Highlights from Book Week NI 2022

Highlights from Book Week NI 2022

Serena Terry and Richard O'Reilly (BBC)

Book Tree

What a fantastic week it was! I was so fortunate to be involved in the planning of the Headline events and was able to attend all of them. What a privilege to meet so many, both participants as well as lovely staff and members of the public.

Starting with Serena Terry in Derry on Monday who was ably interviewed by Richard O’Reilly from Radio Foyle. Anyone familiar with the ‘Mammy Banter’, TikTok sensation, or who may have picked up her book – ‘The Secret Life of an Uncool Mum’ will know the type of ‘Derry Girls’ humour that is so popular at the moment. Books by Serena Terry in our catalogue Serena is so down to earth and so open about her ethos of showing life how it is and has vowed not to present the false ‘Instagram perfection’ that is prevalent – the resulting ‘warts and all’ portrayal of Tara and her family combines humour with reality and is relatable to her audience.  She shared a lot about her own mental health struggles and the measures she takes to keep the anxiety under control. Well worth watching on our YouTube channel if you missed it.

Serena Terry, Julie Reid and Richard O'Reilly (BBC)

Serena Terry, Julie Reid and Richard O'Reilly (BBC)

Leesa Harker followed on Tuesday in conversation with Cate Conway. Leesa is the author of ‘50 Shades of Red, White and Blue’ from a few years ago – she has since moved to screen writing and film producing and is living evidence of how positive thinking and determination to succeed through major obstacles can change your life so dramatically. She has been involved in Hope Street recently and is developing her own production company now.

Colin Bateman was interviewed by Kathy Clugston from the BBC in Ballyclare on Tuesday evening and was given a rapturous welcome by an enthusiastic audience. He read from parts of his memoir ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and talked about his early years in the ’tough cul-de-sacs of Bangor’. Request the book here: Thunder and lightning. He entertained the audience with anecdotes from his life and writing over the years – a brilliant evening fuelled by a can of Pepsi Max – his only request from the staff!

Wednesday lunchtime was spent with Rev Richard Coles and Emma Vardy – the interview is also available on the YouTube channel with conversation varying from his new book a ‘cosy’ crime called ‘Murder before Evensong’, to coping with retirement, his reading habits and what he misses about being based in a parish.  Murder before Evensong : a Canon Clement mystery

Donal Ryan was next up, driving through torrential rain from Limerick to Belfast to entertain a packed audience in Lisburn Road Library. He read from his new book, An Post shortlisted title ‘The Queen of Dirt Island’. The Queen of Dirt Island He explained to the enthralled audience where his ideas come from and the inspiration the women in his life have had on his writing.

Thursday was an Author Panel chaired by John Self with Bernie McGill and Wendy Erskine to a packed Chichester Library audience. They discussed the genre of the Short Story featuring ‘This Train is For..’ Bernie’s new collection and ‘Dance Move’ the collection by Wendy Erskine. Request the books here - This Train is ForWendy Erskine books

Last but not least was Friday’s interview between Steve Cavanagh and fellow crime writer Stuart Neville. Steve talked in depth about his ‘modus operandi’ in developing his ideas and coming up with new ideas for each of his award winning books, using the court room to debunk false scientific evidence which is so popular in TV crime shows. His plots twist and turn keeping the reader in the dark until the last moment. A brilliant event! Request the book here - The Accomplice

I’m sure with all the excellent BBC coverage both on radio and TV as well as in Branch Libraries there were few people in NI who were unaware of Book Week NI last week and the hope is that the positive impact that reading and books can have on our lives has been brought back to the fore for some people. Possibly also, some may have been persuaded that Cold Water swimming is the way forward too!


Follow Just Jillian on X (@justjillianblog).