• About The Frances Browne Literary Festival

    12th to 15th October 2023

    Our festival is inspired by the life and work of Frances Browne, the Blind Poetess of Ulster (1816-1879) who was born in Stranorlar. Our aim is to promote a revival of interest in Frances in her native area and beyond. By reviving the literary legacy of Frances Browne we celebrate the
    unique linguistic and cultural diversity of this part of Donegal, the only place in Ireland where Irish, English and Ulster-Scots language is spoken on a daily basis.


    In honour of Frances we also celebrate and support writers, artists and musicians - new, established and unjustly forgotten - who add to the richness of her legacy. We seek to tell the stories of other, less well known writers, from the North West in all traditions. We work with schools to bring not only an awareness of the lives and works of these writers, but the principles and values they upheld which are as pertinent in today's society as it was in theirs. And we invite leading authors, directors, artists and academics to share in the conversation with us.


    The Festival incorporates the Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition. And we celebrate those who have worked to promote and preserve Frances's legacy by awarding the annual France Browne Award.


    Our carefully curated programme is not limited to literary events. It embraces all art-forms including theatre, music, singing, song-writing, drawing, painting, photography, which gives it a broad appeal to a variety of audiences. We have incorporated events that appeal to children and families and a range of age groups.

  • 2023 FESTIVAL -

    Dates Announced

    We look forward to welcoming you to our 2023 Festival from

    12th to 15th October 2023.


    Programme details, and information about our

    2023 Poetry Competition, will be released shortly.

  • Frances for Children

    Although Frances wrote widely about all kinds of topics, in all kinds of media, her enduring legacy to date has been her writing for children.

    Granny's Wonderful Chair is her best known work and was a worldwide best seller. Every year we celebrate this aspect of Frances by including events dedicated to the younger generation in our programme.


    Frances Browne and Lottie Dolls

    We are delighted to partner with Lottie Dolls on a special project to bring Frances to life for children globally.


    In 2021 we began a partnership with Lottie Dolls to bring Frances back to global recognition through their ambitious and successful vision to ensure children and childhood are represented in the toys they play with.

    About Lottie Dolls

    Based in Donegal, on the North-West coast of Ireland, Team Lottie is made up of people – three quarters of whom are women - who are passionate about preserving the magic of childhood.


    Find out more about Lottie Dolls here

  • 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.

    Inaugural Frances Browne Award 2021 Paddy Bonar

    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.

    You can access Paddy's website and details of his book here. 


    The Award was kindly sponsored by Karen Murphy Speech, Drama & Communications

    Frances Browne Award 2022 Celine McGlynn

    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.