Last Friday marked the finale of Northern Soul Roadshow 2024! After a 6-week online programme where the 20 selected writers met and learnt from a panel of writers from the north, the programme concluded with an in-person showcase at the Linen Hall, Belfast. Curated by writer-facilitator Fiona O’Rourke, this event featured special guest author Anna Burns and showcased the new work from writers who took part in Northern Soul Roadshow 2024.

Thank you Linen Hall for hosting this incredible public showcase! We had a wonderful time hearing snippets of the programme participants’ writing. It was also a real treat to hear work-in progress from author Anna Burns. Anna also gave some words of inspiration to the writers, and described the joy of working with your imagination in those early stages of the writing process… ‘entering infinity when you’re dealing with the invisible.’

Northern Soul Roadshow is a 6-week programme for 20 selected writers to meet and learn from a panel of North of Ireland writers whose work illuminates the varied and diverse experiences of people from the north and those who call it home. This was the first time that the programme concluded with an in-person showcase, creating the opportunity for the writers to meet in-person after spending the last 6 weeks communicating via Zoom.

Fiona O’Rourke, curator and facilitator of Northern Soul Roadshow, reflected on the day’s event, ‘There’s no better showcase than a live one to really hear a writer’s actual voice and the voice of their work’. Wishing the Northern Soul Roadshow writing community continued success with their creativity. Thanks to the Irish Writers Centre, the Linen Hall in Belfast, and the Arts Council for Northern Ireland for making this all-island writers’ showcase possible.”

Kyle Mulholland, Northern Soul Roadshow writer, says ‘Writing is a solitary pursuit by necessity, and this makes a sense of community all the more important for emerging writers. Taking part in the Northern Soul Roadshow has been a massive privilege and a wonderful opportunity to take part in collaborations that can be so rare in this practice.’

Rory Milhench said that ‘it was amazing for me as an emerging writer to have such a large and warm audience in my hometown of Belfast listen to my work and that of my peers. It was a moment that filled me with great pride and gratitude.”

See a selections of photos from the event below:

Northern Soul Roadshow participants 2024 at The Linen Hall, Belfast 22.03.2024

Anna Burns reads her work in front of the audience at the Linen Hall, Belfast. 22.03.2024

Fiona O’Rourke and Anna Burns at The Linen Hall, Belfast. 22.03.2024

Anna Burns at The Linen Hall, Belfast. 22.03.2024

Thank you to Fiona O’Rourke for curating and facilitating the Northern Soul Roadshow 2024. Thank you to the 12 guest writers who featured in the online workshops across the 6-weeks: Toby Buckley, Deirdre Cartmill, Emily Cooper, Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Shakeema Edwards, Maria Fusco, Byddi Lee, Tony Macaulay, Bernie McGill , Abby Oliveira , Pallavi Padma-Uday and Dawn Watson. Thank you to the 20 writers awarded a place on this year’s Northern Should Roadshow 2024 for participating in the programme: Joseph Black, Tess Davidson, Teri Donaghy, Cian Dunne, Darcey Dugan, Damien B. Donnelly, Heather Fleming, Anita Gracey, Sarah Little, Aileen Malone, Paddy McCurdie, Rory Milhench, Louise McKeever, Marty Mckenna, Conal McManus, Kyle Mulholland, Theresa Ryder, MariannaPatané , Beckie Stew and Remco van Straten. Thank you to The Linen Hall for hosting the showcase and finally, we would like to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for funding this programme.


“The Northern Soul Roadshow challenged me out of my comfort zone. It was absolutely invigorating to read, hear and get to know artists (both guess and other participants) whose work is so different than my own, then find the common ground and learn from them. The programme was tilling a fertile soil for future exploration and collaboration, and the live event was the feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest!” – Remco van Straten
The 2024 Roadshow journey from zoom-room to The Linen Hall was filled with crumbling barriers to creativity and uncovering stories once hidden behind borders. – Damien B. Donnelly