Investing in Joy

*This piece was first published in the new quarterly Arts & Business NI magazine 'The Spark'.

Throughout the pandemic, one purely selfish loss I’ve felt has been what a colleague terms ‘happenstance’ – the unexpected bumping into someone you know, and standing around shooting the breeze for too long until you’re late for your next appointment. Belfast lends itself incredibly well to this sort of random encounter. Over the past decade that I’ve worked in the arts in NI, this has long been my favourite thing about working in a small, interconnected place, and I’ve missed it terribly.

SHC X Fighting Words

Students and staff at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University together with Kelly McCaughrain (Children's Writing Fellow and great friend of Fighting Words NI) have made these wonderful ‘tiny masterclasses’ which focus on all aspects of creative writing, to help and inspire young writers.  

Flash Fiction with Kelly McCaughrain 

Kelly McCaughrain shows us how we can tell stories in just a few words, that leave our readers wanting more. 

Job Opportunity: Fighting Words NI is recruiting a Community Engagement Officer

In response to the recent expansion of our creative writing programme on-line, reaching children and young people all across Northern Ireland, and engaging with new partners and projects, Fighting Words Northern Ireland is recruiting a Community Engagement Officer.

Supported by the Tomar Trust and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Fighting Words NI seeks a Community Engagement Officer to co-ordinate Writing the Future: an exciting creative-engagement project working with young people across the region.

Cathleen Young Announced as Inaugural Fighting Words Writing Fellow with Queen's University Belfast

Picture of Cathleen Young, Fighting Words Writing Fellow in association with The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University.  Cathleen is wearing glasses and has short blonde hair.  She is looking directly at the camera and smiling.Fighting Words Northern Ireland and Fighting Words are delighted to welcome Cathleen Young as our inaugural Fighting Words Writing Fellow in association with The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University Belfast. 

Cathleen comes to us by way of the HUMANITAS Prize in Hollywood, California where she was the Executive Director from 2007-2021. She is an award-winning television writer as well as a children’s author. Her debut novel, The Pumpkin War, won The Christopher Award in 2020.

Fighting Words Northern Ireland appoints new Director

Image of Hilary Copeland, Director of Fighting Words in Northern Ireland8th February 2021

 Fighting Words Northern Ireland, the creative writing network for children and young people has announced the appointment of Hilary Copeland as Director.   

 Ms Copeland will take up the role in March 2021 and is currently Deputy Director at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin, having joined the team as Acting Director in July 2019. She has worked in literature and arts management since 2008, delivering expertise across business management, strategic planning, creative programming and event delivery for festivals, arts and theatre companies and nonprofits in Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin.

Fighting Words NI is Hiring!

Fighting Words NI seeks a Cross-Community Officer to manage Write the Future: an exciting creative-engagement project addressing reconciliation & disadvantage. Full-time, 18-month contract. Closing date is 22 January 2021.

Write the Future is an exciting new creative engagement project with young people across the region. We are recruiting a Cross-Community Officer to project manage this initiative, and leading this work as Fighting Words NI is extending our reach across Northern Ireland and the border counties, enhancing our work in the areas of reconciliation and disadvantage.

Déan ceiliúradh ar Dhá Scéal Déag na Nollag le Fighting Words agus le Graffiti Theatre Company!

An Nollaig seo, ba mhaith le Fighting Words agus le Graffiti Theatre Company cuireadh a thabhairt do scríbhneoirí óga idir 6 agus 12 bliain d’aois a scéal Nollag féin a scríobh! Tá sé níos tábhachtaí i mbliana ná bhí sé riamh spiorad na féile a chothú, mar sin cuir do shamhlaíocht ag obair agus cum scéal nua.

Cum Scéal Nollag le Cabhair ónar gCairde

D’iarr muid ar ár gcairde tús a chur leis na scéalta ionas go mbeadh cabhair agaibhse agus sibh ag tosú - cliceáil ar na naisc thíos le breathnú ar thús na scéalta agus beidh tú féin in ann críoch a chur leo.

Celebrate The 12 Stories of Christmas with Fighting Words and Graffiti Theatre Company!

The 12 stories of Christmas

This festive season, Fighting Words and Graffiti Theatre Company are inviting young writers between the ages of 6 and 12 years to write your own Christmas story! Spreading holiday cheer is more important than ever this year, so fire up your imagination and create a new classic tale.

Create a Christmas Story with Some Help from Our Friends!

To help you get started, we have asked some of our friends to craft story prompts - click on the links below to watch the start of a new story that you can finish yourself.

There are twelve stories in all - click on the links to hear stories by authors and performers from all over the island of Ireland in English and in Irish!

Lighthouse Storybook: The Perfect Christmas Gift!

The front cover of the Lighthouse StorybookSupport children's charities and children's writing, put our Lighthouse Storybook on your Christmas list

Christmas is coming and we have just the stocking-filler for you!


Earlier this year, Fighting Words and Great Lighthouses of Ireland launched the Young Storykeepers initiative. We invited submissions of original writing inspired by lighthouses from young writers aged 7-12.