Literature on the move in Northern Ireland
PublishingNI today (Wed 15th Dec) held its official launch at the Arts Council, announcing its vision and plans for the future of publishing in Northern Ireland.
The new company, publicly funded by the Creative Industries Innovation Fund via the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), is a strategic initiative by three publishing houses in Northern Ireland – Blackstaff Press, Guildhall Press, Lagan Press – along with the Verbal Arts Centre.
PublishingNI has been established to raise the public profile of writing and publishing in Northern Ireland as well as to increase local readerships and develop new audiences. The company will help to market Northern Ireland books and also plans to forge links with other literary publishers in England, Scotland and Wales.
For the first time in the UK and Ireland, PublishingNI will develop regular tours of Northern Irish published authors across arts centres, tourism centres and similar venues in Northern Ireland.
Bronwen Williams, Co-ordinator of PublishingNI, said: “PublishingNI has been established as a valuable network for publishers in Northern Ireland, aiming to reach out to new readers and to create more opportunities for writers here. Through our programme of mini tours, we hope to stimulate sales of Northern Irish books and to increase public awareness of our excellent home-grown writers and their work.”
The tours will offer readers the opportunity to meet Northern Irish writers and to hear sample readings. Books will be available for sale permanently in these venues, as well as on the nights of readings and events.
The PublishingNI tour network will develop during 2011, with the first tour already planned for the first week of February 2011 over three nights in Downpatrick, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. More information will be publicised soon.
Rosalind Lowry, Arts Officer at the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena, one of the venues that has signed up for the tour, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project with PublishingNI and look forward to finding new ways to develop our literature programme in partnership with NI publishers.”
Looking for a book for Christmas?
In line with its vision to raise the profile of Northern Ireland writers, PublishingNI has produced a list of its top recommended reads for Christmas. To find the perfect book this Christmas, here are the recommendations from Northern Ireland’s leading publishers:
To purchase any of these books, visit the publishers’ websites directly.
Published author, Moyra Donaldson, commented: “Every writer wants their books to be read by as many people as possible, so for local authors, PublishingNI, is a very exciting development. It will raise the profile of locally produced books and bring them to new readers.
“It’s brilliant to know that my books, along with all the others published here, will be taken into a whole range of new venues and detailed on the website. It will be a tremendous boost; and as an avid reader as well as a writer, I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to discover more books and writers.”
Damian Smyth, Head of Drama and Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added: “The launch of PublishingNI is an important new development for writers, publishers and readers in Northern Ireland. The Arts Council is working with PublishingNI to develop the shape of the literature infrastructure here, through regular tours, readings and engagement with arts venues. We wish PublishingNI every success and look forward to working together in building the literature economy in the years ahead.”
The PublishingNI website will launch in February 2011 for established and new Northern Irish publishers and writers and will provide information on new books, readings, signings, networking and training opportunities.