Businesses provide new window for Belfast literature

Businesses in Belfast are showcasing local literary talent in their shop windows.

A number of properties in and around the city centre have been decorated with quotations from some of the city’s leading authors and poets.

Authors such as Glenn Patterson and Robert McLiam Wilson, as well as poets Michael Longley and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney are among those whose work is featured on the banners.

The work is being featured in shop windows and office frontages.

Each banner also contains a QR code, allowing those with iPhones to access a ‘Literary Belfast’ app, with video guides to the city and its literature.

Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee said that literature was a “shop window” for cities, and that people learn and explore them through writers.

“Just as authors and poets explore the landscape around them through words, readers in turn use those words to explore and experience the sights and sounds that influenced those writers.

“With literary tourism contributing up to £2.6 billion a year to the British economy, it is important that we showcase our literary talent – and what better way to do it than by providing it with a literal shop window,” he added.

The initiative was headed by Arts & Business NI, who have established strong partnerships with Belfast City Centre Management, city centre landlords, property owners and local businesses to identify potential sites across the city.

“Embracing arts and culture can deliver for business and change the face of a city,” said Beverly Coomber, Business Development Manager with Arts and Business.

The ‘shop window’ initiative, however, is only one small part of the ‘Literary Belfast’ campaign which will be officially launched at a gala evening at the Ulster Hall on 6 September.

In addition to the iPhone app, the Belfast Poets and Writers Exhibition and the BBC Literary Archive will allow visitors and locals alike to explore the literary heritage of the city.

There will also be new and improved literary tours, and a revamped C.S. Lewis exhibition at the Belmont Tower and Linenhall Library.

The details of the campaign will be available in full on the website,

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