Hillsborough Festival of Literature and Ideas

New festival organised by the John Hewitt Society featuring more than 30 cultural events with artists including Donal Ryan and Kerry Hudson

Festival Details


Friday, 27 April 2018 to Sunday, 29 April 2018

A new three-day book festival is taking place in Hillsborough, which promises to provide visitors and residents with a new perspective on the picturesque Georgian village.

The Hillsborough Festival of Literature & Ideas will take place on the weekend of April 27-29, providing an attractive culture and arts event in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area.

Founded by The John Hewitt Society, the festival team have worked with local groups to ensure that community involvement is at the centre of this event, with participation and support from the Village Centre, Historic Royal Palaces, churches, bars and local retailers.

The literature festival offers more than 30 events taking place throughout the village, with a diverse line-up encompassing poetry, prose, music, film and talks.

Participating artists coming to the village for the first time includes: one of Ireland's most prolific and accomplished prose writers, Donal Ryan; Scottish First Book Award-winner Kerry Hudson; Seamus Heaney Centre Fellow Doireann Ní Ghríofa and NI Music Prize-winner Joshua Burnside.

Jan Carson, novelist and curator of this year’s festival, said: 'It was such a challenge to programme events and activities which reflected the village's heritage, diversity and stunning surroundings.

'We felt it important to include the entire community in this, the first year, of what we hope to be an annual event. There’s a wide range of talks, readings, workshops and other activities included in our programme, each event hosted by one of the village's iconic buildings.'

The festival also offers a number of events for children and families, including The Great Hillsborough Book Hunt, writing and craft workshops, and Writers in Schools visits in association with Poetry Ireland.

The festival is supported by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and is delivered by the team behind the John Hewitt International Summer School, a six-day festival of culture and creativity, taking place July 23-28 2018 in Armagh.  

Tony Kennedy, chair of The John Hewitt Society, said: 'We are delighted to work with the people of Hillsborough and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council in bringing an exciting new festival to the area. We are looking forward to this inaugural event being the beginning of an annual celebration of literature and ideas.'

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: 'Visitors to the first Hillsborough Festival of Literature and Ideas have much to look forward to this Spring. We wish The John Hewitt Society and all those involved the very best of luck with this year’s programme and look forward to what promises to be a tremendous new arts and cultural event.'

More information on the festival programme is available at www.johnhewittsociety.org.