Third Writers on Writers Festival

Linen Hall Library celebrates a century of women writers in memory of Christina Reid with this year's series of talks, workshops and performances

Belfast's Linen Hall Library has dedicated its third annual Writers on Writers Festival to the late Christina Reid, prominent playwright and former Governor of the Linen Hall, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 73 in 2015.

Born in the city's Ardoyne area in 1942, Reid brought to theatre a series of passionate, poignant and thought provoking works, providing a rare working class, female and Protestant perspective on her society. Her contribution to the stage drew popular and critical acclaim throughout the 1980s, cemented with accolades including the 1983 Thames Television Playwriting Award.

Running from Monday, May 9 to Friday, May 13, this year's festival will honour women writers from Northern Ireland past and present with lectures, discussion, workshops, and performances focusing on the 'yin' of NI literature.

Gerard McCabe and Bronagh Waugh's Pintsized Productions will launch the four-day series of events with dramatic readings of The Belle of Belfast City and Tea in a China Cup, two of Reid's most renowned works. Then on Tuesday (May 10), audiences are invited to explore the history of the Linen Hall’s Theatre Archive with former curator Ophelia Byrne.

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Tea In a China Cup, 1983

Later, theatre-maker Jo Egan leads a workshop focusing on the lives and works of four women playwrights from the past 100 years in Northern Ireland, while Handful Productions and new writing collective The Literary Ladies turn the spotlight to women writers with a performance and discussion to round out the day.

Paula Matthews and Anne McMaster are empowering people to write in a joint workshop on Wednesday, before the focus shifts to Christina Reid that afternoon with short story writer, playwright and screenwriter Anne Devlin discussing her friend and fellow playwright.

Thursday sees multi-award winning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell, who recently launched her debut collection Multitudes, in conversation with BBC broadcaster Marie-Louise Muir. 

The final day features Belfast City Council’s Dr Naomi Doak considering the contribution of Ulster Protestant author Olga Fielden's Island Story (1933) to the province's pool of literature, before the festival culminates with a fun evening of extracts from new works performed by Macha Productions, along with playwrights Julie McCann and Tara Lynne O’Neill.

For more information about the Writers on Writers festival, event details and the Linen Hall Library in general, visit www.linenhall.com.