From September 26 - 30, the literati return to north Down for the 21st Aspects Irish Literature Festival, which for the first time will incorporate the historic Bangor Abbey's new Parish Hall complex as a venue.
Aspects is preparing to bring to Bangor a series of old friends and new faces, supplying the eclectic mix of poetry and prose for which the festival has become renowned. A series of special events will be taking place in Bangor Abbey itself.
This includes the opening evening in conversation with veteran broadcaster James Naughtie and a debate to mark the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant with historians Lord Paul Bew and Dr John Bew.
Colin Reid’s musical arrangement of The Third Policeman, narrated by acclaimed actor Stephen Rea, will also take on a particularly haunting ambiance in the atmospheric venue.
Closing the 2012 festival, actor Dan Gordon will be presenting an evening of extracts from the scripts, stories and songs he has been involved with throughout his long career.
Authors Glenn Patterson and Conor Brady will discuss their recent historical fiction works and the attractions of taking ‘a step back in time’, while the festival will also celebrate the republication of writing from the past with the launch of the centenary edition of Padraic Gregory’s Collected Works.
David Park and veteran poet Gerald Dawe will be reading from their new works and considering how writing about home from elsewhere puts a new perspective on Belfast City. Bernard MacLaverty, this year's Aspects author-in-residence, will be reflecting on his life and career as well as visiting local schools as part of the Young Aspects programme.
Aspects will pay its own tribute to two of 2012’s big themes – the Diamond Jubilee and sport – by welcoming Sarah Bradford, the historian and royal biographer, and the Guardian’s chief football writer, Kevin McCarra.
A new addition to the festival programme is the lunchtime session, 'My Reading Life', hosted by Fionola Meredith, which will welcome public personalities to talk about their reading habits and the books that mean most to them.
Regular events also return, such as Colin Bateman’s 'Crime Night', masterclasses with Leontia Flynn and Tim Loane, comedy from Owen O’Neill, Kenneth Irvine’s 'Literary walk', and readings of new work by emerging Northern Irish authors at the Ava Vin Café.
Tickets for the 2012 Aspects Irish Literature Festival are available from the North Down Council website, from the festival Box Office at North Down Museum (028 9127 1200) and from Bangor Tourist Information Office (028 9127 0069).