The aim of the Summer School is to explore political and cultural issues through literature and the arts, and to encourage residents of Northern Ireland to think critically about the world around them.
Through lectures, discussions and debate, the Summer School raises issues of relevance to the divided society in Northern Ireland, providing a platform for audiences to engage with speakers from different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view.
The Society encourages the use of the arts as a means to explore sensitive issues, and offers opportunities for engagement with high-profile, high-quality artists and writers; our creative writing classes develop the confidence of individuals and help aid their contributions within their own communities.
Community Bursary Scheme
The bursary scheme is a key element of the Summer School that increases access and is a core element of the Summer School. The bursary scheme creates opportunities for those who would not otherwise be able to attend the Summer School to participate in discussions and debates around building a stronger shred community in post-conflict NI.
The main beneficiaries of all bursaries are people of socio-economic disadvantage from throughout Northern Ireland. Applicants often would not otherwise be in a position to attend due to variety of reasons including financial hardship, socio-economic background, perceived societal obstacles etc.
The bursary scheme provides residential accommodation for participants to engage in a six-day opportunity for learning and sharing in a creative environment. Places are allocated following advertisement and awarded to those who demonstrate how they will use the experience of the event to benefit their local community as well as personal development. Preference is given to those who have not previously secured a bursary. This criteria tends to benefit a more diverse economically deprived demographic, e.g. this has seen an increase in a younger age profile of attendees in recent years.
All residential bursary recipients take part in a creative writing workshop, with seven workshops available to choose from. The workshops cover a wide range of genres and writing styles, including short stories, poetry, crime, children’s fiction and playwriting.
The Society successfully made available more non-residential bursaries, to give flexible options for those whose lifestyles do not allow them to reside from home for five nights (e.g. carers, those with dependents, etc).
Summer School at a Glance
Written & performed by Sam McCready & directed by Joan McCready. Musician: Kyle Riley. Percy French is brought to life in Sam McCready’s witty & lively one-man show, which celebrates the music & life of one of Ireland’s best loved entertainers. McCready is joined by singer/guitarist Kyle Riley who brings a fresh interpretation to the songs. The show premiered in 2015 to sell out audiences in Northern Ireland.Find out more »
How to Build an Audience and Sell More Books with Stephen Gordon. Tim O'Reilly famously said 'The problem for most artists is obscurity.' Many new writers feel social media cures that problem for them but thousands of followers, likes, shares, or retweets doesn't pay the bills, and working only for exposure will not put you on the best-seller lists. No matter how you plan on making your money as a writer — self-publishing, crowdfunding, signing to a small press, joining…Find out more »
Getting Past the Blank Page Workshop with Martin Tyrrell A creative writing workshop for beginners and improvers. Martin is a published and prize winning author with an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. His Writing Fiction class is a regular and popular feature of the Queen’s University, Belfast Open Learning Programme and he has twice received an award under the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Support for the Individual Artist Programme.Find out more »
Saturday Morning Workshop - Editing Your Manuscript for Submission with Helen Wright Helen has worked in publishing for almost sixteen years in editorial roles, with publishing houses such as Harper Collins and Ebury Press. Helen is Senior Editor at Blackstaff Press (Belfast), and will be discussing how to (and how not to!) best present your work to a potential publisher.Find out more »
National Poetry Day with Armagh City Chapter: Iggy McGovern & Kate Newmann Among Kate’s awards are the Allingham Poetry Prize, the Swansea Roundyhouse Poetry Competition and the Listowel Poetry Prize in 2009, and she has been commended in the UK National Poetry competition. Well-known for his witty, playful yet emotionally engaged poems, Iggy is the recipient of the McCrae Literary Award, the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary. His most recent publication is A…Find out more »
Simon’s passion for the natural world is well known to television viewers worldwide through his work as a presenter and award-winning cameraman. He has been instrumental in some of the best known award-winning natural history television of recent years, including presenting Springwatch, Big Cat Diary, Planet Earth, Blue Planet and the Life series plus more recently African Cats for Disney. For the first time, Simon’s profound knowledge of the techniques and tricks needed to find and watch our most beautiful…Find out more »
JHS Bookish Pub Quiz - In association with Belfast City Council’s Positive Ageing Month The second annual Hewitt bookish quiz returns, hosted by the irrepressible Bill Jeffrey. Trivia, conundrums, opening lines, and a few other treats we’ll keep up to ourselves for now are all bring lined up. We’ll have some raffle prizes on the night and snacks to keep your brain fuelled.Find out more »
The first of the anniversary talks will take place in the Canada Room, Queens University from 10.30am to 12 Noon on Wednesday 26th April 2017. Professor Marianne Elliott will speak on the topic “Sectarianism - The Ghost of the Peace Process.”Find out more »
With Sir George Bain and Martina Devlin To celebrate its 30th Anniversary, The John Hewitt Society is hosting a series of talks chaired by Sir George Bain, which review how society has changed in that time and considers what further changes are needed. The Belfast Book Festival is delighted to partner with The Society in presenting this event in which Martina Devlin will discuss how the position of women in Ireland, both North and South, have changed and the…Find out more »
With Sinéad Morrissey, Jacob Polley and Tara Bergin Sinéad Morrissey’s departure for Newcastle University is imminent and, together with The John Hewitt Society, we have invited two of Sinéad’s new colleagues to read with her; Tara Bergin and Jacob Polley. Tara Bergin was the recipient of the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for her debut collection, This is Yarrow (Carcanet, 2013) and Jacob Polley’s most recent accolade is the 2016 T S Eliot Award for Jackself (Picador). The readers will be…Find out more »