Spring Festival

The John Hewitt Spring Festival takes place annually in the Glens of Antrim, spiritual home of the poet John Hewitt and a landscape that he referred to often in his poetry.

The 12th John Hewitt Spring Festival took place 16th & 17th May 2014 in Carnlough, Co Antrim. You can read about the events that took place below.

Details on the 13th Spring Festival will be announced in early 2015.


Creative Writing with John Glenday

John Glenday

Writer’s Block vs Reader’s Block: John Glenday lead this intimate writing workshop, looking at strategies for increasing creativity and output & how to hone their poetry to appeal to readers.

Mainly writing poetry in English, John has also written in Scots as well as short prose poems. He has published three collections – his most recent, Grain, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2010. His next collection is due to be published in 2015.

The Great Scottish Novel

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Our annual Great Northern Novel panel debate took on a Scottish flavour in light of the upcoming Scottish Independence referendum in September 2014. Poet John Glenday, theatre critic & cultural observer Joyce McMillan and Lagan Press poet Damian Smyth debated the merits of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, James Hogg’s Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Alexander Trocchi’s Young Adam.

Tae Think Again! With Robert Crawford & Joyce McMillan

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Have Scotland’s writers signed-up to cultural independence? Or like Scotland’s footballers, are they playing on a UK-wide pitch? Join Joyce McMillan, theatre critic for The Scotsman, and Robert Crawford, author and poet, were joined in discussion by poet and broadcaster C.L. Dallat

Joyce McMillan, writes regularly on political & cultural themes, including, recently, on the referendum issue. Robert Crawford is professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews and has just published Bannockburns: Scottish Independence and the Literary Imagination, 1314-2014 with Edinburgh University Press.

Children of the Devolution!

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Poetry from across the dis-United Kingdom, representing nations that have defined their own political & imaginative independence. John Glenday (Scotland) was joined by Paula Cunningham (Northern Ireland) and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch (Wales).

Paula Cunningham’s first poetry chapbook, A Dog called Chance was published by Smith/Doorstop in 1999 – she has also written drama and short fiction.  Her first full poetry collection Heimlich’s Manoeuvre, from Smith Doorstop, was shortlisted for the Fenton-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize in 2013.

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Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch has published three collections: Rockclimbing in Silk, Not in These Shoes, and Banjo with Picador in 2012). Twice shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year, Samantha is the recipient of a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Leverhulme writer in residence award. In June 2014 she will be poet in residence at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne.

Robert Crawford & Joanne Harris

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A poet with a strong regional voice was followed by a best-selling novelist who made provincial France her fictional heartland in two author sessions as part of this event. Introduced by Anne-Marie Fyfe.

Robert Crawford is Professor of English Literature at the University of St Andrews and has published six poetry collections, with a seventh due from Cape in Autumn 2014. He founded Verse poetry magazine and co-edited both the New Penguin Book of Scottish Verse (2000) and the Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain & Ireland (1998).

Joanne Harris is an award-winning author of 18 novels and is published in over 50 countries. Her most recent, The Gospel of Loki was published in February 2014. Her No.1 bestseller Chocolat was made into an Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche & Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science.

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