New Book Celebrates the Best of Ulster Writing

Blackstaff Press produce The Ulster Anthology

ListenListen to Patricia Craig give a short introduction to Belfast's literary history, tell us about the good and the bad in Belfast thrillers, and reveal why foreign writers seem to hate Belfast.

Here from more writers on the Celebrate Literary Belfast multimedia page.



Ulster always has been one of the salty, stinging, unexpected elements in the life and flavour of this planet.
Hugh Shearman

Breathtaking in scope, rich in insight, and full of unexpected surprises and delights, The Ulster Anthology charts the literature, history, politics and culture of a complex and contrary province.

Both troubled and troublesome, Ulster is famous for many things, not least the abundance, wealth and diversity of its literature. Containing over one thousand extracts and spanning more than three centuries, The Ulster Anthology assembles the voices of over three hundred poets, scholars, historians, commentators, musicians and writers, to present an astonishingly rich and subtle picture of the people and life of the region.

Ulster AnthologyWriters featured in the anthology include Seamus Heaney, John Hewitt, Medbh McGuckian, Michael Longley, Jennifer Johnston, Glenn Patterson, Gerry Adams, Marianne Elliot, Polly Devlin, E Estyn Evans and Nick Laird.

Compiled and edited by acclaimed critic and writer Patricia Craig, it is a fitting culmination to the Blackstaff series of local anthologies on Belfast and Derry.

Craig commented, ‘My aim in producing this anthology was to provide a distillation of the great wealth of writing about Ulster. While I was compiling it I made many wonderful and unexpected discoveries – as I hope readers of the anthology will do as well.’

Blackstaff Press’ Managing Editor Patsy Horton commented,‘The Ulster Anthology is a tour de force – rich and varied, quirky and surprising, it is the definitive anthology of Ulster writing since 1700.’

Roisin McDonough,Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, stated: ‘The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support both Patricia Craig and Blackstaff Press in producing this beautiful and truly landmark publication.

'Already a classic miscellany, The Ulster Anthology is an indispensable one-stop-shop for the most illuminating creative, cultural and critical writing produced in and about the ancient nine counties. It is a wonderful combination of the talents of one of our major individual artists and our most prestigious literary press.’

Editor Patricia Craig is from Belfast. She moved to London in the 1960s but always retained strong links with her native city, returning to live in Northern Ireland in 1999. A leading literary critic and anthologist, she regularly contributes to the Independent, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Irish Times and New Statesman, and has appeared on various television and radio programmes.

In 1999 she edited The Belfast Anthology (Blackstaff Press). Her other books include The Oxford Books of Detective Stories, Modern Women's Stories, Travel Stories and Ireland, The Penguin Book of British Comic Stories, The Rattle of the North, and Brian Moore: A Biography. Her memoir is due to be published by Blackstaff Press in autumn 2007.