Belfast Cathedral has appointed poet and writer Deirdre Cartmill as its first Writer in Residence.
Deirdre will take up her residency in the cathedral over the summer, writing a series of poems inspired by her time in St Anne’s.
During the residency, Deirdre will run a writing workshop themed around the cathedral, and will also host a post-residency reading and Q&A, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.
Belfast Cathedral is hoping that Deirdre will be the first of many Artists in Residence. Follow Deirdre’s journey on the cathedral Instagram page where she will be sharing her insights, inspiration and experiences throughout her residency.
Deirdre said: “I’m very excited to be Writer in Residence for St Anne’s Cathedral. As a poet, the cathedral provides the perfect environment for contemplation, reflection and endless inspiration.
“This residency has a very personal meaning for me. I had two heart attacks in a week at 43 and my life fell apart. I had to find a new way of living and I stumbled onto a spiritual journey. It turned my received ideas on their head. Now, as well as being a writer, I’m also a spiritual teacher and healer.”
Deirdre added: “During my time in the cathedral I hope to explore the tension I feel between religious labels and my own personal experiences of spirituality.
“I’m sure it will also provoke some thoughts on my upbringing. I was brought up Catholic and it will be interesting to explore the similarities and differences between my childhood experiences and the world of this Church of Ireland cathedral.
“But there is so much more to write about too – the beauty, the history, the endless stream of souls passing through.
“I’m also feeling the excitement and trepidation of coming out of lockdown and entering this beautiful place full of visitors and tourists. Some of my writing will reflect the joys, fears, strangeness and wonder of returning to some sort of normality.”
More about Deirdre
Born in Moy, Co Tyrone, Deirdre Cartmill is an award-winning poet, writer and screenwriter.
She has published two poetry collections with Lagan Press The Return of the Buffalo and Midnight Solo.
She was Monaghan County Libraries’ Writer in Residence 2020 and has previously been IWC Roaming Writer in Residence, IWC Community Writer in Residence with Women’s Aid, and joint Artist in Residence at the Belfast International Arts Festival. She co-commissioned and curated Ireland’s first poetry jukebox which is now a permanent installation in Belfast. She is one of the originating artists on the collaborative project Bridging the Silence – a poetic audio walk and installation shown on pedestrian bridges which gives a voice to survivors of abuse and political violence.
Her poetry has been widely published. She has performed many poetry readings across Ireland and Europe. She read at the first Muldoon’s Picnic to be held outside New York.
Deirdre is also an award winning screenwriter and playwright and has written for TV, film, radio and theatre.