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April 2018

English PEN readings at Hillsborough

29 April @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Market Room, The Courthouse, Hillsborough, The Square
Hillsborough, Co Down BT26 6AG United Kingdom
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Free

In solidarity of writers who are in prison or otherwise at risk around the world, five Northern Irish writers will read from the work of some of the incredible individuals supported by English PEN’s Writers at Risk Programme. The event will be introduced by Hannah Trevarthen, Events and Development Manager at English PEN. English PEN supports the freedom to write and the freedom to read in the UK and around the world. 

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Small Town Stories with Joshua Burnside, Damian Smyth & Bernie McGill

29 April @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Market Room, The Courthouse, Hillsborough, The Square
Hillsborough, Co Down BT26 6AG United Kingdom
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£7

This very special evening of words and music features three artists of exceptional talent presenting poetry, songs and story on the theme of small town living. This will be an intimate and memorable performance not to be missed. Joshua Burnside was born in Ireland, but cites the music of Colombia, Eastern Europe and North America as the greatest influences on his unique sound. Deftly blending folk textures and melodies with elements of electronica, he has made it difficult for pundits to put him in a box. Bernie McGill’s novel, The Watch House, was published in 2017 by Tinder Press. She is also the author of Sleepwalkers, a collection of stories short-listed in 2014 for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and The Butterfly Cabinet. Her work has been placed in the Seán Ó Faoláin, the Bridport, and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Prizes and she won the Zoetrope:All-Story Award in 2008. Damian Smyth’s five collections are Downpatrick Races (2000), The Down Recorder(2004), Lamentations (2010), Market Street (2010) and Mesopotamia (2014). English Street is due later this year. He is Head of Literature & Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. This event is part of the first ever Hillsborough…

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May 2018

Fishing for Words: A Creative Writing Workshop on Rathlin Island

31 May @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Manor House, Rathlin Island County Antrim BT54 6RT United Kingdom + Google Map
Free

A creative writing workshop led by Bernie McGill for participants aged 16+.  No previous experience required. Come with writing materials and be prepared to write and share your work in the surroundings of the beautiful Manor House on Rathlin Island. Numbers are limited so please phone the Manor House (028 2076 0046) to ensure a place. Here's the ferry timetable between Ballycastle and Rathlin. Bernie McGill is the author of The Watch House, a novel set on Rathlin Island at the time of the Marconi wireless experiments in 1898. Watch the book trailer, filmed on Rathlin for a taster of the island. Bernie will read from The Watch House, in conversation with writer and filmmaker Margot McCuaig in St. Thomas' Church on Rathlin Island at 7pm on 31st May. For full updates on the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival which takes place this year from Friday 25th May to Sunday 3rd June, and to be in with a chance of winning return ferry travel from Ballycastle and a voucher for The Manor House, sign up for the newsletter here. Results on Saturday 19th May 2018.

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In Conversation with Margot McCuaig at Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival

31 May @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
St Thomas’ Church, Rathlin Island County Antrim United Kingdom + Google Map
Free

The Watch House, a novel set on Rathlin in the years of Marconi’s early wireless experiments is a gripping story about the power of words to connect us, and the power of suspicion to drive us apart.  Author Bernie McGill reads from her book, and joins in conversation with Margot McCuaig, writer, filmmaker and Rathlin resident in part-time exile in Scotland. For full updates on the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival which takes place this year from Friday 25th May to Sunday 3rd June, and to be in with a chance of winning return ferry travel from Ballycastle and a voucher for The Manor House, sign up for the newsletter here. Results on Saturday 19th May 2018. Ferry timetable between Ballycastle and Rathlin here. Accommodation on Rathlin here. Bernie will be taking a writing workshop at the Manor House on Thursday 31st May from 2pm-4pm. Free admission but places are limited. To book phone The Manor House on 028 2076 0046.  

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June 2018

Belfast Book Festival Meet the Author: Bernie McGill

6 June @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Books, Paper, Scissors, 15 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5AF United Kingdom
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Free

Bernie McGill is one of Northern Ireland’s most respected authors and following the May 2018 launch of The Watch House in paperback, come along and join in the conversation led by BBC’s Helen Mark. Focusing on her career to date and the recent inspiration and setting for The Watch House, Rathlin Island, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know the author in an informal and relaxed session at Books, Paper, Scissors bookshop. Bernie McGill studied English and Italian at QUB and graduated with a Masters degree in Irish Writing. She has written for theatre (The Weather Watchers, The Haunting of Helena Blunden), novels, The Watch House and The Butterfly Cabinet and a short story collection, Sleepwalkers. Her short fiction has been nominated for numerous awards and in 2008 she won the Zoetrope:All-Story Short Fiction Award in the US. Her work has been anthologised in award-winning collections The Long Gaze Back, The Glass Shore and in Female Lines. She is a recipient of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s inaugural ACES (Artists’ Career Enhancement Scheme) Award in association with the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast.

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Sue Hubbard & Bernie McGill at Belfast Book Festival

13 June @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road
BELFAST, BT7 1NH United Kingdom
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£6 – £8

Sue Hubbard and Bernie McGill arrive at this year's festival with two novels that have garnered rave reviews from every corner.  Tonight they will read from Rainsongs and The Watch House. Sue Hubbard’s Rainsongs conjures the rugged beauty of County Kerry’s coastline and the inner landscapes of its characters in richly poetic and painterly language. It unfolds as a compelling tale of grief, art, and the fragile, quiet ways in which time and place can offer a measure of redemption. In Bernie McGill’s The Watch House, during the summer of 1898, on the small Irish island of Rathlin strangers have arrived from the mainland, laden with mysterious radio equipment. When native Nuala Byrne is sent to cook for the Italian engineer Gabriel, she becomes enthralled by the world of knowledge that he brings from beyond her own narrow horizons. It is  a gripping novel, beautiful and lyrical, tender and fierce. Book at Belfast Book Festival.

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On the Same Page with Sheena Wilkinson & Bernie McGill

16 June @ 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road
BELFAST, BT7 1NH United Kingdom
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£60

A day-long intensive fiction writing and editing workshop for committed writers facilitated by two of Northern Ireland’s most acclaimed fiction writers. Come prepared to write, share your work and learn how to take your skills to the next level. From the first spark of inspiration to sending your work out into the world, Bernie and Sheena will guide you through the process, drawing on their own experiences in publishing and offering practical advice for the submission process. The day will be broken down as follows: 10.00am  – 1.00 pm SPARK Generating ideas 2.00pm – 4.00pm SHAPE Editing techniques 6.00pm – 8.00pm SEND Outlets and advice on submission To book go to On the Same Page at the Belfast Book Festival.   About the tutors Bernie McGill is the author of Sleepwalkers, a collection of stories short-listed in 2014 for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and of two novels: The Watch House and The Butterfly Cabinet (named in 2012 by Downton creator Julian Fellowes as his novel of the year). Her work has been placed in the Seán Ó Faoláin, the Bridport, and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Prizes and she won the Zoetrope:All-Story Award in the US in 2008.…

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July 2018

Fiction Writing Workshops at John Hewitt International Summer School

23 July @ 2:45 pm - 25 July @ 4:15 pm
Market Place Theatre, Armagh, Market Street
Armagh, Armagh BT61 7BW United Kingdom
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£50
Photo of Bernie McGill

Develop your writing skills under the direction of one of our eight tutors who are all experienced facilitators and published authors. Each workshop runs over three days, and each intensive session lasts for 90 mins. Bernie McGill will facilitate the Fiction Writing Workshops at this year's summer school. Her publications include novels The Butterfly Cabinet (2011) and The Watch House (2017) and a short story collection, Sleepwalkers(2013). Her short fiction has been shortlisted for numerous awards and in 2008 she won the Zoetrope All-Story Award in the US. Her work has been anthologised in the award-winning collections, The Long Gaze Back, The Glass Shore and Female Lines. For a full list of workshops at this year's summer school, including Getting Started with Nessa O'Mahony; Poetry with David Wheatley; Poetry with Siobhan Campbell; Short Story with Mary O'Donnell; Memoir with Ferdia MacAnna, and Radio Drama with Eoin McNamee go to the John Hewitt Society website. Full programme of readings and talks from Monday 23rd to Saturday 28th July also available there. Book the Fiction Writing Workshop online or Tel. the Box Office at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh on 028 3752 1821 or email boxoffice@marketplacearmagh.com.  

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August 2018

Fiction Writing Workshop, the Governor’s Room, Linen Hall Library, Belfast

23 August @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Linen Hall Library, Belfast, 17 Donegall Square North
Belfast, BT1 5GB United Kingdom
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£20

A practical afternoon workshop on the everyday craft of writing with the aim of sparking ideas for new work. All levels of experience welcome. Come with writing materials and be prepared to write. Bernie McGill is the author of two novels: The Watch House and The Butterfly Cabinet (named by Julian Fellowes as his novel of the year in 2012), and Sleepwalkers, a collection of short stories, shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize in 2014. Book online at the Linen Hall or Tel. the Box Office on 028 9087 2219. The Linen Hall Library is a truly unique institution. Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland. It has a radical and 'enlightenment' foundation, and ever since has prized its independence and has maintained the principle that its resources are owned by the community for the community. It is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection, ranging from comprehensive holdings of Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 250,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the recent troubles. The Library also boasts the Northern Ireland Theatre and Performing Arts Archive, a unique collection reflecting our rich…

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September 2018

Dropping Your Gaze: A Day of Mindfulness and Writing with Michelle Gibb and Bernie McGill in the Festival Yurt, Bangor Castle Walled Garden

14 September @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Festival Yurt, Bangor Castle Walled Garden, Valentine Road
Bangor, BT20 4BN United Kingdom
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£25

Mindfulness is the practice of learning to be present. It is also beneficial for calming the physical state of the body and quietening the mind. Whether you’re new to writing or have been writing for a while and are looking for a way to rejuvenate your approach, this day of guided mindfulness and writing exercises, led by two experienced facilitators, will refresh and enhance your writing skills and leave you with a simple toolkit that you can use in your everyday practice. Alongside focused writing exercises, you will learn: the importance of breath work and how to calm your breathing; how reducing the mind chatter can help centre your writing focus; a fifteen second calming technique; visualisation guidance and advice; short and simple brain gym exercises. All levels welcome. Please bring a packed lunch. Bernie McGill is the author of two novels: The Watch House and The Butterfly Cabinet and of a short story collection, Sleepwalkers. She has worked for twenty-five years as a creative writing facilitator, is a Writer in Schools with Poetry Ireland and a Professional Mentor with the Irish Writers’ Centre. www.berniemcgill.com Michelle Gibb is a poet, life coach and yoga teacher whose work has been published locally by A…

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