Save the Date – Dementia Fiction Festival

We want to flag diary dates for our upcoming two-day festival/conference exploring dementia and fiction. It will take place at Accidental Theatre, Shaftesbury Square, Belfast on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th September 2021.

The festival will be hosted by the project team and will include keynotes, panels, workshops and readings. Writers, academics, people living with dementia and umbrella organisations will all be coming together for this important conversation, and the organisers hope many of you will join them too, either in person or online. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, there’ll be limited availability for in person places at the festival but all the sessions will be accessible online.

Further information and booking details to come. For now, please save the date. You can find out more about the Dementia Fiction project by following on Twitter @FictionDementia or visiting the project website  If you have any questions at this stage, please contact Jan Carson (


Call for Submissions “In Our Own Words”

A team of academics, linguists and writers based at Queen’s University Belfast are currently working on an exciting AHRC-funded research project exploring how dementia is written about in the novels we read. As part of this project they’ll be publishing a short booklet of writing by people living with dementia. The “In Our Own Words” booklet will be distributed to doctors, healthcare professionals and other key workers in the hope that it might give them a small, first-hand experience of what it’s like to live with dementia. The team are looking for people living with dementia from across the UK and Ireland who’d like to contribute some writing to the booklet. This is a great way to share your stories, thoughts and experiences. The team are looking forward to hearing from you.

You can send a short piece of writing to Jan Carson via her email address Submissions can be up to 400 words long and should give the reader a little glimpse of your own experience. You might want to tell a story about something that’s happened to you since your diagnosis or talk about what it’s like to live with dementia. You might want to share somethings you wish other people knew about dementia or talk about the people who offer you support or even share some of the things you’ve recently learnt about yourself. Feel free to write in your own style. You can even write a poem if you like. 

The team can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to include all the pieces submitted. It will depend upon how many submissions they receive but they are very keen to read and consider your work. Please mark your stories “In Our Own Words” and don’t forget to include your name. The deadline for all submissions is April 30th 2021. The booklet will be published over the summer. All contributors will receive a copy and a chance to join in with a special online celebration event.


Dementia Fiction Writers’ Chat

In September we’ll be hosting a fantastic two day Dementia Fiction Festival. We’re still hopeful about having events in person at the Accidental Theatre building in Shaftesbury Square, Belfast but we may well end up holding a hybrid event both simultaneously online and in person for those who live close to the theatre. Watch this space for more details later in the year. As we get closer to the Festival we’ll be thinking and planning a range of great workshops and panels exploring the themes and issues pertinent to writing about dementia. Our outreach officer Jan will be consulting with writers, academics, representatives from umbrella organisation both within the dementia and literary sector and, most importantly, people living with dementia to ensure the programme is as useful and comprehensive as possible.

On Wednesday past we had our first online Zoom session, consulting with a group of writers who have explored or are exploring dementia in their work. We were keen to hear about their projects and to find out what topics and themes they’d like to see covered at the festival. We were absolutely delighted to have fourteen enthusiastic, engaged writers from all across the UK, Ireland and even South Africa, join us for the chat. The group included novelists, short story writers, non-fiction writers, poets, play writes and screenplay writers. It was quite an eclectic bunch.

After each writer had presented an overview of their own project and the particular themes they’re engaging with we enjoyed a great discussion covering issues like maintaining a balance between negativity and positivity in writing about dementia, the importance of research, diversity and lack of diverse representation, language and form and a host of other really interesting issues. We concluded the evening with an opportunity to share useful books and resources. We hope to host another session in early May. If you’d like to join the chat drop Jan an email at