Readings / Public Events


Launch of Gaynor Kane’s Eight Types of Love, 13 August 2022, Carnegie Library, Bangor, Co Down

I was honoured to be one of the guest readers at the launch of Gaynor Kane’s poetry collection “Eight Types of Love”, on Saturday, 13th August 2022, in Bangor’s Carnegie Library – more details on my blog, here


Launch of Mícheál McCann’s Keeper, 10th August 2022 Sunflower Bar, Belfast

I was one of the guest readers at this lovely poetry launch. See more details on my blog – here!


Belfast Book Festival 2022

  1. Poetry Reading:

The Lifeboat presents Queering the Green, with editor Paul Maddern.

Tuesday 14 June 2022, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

The four readers as found in the BBF22 booklet

It was an honour to read with Dawn Watson (@yopopodawn), Anne-Marie Ní Churreáin (@NiChurr), and the inimitable Paul Maddern (@Backmuir). I think we did ourselves proud!

2. Flying Home: The World Of Swifts – Sarah Gibson & Mary Montague

A conversation with the author of “Swifts and Us”. Thursday 16 June 2022, 6pm

The World of Swifts. A wonderful discussion of the species and of Sarah’s book “Swifts and Us”

Sarah (@WindsweptSarah) and I had a wonderful conversation about swifts and humans. Her book ‘Swifts and Us” sold out! I also had the pleasure of reading a new poem of mine, ‘Crescent Swift’, commissioned for this event by the Crescent Arts Centre. The poem can be seen on screen in the background, and will soon be displayed on a more permanent basis.

Sarah Gibson and I in conversation; ‘Crescent Swift’ in the background. Photo by Sophie Hayles
Sarah Gibson reading from her book “Swifts and Us”. Photo by Sophie Hayles

3. A Poetic Flight

Swifts are a treasured feature of the Crescent Arts Centre, and were creatively celebrated throughout 2022’s Belfast Book Festival, as was the broader theme of flight. I had the honour of having my poem ‘Swallows’ on display with that of Ukrainian poet Natalka Bilotserkivetsa:

Swallows, by Natalka Bilotserkivets,
part of the installation on the theme of ‘A Poetic Flight” at BBF@22

Swallows, by Mary Montague (Tribe, Dedalus Press 2008).

There was also wonderful visual art work. In the photos of the conversation between Sarah and myself, the work-in-progress of artist Bill Gatt can be seen. And in the stairwell between the second and third floors of the Crescent Arts Centre, there is a wonderful installation by artist Patrick Murphy:

The swifts are back by Patrick Murphy

Many thanks for Sophie Hayles, CEO at the Crescent, to Gail Jones, Communications Manager, and to all the staff and volunteers at the Festival. It was really wonderful. Thanks also to the warm and appreciative audiences throughout.


15 March 2022

As part of the St Patrick’s Symposium, Tending the Planet, at the MarketPlace Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh

I had the honour of reading, along with fellow poet Niamh McNally, at this stimulating, alarming and wonderful event. Great to hear Professor John Barry, as well; and young climate activists including Anna Kernanhan also.

That’s me reading very primly. Photo thanks to John Barry

9 March 2022

At the Irish Secretariat, Linenhall Street, Belfast

To showcase and celebrate Queering the Green, an anthology of queer Irish voices post-2000 introduced by QtG’s editor Paul Maddern, I had the pleasure of reading with Sacha White, Mícheál McCann and Mark Ward. This was part of the Prophets, Makers and Risk-takers festival – a Showcase of Northern Irish Writing. Many thanks to Manuela & Stephen of Lifeboat Press, and to all those at the Secretariat for a wonderful evening. And to the audience for showing up!

Don’t we all look the part! L to R: Mícheál, Mark, Paul (ed.), Sacha & myself

9 December 2020

With John Knowles and Maureen Hill, as part of the Zoom reading to launch Paul Jeffcutt’s second collection, The Skylark’s Call. Also reading were Kevin Higgins, Damian Smyth and Moyra Donaldson. It was a inspiring evening and many thanks to Paul for his invitation to take part, and to publishers Dempsey and Windle for hosting.


30 April 2020

Ireland Performs: Living Room Folk Session 

For Poetry Day (funded and supported by Culture Ireland, Poetry Ireland, First Music Contact, and Facebook for their support ) this was the first online Living Room Folk Session. This event was ably hosted and splendidly organised by the wonderful Máiread O’Donnell.


12 May 2019

With Ray Givans & Martha McGonigle &   John McAllister , I  was an invited reader for  Poems on a Sunday Afternoon at the Arts Centre in Downpatrick on the afternoon of Sunday May 12th. Many thanks to John for the invitation, and to Olive Broderick for organising & compering.



Spring 2018 Readings

  • The launch of Love Lough Beg for World Wetlands Day, Friday 2 February, at 2:00pm in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Thanks to Maria McManus for her kind invitation.
  • International Women’s Day Reading, with the Burnavon Writers’ Group, and Kate and Joan Newmann,  at 2pm on Thursday, 8 March at The Hub, Cookstown. Thanks to Maura Johnston for her kind invitation.



William Carleton Summer School, 15 September 2017

I was honoured to read at the William Carleton Summer School on Friday 15 September 2017, in the beautiful Corick House, in the Clogher Valley, Co Tyrone. See my blog post re same.



Landing places, Crescent Arts Centre, 29 July 2017

As part of the Landing Places – #saveheaneycountry #A6WinWinSolution.

I was honoured to take part in this event, with Iseult and Cian McGrory, Heather Newcombe, Jamie & Gary, Kathleen McCracken and Olive Broderick, Chris and Doris, Brigid O’Neill, Stephen James Smith, Paul Maddern and Moyra Donaldson, Dermot Hickson, Kate Newmann, Joan Newman, Maggie Croninand Wendy Jack

Maria McManus made it possible and Aisling Cowan made it magical.

Chris and Doris Murphy made it imperative.


Me, (reading), with Heather Newcombe (seated). Photo courtesy of Maria McManus.

IMG_0593.JPG  Doris and Maria


Oragami whooper swan, among other table decorations: artistry of Aisling Cowan. 


Women Aloud & The Belfast Book Festival 2017

I took part in the Women Aloud NI Readathon on 17 June 2017 at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. So many wonderful writers and a great way to spend the last afternoon of the festival.

I read “The Opposite Birds”, which, I can now announce (you heard it first here!), is forthcoming in Poetry Ireland Review (122). I’m particularly delighted about this publication as it was chosen by PIR’s current editor, the august Eavan Boland.


With thanks to Anne McMaster for the photo.


Lunar Poetry Podcasting

With Anne McMaster, I read for a Lunar Poetry Podcast on 12 June 2017, as part of the Belfast Book Festival.

Among the poems I read were:

Anne also discussed Women Aloud and its explosive impact on the visibility of female writers in Northern Ireland.

Click HERE for the full podcast.

It was lovely to meet David Turner and Lizzie Turner (née Palmer) of Lunar Poetry, who, granted by the Arts Council of England, and following the successes of both Lunar Poetry and Woman Aloud NI in the Saboteur Awards (Women Aloud won the Best WildCard, for which Lunar Poetry Podcasts was also shortlisted), travelled to Belfast to do the recordings for the readings and interview.

As always when it comes to Women Aloud, thanks to the indefatigable Jane Talbot for this showcase.


Arlen House Booklaunches

On Friday 19 May 2017, at the Linenhall Library, Belfast, I was one of the poets reading at the double booklaunch by Arlen House of:

  1.  Washing Windows? Irish Women Write Poetry (ed. Alan Hayes); 
  2. Eavan Boland: Inside History (ed. Nessa O’Mahony and Siobhán Campbell).

The event celebrated the 40th anniversary of Arlen House, Ireland’s chief feminist press, and Eavan Boland’s profound influence – as poet, and as critical voice; as well as the work of 100 female Irish poets.

It was a great afternoon with a capacity crowd.


Photos by myself and Maura Johnston


AE Open Mic

  • Poetry reading to mark the 150th anniversary of George Russell‘s (AE) birth in the Beehive Bar, Lurgan, the building where George Russell (AE) was born.  Local poet Martelle McPartland hosted this event, 10 April 2017.

Me doing some serious reading at the event! Photo by Martelle McPartland.

Me in Lurgan


Belfast Women Aloud Poster
  • Science meets Poetry III Conference 2012, European Science Open Forum, Trinity College, Dublin, 14 July 2012.
  • Launch of Quatre poètes irlandais, Irish Cultural Centre, Paris, France, 16 July 2011
  • Launch of Tribe (2008): Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, 3 October 2008; Bluestacks Festival 5 October 2008; Damer Hall, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 4 November 2008.
  • William Carleton Summer School, Clogher, Co Tyrone, 8 August 2006 & 9 August 2007.
  • Out to Lunch Reading, Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin, 8 December 2006
  • Summer Palace Press reading at The Troubadour, Earl’s Court, London, 6 February 2006
  • Centenary Patrick Kavanagh Festival, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, 27 Nov 2004
  • Bluestacks Festival, Co Donegal, 4 October 2003
  • Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Poetry Now Festival, 23 March 2003
  • Belfast Festival at Queen’s, 9 Nov 2002
  • Derry launch of Breaking the Skin, Verbal Arts Centre, Derry 25 Oct 2002
  • The Gathering Festival, Verbal Arts Centre, Derry, 7 Oct 2002
  • Launch of Black Wolf on a White Plain (2001): Scríobh Festival Sligo; Ardhowen Centre, Enniskillen; Verbal Arts Centre, Derry
  • Launch of Beyond the Rubicon (1999): Arts Centre Letterkenny; Verbal Arts Centre, Letterkenny; Irish Writers’ Centre Dublin; Creative Writers Network, Belfast