The Frances Browne Literary Festival
In honour of Frances Browne our Literary Festival celebrates and supports writers, artists and musicians - new, established and unjustly forgotten - who add to the richness of her legacy.
We'll be announcing our 2024 dates soon. In the meantime, take a look at what we got up to in 2023!
The festival is held in October of each year and is unique in featuring Irish, English, and Ulster-Scots. These are widely spoken today in the Finn Valley as they would have been during Frances's lifetime. This situation is unique in Ireland. We also seek to tell the stories of other, less well known writers, from the North West in all traditions.
Our carefully curated programme embraces all art-forms including theatre, music, singing, song-writing, drawing, painting, photography. We have incorporated events for children and families and a range of age groups.
We work with schools to raise awareness of Frances Browne, and of other forgotten literary voices from the North West - such as Sarah Leech - and the principles and values they upheld which are as pertinent in today's society as it was in theirs. We invite leading authors, directors, artists and academics to share in the conversation with us. And we celebrate those who have worked to promote and preserve Frances's legacy by awarding the annual France Browne Award.
The Festival incorporates the Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition.
The Annual Frances Browne Award
The Annual Frances Browne Award recognises individuals or groups who have contributed to the legacy of Frances Browne either directly by increasing awareness of Frances and her body of work, or by acting in a manner that espouses the values she upheld.
Celine McGlynn, Chairperson of the Frances Browne Literary Festival, was delighted to present the Inaugural Frances Browne Award to Paddy Bonar of Ballybofey. The award was presented during the Covid pandemic and was therefore presented to Mr Bonar at his home. Watch the presentation video here.
Paddy has been the instigator of a large body of research into both the life of Frances Browne and into her work that has emerged in the last 30 years. Through his own research, and by working with and encouraging others, he has brought Frances to life and restored her to a place of pride in her community. In particular, his book 'The Life and Works of Frances Browne' published in 2007 is a hugely valuable resource for anyone who wants to know more about 'The Blind Poetess of Ulster'
We owe Paddy a huge debt of gratitude for his perseverance and persistence and his continuing celebration of our very own literary heroine.
The Award was kindly sponsored by Karen Murphy Speech, Drama & Communications
Celine McGlynn was the recipient of the 2022 Frances Browne Award at the Poetry Awards event of the 2022 Festival. Celine has worked tirelessly to celebrate and promote the legacy of Frances Browne.
In the late 2000s Celine founded the Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Awards, an annual event celebrating the unique trilingual legacy of Stranorlar and its hinterland. She is a true innovator and entrepreneur, as well as a gifted poet and artist in her own right.
Her first poetry collection Forged in the Stars was published by Summer Palace Press in 2011. She edited the Best of William Allingham, and co-edited Sarah Leech: The Ulster-Scots Poetess of Raphoe, Co Donegal. In 1994 she co-founded the Finn Valley Voice, a newspaper that will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary, and has succeeded in surviving the digital age at a time when so many newspapers have not.
Celine co-founded the remarkable Fiach Arts Circle and the Errigal Writers, Letterkenny, both of which have encouraged and nurtured the talents of so many. Her interest and generosity towards other artists has touched many lives, and inspired them to be all that they can be. Celine’s passion and energy for art and culture, particularly the legacy of Frances Browne, is truly inspirational.
Frances Browne Literary Festival Committee © 2023