Setting the Scene


Declan Burke, Jan Carson, Glenn Patterson and Henry McDonald

Saturday 16 November

Time: 3pm

Venue: Irish Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Square N, Rotunda, Dublin 1

€10/€8 concession

This event is supported by The Arts Council Northern Ireland – National Lottery Fund






Join Northern Irish writers, Jan Carson (Belfast Stories, Doire Press), Henry McDonald (Two Souls, Merrion Press) and Glenn Patterson (Belfast Stories, Doire Press) for a compelling discussion on the creation and importance of having a sense of place when writing stories. This informative event is for established or emerging writers seeking tips and advice on mastering the skill of developing a sense of place in your story. Jan Carson, author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears and her latest release, The Fire Starters. A staff writer for The Guardian and The Observer, Henry McDonald has written eight non-fiction books including the histories of terror groups ranging from the INLA to the UVF; Two Souls is his second venture into the world of fiction. Glenn Patterson’s new novel, Where Are We Now?, will be published in March 2020; Glenn is a Belfast-based author and has published 10 novels and two essay collections. This event is supported by the Arts Council Northern Irish Lottery Funds.


Book Now

Declan Burke is the author of six novels. Eightball Boogie (2003), Absolute Zero Cool (2011) and Slaughter’s Hound (2012) were shortlisted in the crime fiction section for the Irish Book Awards. Absolute Zero Cool won the Goldsboro Award in 2012. He is also the editor of Down These Green Streets (2011) and Trouble is Our Business (2016), and the co-editor, with John Connolly, of Books to Die For (2013), which won the Anthony Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime. The Lammisters, a comic novel, is published by No Alibis Press.


Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim, followed by a short story collection, Children’s Children (2016), and a flash fiction anthology, Postcard Stories (2017). Her work has appeared in numerous journals and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. In 2016 she won the Harper’s Bazaar short story competition and was shortlisted for the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize. She specializes in running arts projects and events with older people, especially those living with dementia. The Fire Starters is her second novel. She is a contributor to Belfast Stories (Doire Press).


Henry McDonald is a staff writer for The Guardian and The Observer and has been a journalist covering conflicts around the world but specialising in the Northern Ireland Troubles for more than 30 years. He is the author of eight critically acclaimed non-fiction books including the histories of terror groups ranging from the INLA to the UVF. McDonald grew up in central Belfast and witnessed first-hand many of the key early events of the Troubles from Internment in 1971 to the carnage of Bloody Friday a year later. He was a punk rocker in the 1970s as well as a follower of Cliftonville Football Club, which he supports to this day. Two Souls is his second novel.


Glenn Patterson was born, and lives, in Belfast. He is the author of ten novels, including The International, The Mill for Grinding Old People Young (Belfast’s first One City One Book Choice]) and Gull, set in the DeLorean Motor Company’s Belfast factory in the early 1980s. He has published two collections of essays and articles – Lapsed Protestant and Here’s Me Here – and two other non-fiction works, the most recent of which, Backstop Land, has just been published.  He is the co-writer, with Colin Carberry, of Good Vibrations (BBC Films), which the pair later adapted for stage, and in 2016 he wrote the libretto for Long Story Short: the Belfast Opera, composed by Neil Martin. A new novel, Where Are We Now? , will be published by Head of Zeus in March 2020. He is the Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is a contributor to Belfast Stories (Doire Press).