Tuesday 02 September 2014


Two of Northern Ireland's most celebrated poets, Colette Bryce and Leontia Flynn, will join Qatari poet Maryam Al Subaiey to read poems about journeys and discuss how their international travels with the British Council have inspired and informed their writing.

This event on 19 September is part of the British Council Writers Return live event series. Working with their network of international writers, the British Council’s Literature Department has programmed a series of evenings which will allow writers recently returned from their travels with the British Council to share new work inspired by their trips abroad: talking about where they’ve been; where they’re going; and how it informs their writing. 

Two of the poets speaking at the event have previous experience of travelling together with the British Council. In December 2013 and as part of Qatar UK Year of Culture 2013, Maryam Al Subaiey hosted Colette Bryce in Doha, Qatar, during the British Council’s Walking Cities programme in which poets are internationally paired and visit each other’s home cities. Maryam’s visit to Derry-Londonderry marks the completion of this project, where both she and Colette Bryce will be walking Derry-Londonderry on 17 to 19 September exploring the city’s literary and poetic sites.  

Colette Bryce said: “I’m looking forward to the event very much. It marks the finale to what has been a fascinating cultural exchange with Qatari writer Maryam Al Subaiey, and it's a welcome chance to hear the brilliant Leontia Flynn read from her poetry in Derry. The event will also allow me to launch my new collection The Whole & Rain-domed Universe - published the same week - in my home town.”

The Writers Return discussion also forms part of Culture Night celebrations, where on 19 September Derry-Londonderry will once again join a number of European cities to play host to an array of late night cultural activities for audiences to explore the best of local culture.

The British Council has already hosted past Writers Return events in York and Swansea, with Manchester and Edinburgh events planned following the discussion in Derry-Londonderry.

Tickets to the Writers Return event in Derry-Londonderry are free. The discussion will take place in the Verbal Arts Centre, Derry-Londonderry, on 19 September. The event will be recorded for a podcast. 

Colette Bryce is a Northern Irish poet born in Derry, Northern Ireland. She lived in London for ten years before moving to Scotland in 2002, and later to the North of England where she currently works as a freelance writer and editor. Her poetry collections with Picador include The Heel of Bernadette (2000), The Full Indian Rope Trick (2004) and Self-Portrait in the Dark (2008). Colette has held literary fellowships at the Universities of Dundee, Newcastle and Durham, and from 2009 to 2013 she was Poetry Editor at Poetry London. She received the Cholmondeley Award in 2010. Her new collection, The Whole & Rain-domed Universe, has been short-listed for the Forward Prize.

Leontia Flynn has published three collections of poetry. Her most recent, Profit and Loss (Jonathan Cape) was Poetry Book Society Choice for Autumn 2011 and Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. She has been awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Rooney Prize, the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Prize for Irish Literature and was this year’s recipient of the AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award. She has also written a book about reading the poetry of Medbh McGuckian.  Leontia Flynn lives in Belfast and is research fellow at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

Maryam Al Subaiey is a Qatari poet whose poems have been published in Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry in 2012. Al Subaiey said: “I am thrilled to be in Londonderry and have some of my poems read. It is a big opportunity for a Qatari voice to be heard. Thanks to British Council for such a unique and unforgettable experience.”

Notes to Editor

Event details

18.30, 19 September 2014

Verbal Arts Centre

Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within,

Derry~Londonderry, BT48 6PU

Tickets are free of charge. For more information please visit the Verbal Arts Centre website. http://theverbal.co/ 


For more information about the Writers Return series visit: http://literature.britishcouncil.org/projects/2013/writers-return/writer...

For further information on British Council Northern Ireland please contact: Claire McAuley T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Claire.McAuley@britishcouncil.org 

For more information about the Verbal Arts Centre contact:

Noe Lopez or Leona O’Neill

E. noe.lopez@theverbal.co or Leona.ONeill@theverbal.co

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the arts, education, English, science, sport and governance and last year we engaged face to face with 18.4 million people and reached 652 million. We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government. Our total turnover in 2009/10 was £705 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £211 million. For every £1 of government grant we receive, we earn £2.50 from other sources. For more information, please visit: http://nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow us on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI