Programme

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Programme Cover Link
School workshops in Illustration and Creative Writing
Evening events in Laurel Villa
Stanzas and Scones with guest poets
Exhibition by Colin Davidson
Laureate na nÓg visit Eoin Colfer
Discussions and poetry readings
Reading Rooms
Illustration and Creative Writing workshops open to the public
Music performance by Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol
Closing event Liam O'Flynn and guests








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Thursday 11th September

Readings

Poetry Trail - From Boortree To Anemone

In July this year, the poet and keen plantswoman Jean Bleakney was introduced to the owner of Maghera's Mid Ulster Garden Centre, Jim Bradley. A creative friendship was forged as the idea of the poetry themed Heaney garden took seed.

Emails were exchanged discussing plants like Rosa Old Blush China and Artemisa Arbrotanum and Jean swopping poetry. One email saw Jim sign off "Thank you for the link. I am now both horticulturally and poetically uplifted for the day!"

Plants have provided inspiration, balm and metaphor throughout history. Strollers in the garden of Laurel Villa will find a trail of poems placed alongside plants to which they are linked by name or association; poems by Seamus Heaney and the poets who inspired him. This installation uses Laurel Villa's leafy backdrop and specific existing plants and supplied by Mid Ulster Garden Centre.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: Daily from 10am


FREE event

Admission free

Thursday 11th September

In conversation, Readings

Colin Davidson in Conversation with Glenn Patterson

Colin Davidson is in conversation with the writer Glenn Patterson who also has recently sat for Colin, and brings his own insight into being a Davidson subject


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 7 pm


Paid event

Admission £10.00

Thursday 11th September

In conversation, Readings

Peter Fallon In Conversation with Heaney commentator Professor Bernard O' Donoghue

The Gallery Press publisher and poet Peter Fallon talks to leading Heaney critic, poet & Oxford academic, Prof. Bernard O'Donoghue about his long & unique relationship with Seamus Heaney. From being one of the Seamus' first readers to Seamus being best man at Peter's wedding, it is a story of two friends who, in Peter's words, "rode shotgun for each other".

Expect an intimate evening of words & wit in celebration of a singular and deep reaching friendship forged in poetry, people and place.

Peter will also be reading from "Strong, My Love", his first collection in seven years, a series of prayer like poems for family & old friends.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 8pm


Paid event

Admission £7.50

Friday 12th September

Readings

Stanzas and Scones - Poet Nathaniel J McAuley

If Shakespeare believed music was the food of love, we here at On Home Ground believe that scones should be the food of stanzas. It's a bit of poetic licence to invite you to stop by mid morning, pour a cuppa, butter one of Laurel Villa's homemade scones and enjoy some verse from new and established poets.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 11am


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Saturday 13th September

Readings

Stanzas and Scones - Poet & physicist Iggy McGovern

If Shakespeare believed that music was the food of love, we here at On Home Ground believe that scones should be the food of stanzas. It's a bit of poetic licence to invite you to stop by mid morning, pour a cuppa, butter on of Laurel Villa's homemade scones and enjoying some verse from new and established poets.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 11am


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

Stanzas and Scones - Poets Myra Vennard, Damian Smyth and singer/songwriter Ciara O'Neill.

If Shakespeare believed music was the food of love, we here at On Home Ground believe that scones should be the food of stanzas. It's a bit of poetic licence to invite you to stop by mid morning, pour a cuppa, butter one of Laurel Villa's homemade scones and enjoy some verse from new and established poets.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 11am


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Friday 12th September

Readings

My Heaney - Henry McDonald

Henry is Ireland Correspondant for The Guardian and The Observer. He has been a journalist for more than 25 years. Belfast-born, he is currently writing a novel about one pivotal day in Belfast in 1979. Henry fondly remembers interviewing Heaney on the day the poet laid the foundations of the new Lyric Theatre, about the Lisbon referendum, the EU's future and listening to the Nobel laureate's passionate defence of the democratic European ideal.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 4pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Saturday 13th September

Readings

My Heaney - Seamus McKee

A series of well known journalists, writers and musicians personally select their favourite Heaney poems and reveal how they shaped them.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 1pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Saturday 13th September

Readings

My Heaney - Wireless Mystery Theatre

Aislinn Clarke and Reggie Chamberlain - King are the team behind Wireless Mystery Theatre. Clarke is a writer, director and film maker. Chamberlain - King is a writer and performer. Wireless Mystery Theatre is Northern Ireland's only audio company, specialising in live stage radio plays, sound installations and broadcast material. They have toured the UK and the Republic of Ireland, selling out the Ulster Hall on two ocassions, produced a 4-star reviewed run in the Edinburgh Fringe and their work has been broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4, as well as in Canada, Germany and the United States.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 6pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

My Heaney - Having a Field Day - Travel writer Christopher Somerville on the lines of Heaney's landscape

A series of well known journalists, writers and musicians personally select their favourite Heaney poems and reveal how they shaped them.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 12noon


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

My Heaney - Liam Clarke

Liam is the political Editor of the Belfast Telegraph and former Ireland Correspondent and Northern Ireland editor for the Sunday Times. He is the author of Broadening the Battlefield: H Blocks and the rise of Sinn Fein and co-author (with his wife Kathryn Johnston) of an unauthorised biography of Martin McGuinness "From Guns to Government".

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 1pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

My Heaney - Brian Irvine

A series of well know journalists, writers and musicians personally select their favourite Heaney poems and reveal hoy they shaped them.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 5pm


Paid event

£5.00

Friday 12th September

Readings

Maurice Riordan

Cork born poet Maurice Riordan will read from "The finest Music" a new anthology of early Irish lyrics to be published by Faber in Novermber.

These are the poems that founded Ireland's rich literature. Seamus Heaney's work in particular relates to this early tradition and the anthology includes several of his poems and translations. In particular Riordan will be looking at Heaney's interest in the medieval tale of Sweeney - and his versions and variations on subjects related to the wild bird-man and the importance of blackbirds in his poems.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 5pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Friday 12th September

Readings

Pat Loughrey - Seamus Heaney among school children. Presented by BBC

Seamus Heaney's poetry uniquely captures the wonder of a child's eye view of the world.

Heaney had a deep appreciation of the joys and fears of childhood. He was a teacher and taught in St Thomas' Secondary Intermediate School in West Belfast in the early 1960s and later joined the staff of St Joseph's Teacher Training College.

In that same decade he began to write radio scripts for BBC Schools Programmes and to present occasional School television programmes. Even in those early days Heaney's remarkable ability to speak for and to children was evident, so too was his lifelong love of the local and of South Derry in particular.

In this talk Pat Loughrey presents examples of Heaney's early broadcast work and explores his themes.



Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 7pm


FREE event

Admission free

Friday 12th September

Music, Readings

Heaney and Songs of the Scribe: Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin with Zoe Conway, John McIntyre and Poets Leontia Flynn and Medbh McGuckian

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 8.15


Paid event

Admission £10.00

Saturday 13th September

Readings

Earth to Alice - Stand-up Poetry by Alice McCullough

Join Alice and experience this captivating new voice that has been delighting audiences as she plays with the boundaries between spoken word, stand-up, storytelling and theatre in her one-woman show 'Earth To Alice' described by Ursula Burs as "Beautiful, profound and funny - stunning new work from an exceptionally talented woman." Winner of the Belfast Book festival Poetry Slam, Writer In Residence at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival this year and host of Belfast's new alternative spoken word showcase, Red Pill, Alice's unique take on stand-up poetry has been entertaining audiences across NI, Dublin, London and the Edinburgh Fringe, having supported talents in both poetry and comedy including Hollie McNish and Katherine Ryan.

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 12noon


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret. Writer D.D. Everest reads from the book being called the New Harry Potter

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret is being billed as a phenomenal magical fantasy to rival Harry Potter, a world where bookshelves are enchanted, librarians are sorcerers & spells come to life.

Archie Greene receives a mysterious present on his birthday. Deep within an ancient wooden box he finds an old book, written in a language he doesn't recognise. With the book comes a Special Instruction - Archie must travel to Oxford to return the book to the museum of Magical Miscellany. Soon Archie will meet the family he never knew he had, and discover the world of the Flame Keepers.

D.D. Everest is a successful business journalist and author who has written a number of adult non-fiction books. Archie Greene and the Magician's Instruction is his first book for children. Rights have been sold at auction around the world.

Audience: Adults / Children

Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 12noon


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

The Red Pill Showcase: Alice, Tea and Mad Poetry

Alice McCullough hosts an afternoon of wordplay and delight as she invites you down the rabbit hole and into the poetry garden and various other venues to experience a diverse collection of award-winning performance poets in this special Red Pill Showcase. Red Pill is an all new alternative stand-up poetry night based in Belfast that showcases the exciting new wave of spoken word talent emerging with a new generation of poets taking the mic. Bringing poetry far from the page and onto the stage, a fun and exciting way to enjoy some out-of-the-ordinary poetry for all the family. Featuring a special music performance by Ciara O'Neill.

Audience: Adults

Times: 1pm Across the Town Centre


FREE event

Admission free

Sunday 14th September

Readings

Heaney and the Eaten Word - A cookery demonstration with Paula McIntyre

Popular cook, teacher and broadcaster Paula McIntyre brings her culinary skills to Seamus Heaney's poetry in a bespoke cookery demonstration for On Home Ground.

Paula says: " I love Seamus' connection to field, lough and plate in his poetry. So much of his writing resonates me, especially how he celebrates local produce".

So expect everything from sloe gin, blackberries & buttermilk to perch, salmon & oysters.

Trained in the Culinary Arts at the prestigious Johnson Wales University in Rhode Island, Paula has brought her talent and knowledge of food back to her own Home Ground, sharing with audiences of her radios broadcasts and guests at her table her passion for good food.

A familiar voice to Radio Ulster listeners, Paula has also appeared as the local expert on Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet Programme, hosted by Jay Rayner.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 2pm


Paid event

Admission £10.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

Lagan Press at On Home Ground - Hugo Hamilton introduces Carlo Gébler's new book Confessions of a Catastrophist

When Carlo Gébler started writing seriously in the late 1970s there was no internet and publishers liked to lunch. Three decades on the literary world has changed: most significantly, it seems no longer congenial or welcoming to literature or those who try to make literature.

The book is an intriguing mixture of pungent. fierce and striking memoir with pithy mordant notes in the literary trade, on the book he's written and why he wrote them, and on the difficult business of negotiating a way through the thickets and trying to make a living. It is not a sour book (hopefully): it is a funny book (hopefully), it is unquestionably a true book, true about literature and the innumerable humiliations pecuiar to it.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 3pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Sunday 14th September

Readings

Lagan Press at On Home Ground - Colin Barrett reads from his short story collection Young Skins

Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize. His work has been published in The Stinging Fly magazine and in the anthologies, Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails (Stinging Fly Press, 2013). He won the 2014 Frank O'Connor international short story award for debut collection of stories, Young Skins.

The book was first published in Ireland by The Stinging Fly Press in 2013, and was published in th UK this year by Jonathan Cape. Grove Atlantic will publish in the US next year, while translations are also planned for the Netherlands and France.


Venue: Laurel Villa

Times: 3 pm


Paid event

Admission £5.00

Thursday 11th September

Readings

The Reading Rooms

The Reading Rooms is a socially inclusive shared reading based on a model of collective reading in a group setting. The Reading Rooms is an innovative, flexible programme which has delivered by the Verbal Arts Centre in a variety of settings and to a range of participant groups from prison groups, older people, dementia groups, young people and various health and wellbeing groups.

Using a shared reading model with poetry and prose, the Reading Rooms project works with many groups to create an accessible and safe setting for participants to engage and flourish trough a series of educational, health and wellbeing sessions.

Throughout the Festival we are delighted that the Reading Rooms will become a hub of celebration of Seamus Heaney's work.


Times: Thursday 11, 12.30pm, Bellaghy Friday 12, 12.30pm & 3pm, Laurel Villa Saturday 13, 11am Magherafelt Library / 12.30pm Laurel Villa Sunday 14, 12noon Magherafelt Library / 12.30pm Laurel Villa


FREE event

Admission Free

Saturday 13th September

Readings

Moyra Donaldson

The poet Moyra Donaldson will read selected poems after the launch of the exhibition Dis-ease in collaboration with the artist Victoria J. Dean 

Venue: Magherafelt Library

Times: 2pm


FREE event