Mindshift: The Business of Writing - Belfast

Mindshift: The Business of Writing - Belfast

Starts: Sat 23 March 2019
Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm

Duration: 1 Day
Cost: €28/£25 

Location: The MAC, Belfast

Now, more than ever, it's imperative to make The Business of Writing, your business. Helping you to achieve your writing career best will be Valerie Bistany, Director of The Irish Writers Centre, who shares her experiences with participants on the process of writing applications for bursaries, residencies, retreats and other writing opportunities. Richard Combes, Head of Rights and Licencing at ALCS, explains copyright law and issues surrounding authors rights, while Hilary Copeland, General Manager of The Hewitt Society, and Rachel Kennedy, Director of the EastSide Arts Festival, advise on pitching to festivals. Drawing the day to a close,  Conor Kostick, Disputes Officer of the Irish Writers Union, discusses contract law.

These professional development sessions are aimed at established and emerging writers and will focus on the business aspect of writing. All sessions will allow time for Q&A.

10.30am-11.40am: Do's and Don'ts of Application Writing with Valerie Bistany: Learn how to communicate more effectively and present your best self on the page. Topics will include how to draft a quality writer's CV, how to make your application stand out from the rest and what to avoid. 

11.50am –1.00pm: Copyright & Authors’ Rights with Richard Combes:  What is copyright and what does it allow and prevent? Is it a barrier to innovation or does it adequately protect creators’ rights? Find out all you need to know on getting legal advice for writers, to issues of plagiarism and (illegal) downloads, etc.

2pm-3.10pm: How to Pitch to Festivals with Hilary Copeland and Rachel Kennedy, chaired by Valerie BistanyAre you looking to take part in more literary events and festivals? This panel discussion on when and to whom you should pitch, which are the best festivals for you and how to create an innovative submission package will greatly enhance your chances of getting the gig and connecting with – and even wowing – an audience.

 3.20pm-4.30pm: Writers' Contracts with Conor Kostick: There is always a tension between the ideal author-publisher agreement and the attainable. Each clause, and every situation can be negotiable. Writers should bear this in mind when examining an offered contract. This seminar will cover details on the optimum contract a writer might hope to obtain from a publisher. 


 Valerie Bistany is Director of the Irish Writers Centre. She is a professional arts manager, producer and event coordinator with 20+ years of international experience in the industry. She curates the Centre's residency and bursary schemes and is an experienced freelance facilitative consultant in strategic and vision planning.

Richard Combes has been Head of Rights and Licensing with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society in London since 2007. His work at ALCS focuses on the development of collective rights and licensing schemes in the UK and internationally, aimed at providing writers with fair remuneration for the re-use of their work. He represents ALCS on the Boards of the British Copyright Council and the Educational Recording Agency, of which he is currently Vice-Chair.

Hilary Copeland has worked in arts management for over ten years. She started her career at the Stanza Poetry Festival and The Byre Theatre before joining the Programming Team at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She has worked for clients including NI Science Festival, Kabosh, Culture Northern Ireland, Whittrick Press, Belfast Book Festival and Young at Art. Hilary was appointed General Manager of The John Hewitt Society in 2014 and runs the Hillsborough Festival of Literature & Ideas and the John Hewitt International Summer School. She is Literary Advisor for the Belfast International Arts Festival and a board member of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

Rachel Kennedy joined the EastSide Partnership as the Manager of EastSide Arts in January 2016 and is responsible for the overall vision and strategic direction of EastSide Arts as well as being the Director of the EastSide Arts and C.S. Lewis Festivals. She is passionate about creative collaborations with artists and venues to deliver really exciting and unique events for residents of and visitors to the east. Rachel was formerly  Arts Officer with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, running the live programme at Down Arts Centre for almost ten years, and was a Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme in 2012/13.

Conor Kostick is the author of a number of successful books and was the 2010 Farmleigh Writer-in-Residence. He has been the Disputes Officer of the Irish Writers Union for eight years and is also a delegate to the European Writers Council and International Authors Forum.

Kindly supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland

Arts Council Northern Ireland Funding

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