Peggy Seeger – Book Talk

*Limited Tickets available on the Door*

Peggy Seeger is one of folk music’s most influential artists and songwriters. Born in New York City in 1935, she enjoyed a childhood steeped in music and left-wing politics – they remain her lifeblood.

After college, she travelled to Russia and China – against US advice – before arriving in London, where she met the man with whom she would raise three children and share the next thirty-three years: Ewan MacColl.

Together, they helped lay the foundations of the British folk revival, through the influential Critics Group and the landmark BBC Radio Ballads series. And as Ewan’s muse, she inspired one of the twentieth century’s most popular love songs, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

With a clear eye and generous spirit, Peggy writes of a rollercoaster life – of birth and abortion, sex and infidelity, devotion and betrayal – in a luminous, beautifully realised account.

Doors 1:45pm | Unreserved Seating

David Hepworth – Uncommon People

David Hepworth has been writing about, broadcasting about and speaking about music since the 70s. He was involved in the launch and/or editing of magazines like Smash Hits, Q, Mojo and The Word among many others.

He was one of the presenters of the BBC rock music programme Whistle Test and one of the anchors of the Corporation’s coverage of Live Aid in 1985. He has won the Editor of the Year and Writer of the Year awards from the Professional Publishers Association and the Mark Boxer Award from the British Society of Magazine Editors.

David is a director of the independent company Development Hell and divides his time between writing for a variety of magazines and newspapers, speaking at events, broadcasting work and blogging. He lives in London.

In most recent book is Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars, David Hepworth zeroes in on defining moments and turning points in the lives of forty rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst a hundred myths and create a hundred more.

As this tribe of uniquely motivated nobodies went about turning themselves into the ultimate somebodies, they also shaped us, our real lives and our fantasies. Uncommon People isn’t just their story. It’s ours as well.

Kimmie Rhodes: Radio Dreams Tour

*Tickets available – Please contact Waterfront Hall Box Office on  02890 334455*

Radio Dreams is a ‘duet memoir’ which invites readers into the unique and private world of platinum-selling songwriter and recording artist Kimmie Rhodes and her deceased soul mate, beloved radio personality Joe Gracey, Jr.

Weaving her own poetic prose with wry and witty words from his journals, Rhodes returns him to the conversation to tell the fascinating story of their three decades together.

Riding with fellow outlaws Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Cowboy Jack Clement, Emmylou Harris, and other famous and infamous characters, they helped make American music history before facing Gracey’s final cancer battle.

Through triumph and tragedy, grief and gratitude, these pages express the extraordinary life and inspiring love they shared.

To coincide with the Spring release of Radio Dreams and a companion audio documentary and retrospective CD we’re delighted to welcome BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McLean and Kimmie to a special “In Conversation With” show where, no doubt, a few songs will also be forthcoming.

Doors 7:45pm | Unreserved Seating


Paul Durcan

Paul Durcan is one of the greatest living English language poets. He is a member of Aosdána, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Irish Book Award, and is known as Ireland’s most playful poet.

A Paul Durcan public reading is like no other. Audiences come away drained and cleansed as if from a secular mass. He can be funnier than any stand-up, dramatic as many an actor, but once heard, the sotto voce incantatory style is never forgotten.

His recent collection The Days of Surprise contains 67 poems on topics as disparate as the weather forecast, the war in Syria, a visit to the GP’s surgery, the joys of retail therapy, clampers and  the ‘starry mystique’ of the weather forecaster Jean Byrne.

Perhaps the greatest surprise is the voice of the late Seamus Heaney coming down his chimney: ‘Are you all right down there, Poet Durcan?’ The Days of Surprise is proof that the great poet of contemporary Ireland is in fine fettle.

‘It was mesmerising and spellbinding and deeply affecting, each poem received in awed silence.’ – HERALD

Doors 12:45pm | Unreserved Seating

Liz Nugent

*Limited tickets available on the Door*

Before becoming a full-time writer, Liz Nugent  worked in Irish film, theatre and television. In 2014 her first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was a Number One bestseller and won the Crime Fiction Prize in the 2014 Irish Book Awards.

Her second novel, Lying in Wait, went straight to Number One in the Irish bestseller charts, remained there for nearly two months and won her a second IBA.

Tonight’s event marks the launch of third novel, Skin Deep which will be published by Penguin Books in the UK and Ireland in Spring 2018.

Aside from writing, Liz has led workshops in writing drama for broadcast, she has produced and managed literary salons and curated the literary strand of Skibbereen Arts Festival in July 2016.

Doors 7:15pm | Unreserved Seating

Elizabeth Day

*Tickets available on the Door*

Elizabeth Day is the author of Scissors, Paper, Stone, which won a Betty Trask Award, and Home Fires. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the Evening Standard, The Sunday Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday, and is now a feature writer for The Observer. She grew up in Northern Ireland, and currently lives in London.

Elizabeth Day’s acclaimed new novel The Party is a taut psychological tale of obsession and betrayal set over the course of a dinner party. Two married couples, in a single evening, will come to question everything they thought they knew about each other, as the long-buried secret at the heart of their friendship comes to the surface, culminating in an explosive act of violence.

‘A terrifying, hilarious, brilliantly written original with a wit to die for ‘PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDE (Creator of Fleabag)

‘Witty, dark and compelling’ – SEBASTIAN FAULKS

Doors 7:15pm | Unreserved Seating

New Voices – Annemarie Ní Churreáin with Wendy Erskine

*Tickets available on the Door*

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from North West Donegal. She has been awarded literary fellowships by Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany), Jack Kerouac House (Orlando) and Hawthornden Castle (Scotland).

In 2016 Ní Churreáin was the recipient of a Next Generation Artists Award from the Arts Council. In 2017, she was appointed to the Writer In Prisons Panel co-funded by the Arts Council & the Department of Justice and Equality.

Ní Churreáin’s debut collection of poetry ‘BLOODROOT’ is published by Doire Press (2017)

Wendy Erskine is from Belfast.  Her short stories have appeared in The Stinging Fly and Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland.

Her debut collection will be published by The Stinging Fly Press in 2018.

Doors 7:15pm | Unreserved Seating

Stuart Bailie – Trouble Songs, Music and Conflict in NI

Book readings plus live music from XSLF and a Terri Hooley DJ set.

Trouble Songs is the story of music and conflict in Northern Ireland since 1968. It is told through the words of Bono, Christy Moore, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Orbital, Kevin Rowland, Terri Hooley and The Miami Showband survivors.

They tell how musicians from punk, folk, rave and rock have responded to violence, bigotry and shocking events. The soundtrack includes remarkable work by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Sinead O’ Connor, The Pogues, The Cranberries and Elvis Costello.

Stuart Bailie, the Belfast-based music journalist and broadcaster, has conducted over 60 interviews and reveals many untold histories. Trouble Songs is an alternative hearing of the conflict and a testament to music’s value as a persuader, agitator and peacemaker.

XSLF features Henry Cluney on guitar and vocals and Jim Reilly on drums. The two Stiff Little Fingers veterans are joined on stage by Ave Tsarion on bass. Expect to hear Barbed Wire Love, Nobody’s Hero and Alternative Ulster along with new tracks from their album Arrup Bang.

Doors 9:00pm | Unreserved Seating

Will Carruthers

*Tickets available on the Door*

Author Will Carruthers comes to CQAF with tales of his chequered career, which has frequently veered from the sublime to the ridiculous and rarely lacking a sense of humour about the whole thing.

Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands tells the story of one of the most influential, revered and ultimately demented British bands of the 1980s, Spacemen 3. In classic rock ‘n’ roll style they split up on the brink of their major breakthrough.

As the decade turned sour and acid house hit the news, Rugby’s finest imploded spectacularly, with Jason Pierce (aka Jason Spaceman) and Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom) going their separate ways.

Here, Will Carruthers tells the whole sorry story and the segue into Spiritualized in one of the funniest and most memorable memoirs committed to the page.

Doors 12:45pm | Unreserved Seating

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The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Out To Lunch are annual festivals of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature which take place in January and May in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival / Out To Lunch Arts Festival
Unit 8
Northern Whig House
Bridge Street