Literary lovers have the perfect reason to rejoice as the 8th annual Belfast Book Festival comes to town. From 6th – 16th June, the city will be buzzing with the written word as it plays host to a range of events. From international writers to home grown poets, musicians, workshops and lunch time events, not to mention a range of family themed events, there is something for all ages to enjoy.
This year’s Festival will also hold the first ever Belfast Lit Crawl for one night only on Saturday 16th June. I was lucky enough to recently get the opportunity to sample a mini selection of what will be on offer on the night, which is curated by author Jan Carson. After meeting up at House bar and restaurant (a sponsor of the festival and one of my favourite venues in the area), where we were welcomed by Keith Acheson, Director of the Belfast Book Festival, we set off on our tour following a large blue balloon along Botanic Avenue until we reached our first stop: the newly opened Tropical Ravine at Botanic Gardens. Although not the first spot to come to mind when you you think of literature, this was an exquisitely unique spot where we enjoyed a bite sized book reading from Sharon Dempsey and musical interlude from Lara Mulgrew.
From here, we headed to No Alibis book shop to visit the Book Doctors. If you are in need of some fantastic book recommendations, the Book Doctors can prescribe something to suit your literary needs. During our appointment we heard recommendations of Belfast books that aren’t about the Troubles (Lucy Caldwell’s Multitudes), must read biographies (Helen Lewis’ A Time to Speak), and musical recommendations that are worth checking out (Stuart Bailie’s Trouble Songs).
Our taster session finished with a Literary Cocktail back at House, which unfortunately I had to skip even though they looked amazing.
If you are lover of of fiction, and non fiction, and all things in between, Lit Crawl is for you. The night is divided into three sessions, each lasting 45 minutes, to make a fast-paced evening of pop-up events and quirky literary happenings in unusual venues across the area. Perhaps you too want to take a dander to No Alibis and visit the Book Doctors, or pick up an MP3 player at Botanic Gardens (bring your own headphones) and take a poetry jukebox tour? Or sit back and relax in the festival marquee at Lower Crescent Park and have a bite to eat and then head over to Friar’s Bush to visit Belfast’s Books of the Dead. There’s lots to choose from and it’s all FREE.
To find our more about the Belfast Book Festival, which also features Alastair Campbell at Windsor Park; Francesca Martinez at The Crescent; and Steve Parrish at Malone Lodge Hotel; family events such as a Roald Dahl Fun Day at Lower Crescent Park and The Kite Runner at the Grand Opera House; and Poetry NI’s The Belfast Book Festival Poetry Slam!, as well as for more detail on the inaugural Lit Crawl, visit: www.belfastbookfestival.com