Belfast Authors: Expand Your Library With These Belfast Writers In 2020
Belfast authors are local creative voices who add colour and texture to their environment as writers. Here are Belfast writers you should read in 2020.
In this Belfast Authors blog article, you will find information on:
- How local authors can have a huge effect on their local communities, giving them a voice and someone creative to look up to,
- Lucy Caldwell – a multi-award-winning author and playwright from Belfast,
- Anna Burns – A Booker Prize winning author in 2018 who was born in Belfast,
- Glenn Patterson – The author of many books and co-writer of a screenplay ‘Good Vibrations’,
- Colin Bateman – Fiction writer and screenwriter with ‘Murphy’s Law’ from the Belfast area,
Read the rest of the Belfast Authors blog article to learn about new authors to expand your library.
Belfast Authors In 2020
As Belfast is my home town, I consider myself to be one of the Belfast authors who works diligently to add colour and texture to the literary environment of Northern Ireland. Being one of the top UK creative writing bloggers, I know I offer top advice for those staring their creative writing journey.
Through my creative writing blog, I offer creative writing tips on how to develop one’s craft as a writer. However, as I work as a freelance copywriter, I can provide advice for authors on how to market and promote their work online. By offering advice on everything from book cover designs to the advantage of writing SEO blogs, I feel I offer something different to other Belfast authors out there.
When researching fellow Belfast writers from my home town, I wanted to choose a selection of various writers to show some of the talent and accolades that our authors have earned. Belfast shaped me as an author, and I know she undoubtedly developed other writers who grew up under her wing.
In this article, you will be able to learn about some Belfast authors who you may not have heard of before. Why not learn about the author, their work and consider reading one of their books in 2020.
Lucy Caldwell has won several notable awards for her novels, plays and short stories. These awards include,
- The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature,
- The Dylan Thomas Prize,
- The BBC International Short Story Award, and
- The Commonwealth Writers’ Award.
Belfast authors, like Lucy, have done incredibly well in their literary careers so far and has been very successful as an author, short story writer and a playwright.
Lucy was born in Belfast in 1981 and was a Seamus Heaney Centre creative writing fellow in the academic year 2018/19. As a measure of her achievements, she was elected to the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.
Lucy Caldwell’s most notable works to date include:
- All The Beggars Riding (Novel),
- Multitudes (Short Story Collection), and
- Notes To Future Self (Play).
As someone who has written all three of the genres above, I understand how challenging it can be to transition from one to the other. To then become a noted and award-winning Belfast writer in each of the areas is impressive. If you are looking for a contemporary female literary voice to read in 2020, seriously consider Lucy Caldwell as a starting point.
If you like the sound of the first of my Belfast authors, you can check out more of Lucy Caldwell’s books at Faber.co.uk.
Anna Burns shot to fame locally as the author of Milkman, the winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2018. Her critically acclaimed third novel was given acclaim across many of the leading literary book review sources. One source, The Guardian, even dubbed it an essential novel for our times.
Anna was born in Belfast and was one of the Seamus Heaney Centre creative writing fellows in the academic year 2019/20. This award-winning author also snapped up the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for her first novel, No Bones. Her books to date include:
- No Bones,
- Little Constructions,
- Milkman, and
- Mostly Hero (Novella).
Now living in England, Anna Burns has one of the Belfast authors to put her home town on the literary map. It is achievements, like her winning the Booker Prize, that inspires young women in our province to consider writing a book of their own. However, it also shows ladies who grew up throughout The Trouble in Northern Ireland that there is a story to tell that can spark the interest of readers across the world.
If you like the sound of the works from my second Belfast writer, you can find out more about Anna’s books via the Waterstones link.
When I started my Creative Writing MA, I focused on the practice of playwriting. As someone obsessed with giants, like Pinter, Beckett, and Miller, I wanted to build worlds that were acted out on the boards of theatres rather than the minds of a reader.
The group of people who I socialised with suggested I speak to a Mr Glenn Patterson about auditing his fiction writing classes. Nervous about the possibility of being shot down, I approached the then creative writing fellow and asked to sit in on his workshops. Rather than turn me away, Glenn warmly welcomed me into his sessions and was never too busy to answer any questions I had regarding fiction writing and the possibility of writing fiction novels in the future.
Now, many years on, Glenn Patterson is the Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University and has the title of ‘Professor’. However, as a Belfast author, Glenn was quoted as saying,
‘Belfast is my city. That is where my imagination is most alive. You feel almost shaped, yourself as a human being, by the buildings that are around you.’
His works of fiction include multiple books, including:
- Burning Your Own,
- That Which Was,
- Once Upon A Hill: Love In Troubled Times,
- The Mill For Grinding Old People Young, and
- Where Are We Now?
Glenn also co-wrote the screenplay for Good Vibrations, a movie based on one of Belfast’s local music heroes, Terry Hooley. Good Vibrations was one of the best movies I’d seen in a long time and, as a former local musician, I was enthralled from start to finish.
As far as Belfast writers go, Glenn Patterson is one of the leading voices in Belfast’s contemporary literary fabric. You can find out more about Glenn’s books via the Waterstones link.
Although Colin isn’t one of the Belfast authors to have called Belfast his home, he is from the Newtownards & Bangor area. To those who are unfamiliar, it is a 20-minute drive from Belfast and, as I now live in Bangor, I can testify to this being close enough to be a Belfast writer.
When I started my career as a teacher, I worked with Colin as part of a programme where the school asked several local authors to come into school. The authors would read and discuss their work with a selection of classes and have the chance to get a signed book by the author on the day.
When Colin came to Cavehill Primary School in North Belfast, we spent part of the morning getting set up. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to tell him that I was also a writer and hoped to write a few fiction books in the years ahead. After my years as a failed dramatist, I was worried about what Colin would say.
Rather than shoot me down, he told me never to give up and shared how he was a journalist at the County Down Spectator. Yes, he wrote but it took him years to finally get his first novel, Divorcing Jack, published. The fact that his first novel was found in a ‘slush pile’ at Harper Collins didn’t matter. Colin’s dream had become a reality in 1995.
Colin Bateman has gone on to write tens of novels, including novels for children as well as adults. His work has also found its way onto the screen with a TV series ‘Murphy’s Law’, which ran for three series and starred James Nesbitt.
Belfast authors and writers like Colin Bateman have helped to shine positive lights on Northern Ireland through the troubled times of the past. By supporting the local communities to see positivity in the darkness, they have helped inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Check out some of Colin Bateman’s work via the Waterstones link.
Belfast Authors: The Takeaway
Whist some of those Belfast authors listed above may not have been born and raised under the shadows of the famous Harland and Woolf cranes, they are part of the fabric of contemporary writing within the Northern Irish capital. It is incredible to see how Belfast writers continually punch above their weight in the world of literature.
When at the Seamus Heaney Centre and through my teaching career, I have met three of the five Belfast writers listed. Two of them taught elements of my Creative Writing MA and one other worked with children in a writing workshop. Either way, the impact of a thriving local writer cannot be underestimated on aspiring authors or the minds of young people in primary or secondary education.
Belfast writers, like those listed above, help to inspire and encourage many people within their local literary communities. Others can become inspired to pick up the pen by authors or poets showing the way to those who dare to dream of writing a novel or poetry collection. This impact can change a life, and other writers undoubtedly do the same in other towns and cities where you are, friends.
As a Belfast blogger and one of the independent Belfast authors, I add to the local writing community as best as I can. I will continue to share advice, offer marketing tips and write my novels, like Inside Iris and Anna’s Awakening. By picking up my pen, I write the script to my dreams one word at a time.
Get a copy of my novels, Inside Iris & Anna’s Awakening from Amazon. The IRIS Trilogy should be your next dystopian sci-fi read – get yours today!