale, fable, and myth, Lanny is Max Porter’s hugely anticipated second novel and was recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2019.


Mary Costello & Linda Grant, Thurs 17 Oct, No Alibis Bookshop,

Two critically acclaimed novelists tackle the search for the meaning of home. Their writing takes us on a journey through Dublin, West Cork and London in this evening of award-winning writing. 

This Brutal House with Niven Govinden, Fri 18 Oct, No Alibis Bookshop,

Drag ball culture, for years an LGBTQ+ subculture, has come into the mainstream eye through TV shows and drag clubs. Govinden illuminates themes of race, gender, and sexual orientation within society through the lens of the vogue ball community.

Exquisite Cadavers with Meena Kandasamy, Mon 28 Oct, No Alibis Bookshop,

Meena Kandasamy combines her love for the written word with the struggle for social justice through poetry, translation, fiction and essays.  Exquisite Cadavers, is an extraordinary formally-inventive, beautiful at sentence-level novella written in response to the reaction of When I Hit You, with Meena deciding to write a novel “based on a story as removed from my own as possible…”


Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future with Beth Gardiner, Mon 21 Oct, The MAC,

Choked is the landmark book on one of the world’s most urgent health threats — the dirty air that kills more people than AIDS, diabetes and car accidents combined.  Beth will share the stories of those whose lives are shaped by air pollution — whether they know it or not.

Climate, Rights and Human Survival with Kumi Naidoo, Thurs 31 Oct, Exhibition Centre, Europa Hotel,

Prepare to be roused and inspired to take action as this lecture addresses the human rights and climate crises facing the modern world.  Naidoo is a life-long justice and environmental campaigner from South Africa, formerly the head of Greenpeace, now Secretary General of Amnesty International.


The Big Wee Ireland Tour, Thurs 17 Oct, American Bar,

Verbal fireworks and lyrical shenanigans from Northern Ireland and Scotland.  Renowned Scottish poets Magi Gibson and Hugh McMillan join a host of home-grown poets. Shankill Road-born Neil Young marks his homecoming and joins the revered Joan Newmann, alongside the dynamic voices of Seanín Hughes and Abby Olivera.  

The Octavia Poetry Collective, Wed 23 Oct, Ulster Sports Club,

Octavia is a poetry collective for women of colour, founded by poet, Rachel Long in response to the lack of inclusivity and representation in poetry and academia. The evening will explore themes of representation, cultural identity, and equality.

John Hewitt Birthday Readings, Wed 30 Oct, John Hewitt Bar,

John Hewitt Society Birthday Readings welcomes Damian Smyth, Maureen Boyle and Moyra Donaldson for an evening of poetry in honour of the great Belfast-born poet. 

Songs for Myself - Poetry Jukebox, Wed 16 Oct - Sun 3 Nov, CS Lewis Square,

International poet Alice McCullough curates a new edition of first class contemporary poetry for this permanent installation of poems, drawn from a world-wide call for submissions, which will be available 24/7 throughout the Festival and beyond!


Not Working - Why We Have To Stop with Josh Cohen, Sun 27 Oct, Black Box,

Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen explores the paradoxical pleasures, as well as human necessity of inactivity. Not Working asks how we might live a different and more fulfilled existence.

The Big World Podcast | A Conversation with Owen McCafferty, Wed 30 Oct, Crescent Arts Centre,

The Big World Podcast by Hugh Odling-Smee is dedicated to delivering in-depth conversations with interesting artists from around the world.


Cultural Walking Tours of Belfast, Various dates throughout the Festival, Starting from St Anne's Cathedral & Belfast City Hall,

Focusing on the Cathedral Quarter, Street Statues and Quirky spots in the city, this is the best way to explore the city, and with highly knowledgeable guides leading the way, you’ll experience a whole other side to Belfast.  Whether you are a resident of Northern Ireland who wants to know more or are visiting the city for the first time these tours are a must!


Emilie Pine & John Kelly, Sat 26 Oct, Linen Hall Library,

Two well-known Irish writers, both offering intensely poignant and probing personal reflections on love, pain and loss, with wit and intelligence instilled throughout. 

Winter Papers Vol 5 with Kevin Barry & Olivia Smith, Fri 1 Nov, Sunflower Bar

This evening celebrates the launch of Winter Papers Vol 5, an annual anthology for the arts in Ireland and beyond, featuring readings from contributors including editors Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith.  

Visit for full details and booking links or book in person at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, Donegal Square North, Belfast or by telephone: 028 9024 6609.

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