Programme launched for 2019 Aspects Irish Literature Festival

The long-running highlight of the arts calendar returns to Bangor next month celebrating the written word in over 40 events for families and literature lovers

Patricia Hamilton, Festival Director; poet Ross Thompson and artist Helen Hanse

Ards and North Down Borough Council has launched this year's Aspects Irish Literature Festival programme. The 2019 festival will run with children’s events on Friday 20 and Saturday September 21, then the main Aspects programme will commence on Thursday September 26 with the wonderful Michael Longley at Bangor Castle as he celebrates his 80th year. 

As Northern Ireland’s longest running literature festival, now in its 28th year, Aspects is renowned for bringing stars of the literary world to Bangor and is much-loved and highly regarded by authors and readers alike.

This year’s programme features over 40 events celebrating historical writing, poetry, crime fiction, writing workshops, children’s events, politics, memoir, journalism, scriptwriting, short stories and exhibitions. Back by popular demand are some old friends of Aspects; Fergal Keane, Polly Devlin and Malachi O’Doherty. The line-up also showcases local talent with Moyra Donaldson, Ian Sansom, Colin Bateman and Ross Thompson.

The doyenne of Irish cookery, Darina Allen will be launching her new book at Clandeboye on 5 October at a weekend of food-themed events in the beautiful estate courtyard. ‘Food for Thought’ will feature Lightning Talks on research and writing about food and drink from the Clandeboye Reading Party – a partnership project between the Festival, Queens University, Trinity College Dublin and Clandeboye Estate. The weekend programme includes a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with Lady Dufferin, a talk from florist to royalty Shane Connolly and Women Aloud NI will share its thoughts on food with culinary inspired poetry.

Young readers won’t be disappointed either with a full programme of creative events designed to inspire imaginations. From Sensory Story experiences, Comic Book Creation, Bedtime Stories, Book Inspired yoga and Tablets and Text. The Festival is delighted to welcome award-winning illustrator Barry Falls who will host a special illustration workshop for 7 – 12 year olds in Bangor’s Carnegie Library where he will also be holding his ‘This World Is Magic’ exhibition.

Speaking about the programme The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery said: 'The Aspects Irish Literature Festival is a wonderful event for all the family. It provides everyone with an opportunity to learn and be inspired by some of our borough’s very own literary greats. Ards and North Down Borough Council is delighted to host the Festival and I hope that everyone enjoys what will be another inspirational programme that might even inspire some authors of the future.'

Also commenting, Aspects Festival Director Patricia Hamilton said: 'Aspects is about a broad range of writing. You don’t have to be the most avid reader to enjoy the programme. With interviews, food events and readings, you can come along, sit back and be entertained or if you want to get involved, there is plenty on offer too. Learn more through one of the workshops or get involved in the Q and A’s where you will see things from a writer’s perspective.’

Aspects takes place from September 20 to October 6. More information and tickets available to book now are at