What’s Women Aloud NI 2017?
Women Aloud NI 2017 is an initiative which aims to raise the profile of the women’s writing scene in Northern Ireland. On 7th and 8th March 2017, a coordinated series of events will take place right across Northern Ireland to celebrate International Women’s Day [8th March]. On 11th March, 50 women writers from Northern Ireland will travel to Dublin to celebrate International Women’s Day with female writers resident in the Republic of Ireland.The events will involve women writers reading, speaking and performing in bookshops, libraries and other venues.
Was There a Women Aloud NI 2016?
Yes there was 130 women writers took part and we organised 17 events. Here’s what happened.
Who Can Participate in Women Aloud NI 2017?
Women Aloud NI celebrates the work of women writers based in Northern Ireland or from Northern Ireland* : published authors, playwrights and poets; journal-published authors and poets; self-published authors and poets; songwriters and screenwriters; and yet-to-be-published authors, playwrights and poets All women writers are welcome to participate.
*Women writers who were born in Northern Ireland, but are no longer resident, are also welcome to join the project. Find out more about getting involved here.
What Will Women Aloud NI 2017 Achieve?
It is hoped that the Women Aloud NI 2017 will build on the successes of 2016. We want to continue to:
- Give people a sense of the vibrancy of the women’s writing scene in Northern Ireland.
- Raise the profile of the women’s writing scene in Northern Ireland.
- Raise the profile of individual writers in Northern Ireland.
- Help writers (and writers’ groups) to strengthen their relationship with local readers, local booksellers, local libraries and local media.
- Help build an appetite for women’s writing in Northern Ireland – inspiring women to start writing, inspiring readers to start reading women’s writing, inspiring the public to attend performances and public readings, and bringing the current state of the women’s writing scene to the attention of publishers and journals.
- Build a strong, supportive and celebratory sense of community.
Where Are The Events Taking Place?
Events are taking place in each of the 6 counties and in Dublin. You can find the schedule of events here. Do check our events page regularly as more events will be added right up until the end of February.
How Can I Get Involved?
There are many ways to get involved in Women Aloud 2017 : you can read and/or talk at an event, you can set up a local event, and you can go along to an event to support the women who are reading and talking. If you manage a venue, and you would like to host an event, we’d love to hear from you . Please hop over to the Get Involved page for more information.
Who’s Managing Women Aloud NI 2017?
This project is being managed by a small team of volunteers who are organising a number of core events across Northern Ireland. Individuals and groups are actively encouraged to set up their own events in support of the initiative too.
Jane Talbot [Founder of Women Aloud NI, Overall Project Manager and Event Coordinator for Belfast Mystery Event; NI Event Coordinator for Dublin Event] is a writer and storyteller based in County Antrim. Her first book, The Faerie Thorn and Other Stories, is a collection of dark faerie tales set in Northern Ireland’s beautiful North Coast area. Stories from her collection are being adapted for the stage by Big Telly Theatre Company. The stage production, called The Faerie Thorn, will be touring the UK and Ireland April-June 2017. You can visit Jane’s website here, follow her on Twitter here and connect with her on Facebook here.
Jo Zebedee [Event Coordinator for Evening Event in Belfast] writes science fiction and fantasy, either in her space opera world of Abendau or on the streets of her native Northern Ireland. She’s the author of The Inheritance Trilogy and Inish Carraig. She regularly blogs here at and can be followed on Twitter here .
Maura Johnston [Event Coordinator for Afternoon Event in Cookstown] is a writer from Moneymore in County Derry. She has written short stories, poetry and work on children’s literature. Her work has appeared in Fortnight; The Honest Ulsterman; The Sunday Tribune and Belfast Review. Her collection is called ‘Just Suppose’.
Dianne Ascroft [Event Coordinator for Evening Event in Enniskillen] writes historical and contemporary fiction with an Irish connection. Her series, The Yankee Years, is a collection of novels and short reads, set in World War II Northern Ireland. The history of her adopted country inspires the stories of the urban Canadian, who has settled in Fermanagh with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. Online she lurks here and you can follow her on Twitter here.
Martelle McPartland [Event Coordinator for Evening Event in Lurgan] is a poet, playwright, editor, script writer, arts facilitator and creative writing tutor based in Lurgan, Co. Armagh. She has won many awards for her short stories, notably as a finalist in the Bridport. She is a founding member, chair and facilitator of Lough Neagh Writers.
Liz Weir [Event Coordinator for Library Events in Bangor, Keady, Killyleagh and Randalstown] is a storyteller and writer from Northern Ireland, who has told her stories to children and adults on five continents. As a children’s librarian for the city of Belfast in the 1970s, she learned about the healing power of storytelling. She was the first winner of the International Storybridge Award from the National Storytelling Network, which cited her “exemplary work promoting the art of storytelling within Ireland and between other countries”. Liz is currently Storyteller in Residence with Libraries NI.
The Literary Ladies [Event Coordinators fo Evening Event in Derry] Julieann Campbell, Lynne Edgar, Felicity McCall and Freya McClements are Derry-based writers and friends who also provide creative writing facilitation and writing, editing and PR/marketing services for the arts sector, as well as event management and book launches.
AnneMarie Mullan [Event Coordinator for Evening Event in Limavady] is a graduate of the Queen’s Creative Writing Masters Programme, Annemarie is a member of Belfast’s Shalom Writing Group and Queen’s Writing Group and has been published in anthologies both locally and in England. She is a regular facilitator with Community Arts Partnership’s Poetry In Motion programme and runs the Clachan Open Mic on Keady Mountain.
Anne McMaster [Event Coordinator for In-Train Recital, Belfast-Dublin] is a poet, playwright, editor and arts facilitator living on an old farm in rural mid-Ulster. A finalist in the 2015 FSNI Poetry Competition and shortlisted participant in the 2016 Bangor Poetry Competition, Anne’s poetry has been published in the US and NI – in The Honest Ulsterman; 19,751 Words – an Anthology; Paper Plane Pilots; The Poetry Marathon Anthology (2014 and 2016). Her plays (25 original works and literary adaptations) have been performed in theatres and schools across NI. Anne is artistic director of Hydra – a theatre company specialising in original devised work. She is happiest spending her time writing, restoring the old Georgian farmhouse where she lives, or out in the garden trying not to kill plants. Follow Anne at www.theoldfarmatrosehill.co.uk or on Twitter here.
Who’s Supporting This Project?
This is currently a zero-funded project. Participation is on a voluntary basis. We are enormously grateful to all those who have given their time, enthusiasm, energy and expertise to this project. We are especially grateful to the venues hosting Women Aloud NI 2017 events and to the organisations who have supported us this year :
Áras Cholmcille, Derry
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Blakes of the Hollow, Enniskillen
Irish Writers Centre, Dublin
Keady Clachan, Limavady
Lurgan Town Hall
The Linenhall Library, Belfast
And we’ve really appreciated the warm encouragement and support from other organisations in the arts sector -and beyond.