Aspects Irish Literary Festival

Opposites attract at Bangor's annual celebration of Irish literature. Click Play Audio for a preview podcast with arts marketing officer Mark Gordon

Recently named by The Times as 'one of the Top 30 Literature Festivals in the UK', the Aspects Irish Literature Festival returns to Bangor in September for the 17th year running.  

Through the years, the festival has sought to bring the most entertaining, challenging and thought-provoking authors into the intimate setting of Bangor's North Down Museum. 

From Jack Higgins to Seamus Heaney, authors from all over Ireland and beyond have staged readings and discussions designed to stimulate and entertain. 

North Down Borough council arts marketing officer Mark Gordon explains what makes Aspects a unique festival experience.

'In the main, what Aspects is about, compared to other festivals, is the idea that we focus exclusively on Irish work - fiction, prose, biography, poetry, music and art. 

Unlike the other big festivals we don't bring in overseas talent. We celebrate the great wealth of literary talent that Ireland has to offer.'

Highlights last year included author Martina Devlin discussing her first foray into historical fiction with Ship of Dreams. The 2008 programme sees the traditional paired with the modern, historical sitting next to political, and satire taking on high-brow. 

Authors reading at the festival include Ireland Professor of Poetry Michael Longley, political and social commentator Malachi O’Doherty, crime writer Brian McGilloway and emerging talents such as Christopher Marsh, whose satire A Year in the Province is fast becoming one of the most talked about books of 2008.

Music in 2008 will come from Bap Kennedy, fresh from supporting Mark Knopfler on a worldwide tour, together with one of Ireland’s most talented songwriters, Brendan Murphy from The 4 Of Us. 

Alongside readings, Aspects will be staging one of the most sought-after exhibitions of the last two years, Out Of The Darkness - 40 Years of Press Photography in Northern Ireland, from the Northern Ireland Press Photographers Association. (Click Play Video above for an online exhibition narrated by Alan Lewis.) 

This exhibition was seen by thousands of people when, as part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Arts Showcase, it travelled to Washington DC in 2007. 

Click here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to Aspects 2008!

Click here to download the Aspects Irish Literary Festival 2008 programme in full.

Click here for more festival information and to book tickets.