Aspects Festival in Bangor celebrates literature all through September

The County Down town gears up for another month of events, with fine art, drama, professional workshops and even yoga themed around the written word

(L-R) Writer Jane Coyle with Patricia Hamilton, Arts Officer at Ards and North Down Borough Council, and children's author Myra Zepf

Aspects Festival, Northern Ireland’s longest running literature festival returns to Bangor this September. Taking place from September 1 - 30, the Festival celebrates writing in its broadest form, from poetry to prose, theatre to crime, journalism to well-being, drama and the visual arts.

The programme commences on Saturday, September 1 at Clandeboye Estate when Lady Dufferin will give a talk reflecting on the environment and how the landscape of the estate has influenced her as a painter. The talk will begin a weekend of events led by the Clandeboye Reading Party featuring special guest, Sir Bob Salisbury, focusing on topics around bio diversity and the environment.

On Thursday, September 6, at Bangor Carnegie Library, a very special book and exhibition launch will take place. Produced especially for the Festival, Blood Horses is a collaboration between poet Moyra Donaldson and artist Paddy Lennon. Through words and images, poet and painter have together created a moving dialogue between poem and painting telling the stories of three famous stallions.


New to the programme this year is the Professional Development for Writers Weekend which will be held in North Down Museum on September 8 and 9. Aimed at new and developing writers, the course is dedicated to the craft and process of writing, connecting with audiences and effective paths to publishing.

Aspects will also welcome author of seven best-selling novels, Maggie O'Farrell, to dicsuss her latest work I Am, I Am, I Am at The Chamber, Bangor Castle on September 20.

The positive influence of words on the body and mind will be the focus for a weekend of well-being events at the Festival Yurt in Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden. From mindfulness, yoga and the power of poetry and journaling, the programme will appeal to anyone interested in calming a busy mind and learning relaxation techniques. The highlight of the weekend is sure to be the Pop-Up Supper Club on Sunday, September 16 – an evening for the senses, sharing ‘good mood food’ in a unique space.

Both Sides is an intriguing and atmospheric play by writer and dramatist Jane Coyle. Featuring actresses Hannah Coyle and Libby Smith and inspired by the works of Samuel Beckett, this stunning drama will be performed at North Down Museum on Wednesday, September 19.

Libby Smyth & Hannah Coyle in Both Sides by Jane Coyle

Libby Smyth and Hannah Coyle in Both Sides by Jane Coyle

Young readers are in for a treat this year with a full weekend of Young Aspects events. From comic strip creation, sensory story experiences, autism-friendly story-telling and lots more, the programme will appeal to children of all ages. The Festival is delighted to once again welcome Myra Zepf, Children’s Writing Fellow for NI who will hold workshops in North Down Museum on Sunday, 30 September.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Richard Smart said, 'With its eclectic mix of poetry and prose Aspects Festival highlights the wealth of literary talent in the borough and we are delighted to celebrate this alongside authors from further afield. Ards and North Down Borough Council is proud to host such a long-running event. We hope that everyone enjoys this year’s inspirational programme.'


The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Richard Smart and Myles McCandless at the launch of the 2018 Aspects Festival programme at Clandeboye Estate

Aspects Festival runs from September 1 - 30 at various locations around Bangor. Browse the full programme below, and for booking information go to Tickets are now on sale.