Tuesday 02 April 2019


Gear up for the first ever JLF Belfast: Festiaval runs 21-23 June 2019 

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in partnership with the British Council and the producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival in India, have unveiled plans for a landmark event in June, set to bring in the magnificent energy and atmosphere of one of the world’s biggest and most spectacular literary festivals to Belfast. 

For the first time ever, the Jaipur Literature Festival comes to Belfast from 21-23 June 2019 at select iconic venues in the city to celebrate literature and the rich diversity in thought that it inspires. 

Since 2014, Teamwork Arts, the producers of the Festival, have expanded its global reach with editions in London, New York, Boulder, Houston, Adelaide, Toronto and now Belfast, recreating the spirit and magic of the original festival across the world. 

The Festival in Northern Ireland follows close on the heels of the sixth edition of ZEE JLF The British Library, which runs 14-16 June 2019. 

JLF Belfast will feature readings, panel discussions and debates with acclaimed writers and cultural thinkers from India, Ireland, the UK and more for a unique literature festival celebrating a joint love of books, creativity, music, and of sharing each other’s stories. Themes under discussion will include Borders, Gender, Poetry and Migration. 

The Festival will host events at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast on Saturday June 22nd and at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace on Sunday June 23rd 2019. 

The event was announced on Tuesday at a special event in Belfast. 

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council, commented: “It is with great pleasure that we can announce today that the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival is coming to Belfast. This is a new, two-day arts event for Northern Ireland which will celebrate our links with India and our shared love of conversation, literature and debate. Already confirmed for the programme are writers Pico Iyer, Navtej Sarna, David Park, Paul McVeigh, Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple.”

“Working with our partners at the Lyric Theatre and Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, this fantastic new three-day festival will be a platform for creating, sharing and promoting the creative arts and will deepen our partnership with key Indian cultural institutions. We very much look forward to welcoming international writers and audiences to the Festival here this summer and sharing our famous Northern Ireland hospitality.” 

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director Teamwork Arts, Producers of the Festival, said, “JLF at Belfast will explore our common legacy of post-conflict literature, cultural and political impact.  The Festival will showcase ideas and voices outside of the ‘Anglo-centric’ cultural expectations and will be a celebration of poetry, music and the written word.”

Jonathan Stewart, British Council, Director Northern Ireland, commented: “British Council is honoured to be working with our colleagues at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival to deepen the existing literature connections that we have with India, to welcome authors from India to Northern Ireland and share Indian writing and publishing with our audiences at the inaugural JLF at Belfast in June 2019.”

“Building inbound and outbound exchanges and opportunities between Northern Ireland and other countries including India is a key focus of the British Council’s work and the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is already a key platform for Northern Ireland writers working internationally.”  

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival takes place in India annually and has been described as ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’. Over the last twelve years, its size and reputation have grown exponentially and it is now considered one of the most important events of its kind across the globe, bringing together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports-persons and entertainers on one stage to engage in thoughtful dialogue and debate. 

Notes to Editor

For media enquiries, please contact:

Vidushi Khera

Senior Manager PR

Teamwork Arts


+91 9810498106

Sarah Coburn

Media Relations Officer 

Arts Council of Northern Ireland


+44 2892 623555 


JLF Belfast

21 – 23 June 2019

Full programme details will be released over the coming weeks. For more information on speakers and how to book your tickets visit www.jlflitfest.com/belfast.


About JLF Belfast

JLF Belfast embodies the magnificent spirit of Jaipur’s annual literary carnival bringing its inclusive and infectious camaraderie to the vibrant capital of Northern Ireland with a heady mix of writers, thinkers, poets, balladeers and raconteurs.

The Festival will reinforce South Asia’s unique literary heritage and JLF's international programme while infusing it with flavours true to the proud literary legacy of Ireland, blessed by the collective greatness of littérateurs like Anne Enright, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, James Joyce, Jennifer Johnston, John McGahern, Edna O'Brien and W.B. Yeats, to name just a few.

Website: http://jlflitfest.com/belfast

Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach. National Lottery-funded arts programmes are bringing communities closer together, tackling prejudice, racism, isolation and mental health and improving emotional wellbeing. 

www.artscouncil-ni.org (twitter) @ArtsCouncilNI   (Facebook) \ArtsCouncilNI

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund distributes a share of the money raised by The National Lottery for good causes. 

•Over £30m is raised for good causes every week

•More than 500,000 projects have been funded

•Over £36bn has been raised since the Lottery started

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. britishcouncil.org