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Talks & Ideas

Belfast International Arts Festival presents a special event celebrating the launch of internationally renowned singer Cara Dillon’s first book Coming Home, at The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast.

Coming Home features Cara’s original poetry and reflections on both the stories that inspired her work and her Irish roots. A companion album presents the pieces in a profoundly moving combination of spoken word and song.

In the Autumn of 2023, Cara introduced the live Coming Home show to her fans through an extensive UK tour supported by her band. An overwhelming success, it included a sold-out concert at Belfast International Arts Festival 2023, in the Grand Opera House.

This special evening at The Crescent is a chance to hear the pieces in a more intimate setting. Cara will explore the stories, inspirations, and reflections that have shaped Coming Home and perform several pieces featured in the book and on the album.

Hailing from a strong cultural background in the North of Ireland and with a profound connection to her home-place and people, Cara’s new work succeeds in distilling her thoughts and feelings into exceptionally poignant yet accessible pieces. Sharing stories about her family, her connection to the land, her rural ancestors, and her own children, alongside captivating insights into her place in the world and her journey – both as an artist and a mother.

With subjects that clearly resonated with audiences, it became clear that the stories and inspirations behind each of her pieces magnified the audience experience and created a powerful connection, prompting a strong desire in Cara to share these experiences, accompanied by personal photos, family history and other anecdotes.

“Writing these poems and stories has been one of the most fulfilling creative journeys I’ve ever undertaken and continues to surprise me. I watched, listened to, and absorbed the traditions of my ancestors, of my culture, and most importantly, of my 92 year old mother who spent her childhood living on a mountainside in rural Co. Derry. As I reflect on her impact on my life and how I’ve raised my own three children, I feel closer to her than ever before, and recognise the importance of the other strong women in my life from my community, and how my town and its culture shaped me as a woman growing up in a very troubled corner of the world."

Cara Dillon

"It’s both blanket & magic carpet. It’s the tent of childhoods spent dreaming under a night sky in summer. It’s boundless."

Maria McManus, Poetry Ireland