The John Hewitt Society promotes literature, arts, and culture inspired by the Ideas and Ideals of John Hewitt, the Belfast poet, critic, curator & political thinker (1907-1987). The aim of our bursary scheme is to offer opportunities and experiences to inspire and foster a love of reading and to motivate, equip and support the development of writing for pleasure.
About the Society
Since 1987, we have developed a wide range of literary and cultural activities to bring people of differing faith and cultural identities together in safe spaces through the medium of literature and creative writing.
The John Hewitt International Summer School,
our annual Literature & the Arts Festival, is held last week in July at our festival home in The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh, N. Ireland.
Here audiences can hear from Poets, Authors, Artists, Speakers, Panellists from other nations, faiths and backgrounds, meet their heroes, and engage with others who share their passion for literature, books and creative writing. Our Summer School offers participants platforms for debate and discussion on the key political and cultural issues of the day, along with opportunities to explore issues of difference, tolerance and respect.
Some comments from Bursary award students:
- ‘A brilliant experience, the variety of events on the programme was exceptional. I was so lucky to receive a full bursary.’
- ’ I had the best week. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was and how much of an impact attending the summer school had on me. I just loved it! Thank you for the bursary to attend.’
- ‘My experience at the summer school was phenomena. Loved it!’
- ‘I was amazed and delighted at the variety of events on offer. Meeting other writers and taking part in the Showcase was inspiring and highly motivational. The whole week was brilliant though somewhat exhausting! Great speakers and great connections made that have further aided my writing progress.’
- ‘It was excellent. The events and speakers were of exceptional quality. The breadth of events kept me interested as everything was unique. As a bursary student I felt very well looked after and warmly welcomed. I felt the organisers genuinely cared that I was well and happy.’
Community Bursary Awards Scheme
Applications Open: Monday 24 April 2023
Close: Thursday 18 May 2023 @5pm
…’ I had the best week. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was and how much of an impact attending the summer school had on me. I just loved it! Thank you for the bursary to attend.’
JHISS 2022: Bursary student
Thanks to the generosity of our funders and sponsors, a number of bursaries are available to help cover the cost of individual attendances during festival week. Bursary places are only open to those who reside in the North or South of Ireland.
What is a bursary?
A bursary provides financial support to those, who for one reason or another, would not be able to attend the John Hewitt International Summer School. A full programme of events is on offer from 9.45am – 10.30pm, Monday – Friday, with Saturday morning workshops.
While previous bursary students have gone on to become published writers, lead workshops, invited to host live and online author events, read at poetry & writing festivals, others come back to volunteer for us each year at the JHISS, or are employed within the literary arts.
A Full Sponsored Residential bursary award includes:
- B&B for five nights in a single ensuite room, within walking distance of the venue.
- Free tickets to all programme events, unless otherwise specified.
- A creative writing workshop course of your choice, with 6 hours tuition over 3 days.
- An invitation to all Festival receptions.
- Morning break refreshments.
Each Bursary Award is worth £500.00.
…‘A brilliant experience, the variety of events on the programme was exceptional. I was so lucky to receive a full bursary.’
‘Highly recommended, I know cos I’ve been there!’
‘the best literary event ever, keep going.’
JHISS 2021: Bursary comments
A limited number of half bursaries, i.e. non-residential, are also available for those who may have personal or other circumstances that do not permit them to spend evenings away from home, such as carers or dependants.
How to apply for a bursary?
Apply online by clicking the button below:
Or contact the office for a hard copy.
ONLINE Applications Open: Monday 24 April 2023
Close: Thursday 18 May 2023 @5pm
How is it assessed?
Assessment criteria is as follows:
- First time applicants*
- Unwaged (retired, unemployed, student, in receipt of benefits).
- Evidence of an interest in the ethos of the John Hewitt Summer School.
- Evidence of how your experience could impact your local community.
*Previous applicants may re-apply, but priority is given to those who have never attended.
Due to demand for sponsored places those who have received a 2022/21 award will be deemed ineligible.
**Bursaries funded by local councils are awarded to those who live within those designated council postcode areas only. A small number of full and half bursary places are also available to ABC Council & ROI residents.
Any queries, please contact us at
The MAC Arts Centre – Level 3
10 Exchange Street West
Belfast. BT1 2NJ.
Office: 028 9032 4522