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Bestselling Author Turned Peace Builder Pens Programme for Community Relations Week

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Bestselling Northern Ireland novelist, Tony Macaulay, this week officially launched a literary programme of events in Mid and East Antrim to celebrate Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week, which runs from 19 – 25 September 2016.

The much-loved author will exclusively host a series of literary events across the Borough to promote peace building and community relations in support of the awareness week.

Co-ordinated by the Community Relations Council, and now in its 14th year, Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week aims to celebrate all aspects of our culture and heritage, promote cultural diversity and tackle sectarianism and racism. This year’s theme is Building the Future Together.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor Wales said, “Mid & East Antrim Council is delighted to once again support Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week which is about inspiring new ideas, promoting understanding, respect and engagement between and amongst all sections of our community.”

“The awareness week reflects Council’s vision of ‘Working Together to Create a Better Future for All’ and supports the Borough’s ethos of promoting cultural diversity, which Council actively works to deliver. This was demonstrated recently by Council with the unanimous passing of a motion denouncing racism, sectarianism and xenophobia in all its forms.”

“We want everyone in Mid & East Antrim to feel welcome, safe, respected and celebrated, and Community Relations Week is an excellent opportunity to enjoy all aspects of our culture and heritage, promote cultural diversity and work together to address sectarianism and racism. We hope that events which run during Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week will help to achieve this.”

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council has been working closely with the community, voluntary and statutory sectors, to develop a unique programme of events for the Borough, which includes a unique insight into using literature as a tool for building peace and reconciliation in communities that have suffered from conflict and division.

Bestselling Northern Ireland author, Tony Macaulay, will lead a series of free, inspirational creative writing workshops to help aspiring writers create their own stories and put into words their vision for a peaceful future for our community. A firm believer in the power of storytelling for healing and reconciliation, Tony’s workshops will provide a safe and supportive forum for participants to channel their emotions and ideas into personal and unique short stories to help build community relations.

The acclaimed author and prominent peace builder will also host a special literary evening – ‘From Paperboy to Peace Builder – An Evening with Tony Macaulay’ which will include a reading by the celebrated author from his bestselling debut novel and critically acclaimed memoir ‘Paperboy’.

“I’m delighted to be involved in this exciting project for Community Relations Week. It brings together my two passions – writing and peacebuilding. I believe in the power of stories to build peace and reconciliation in communities and countries that have suffered from conflict and division. I’m looking forward to sharing my story and supporting people across the community in Mid & East Antrim to write their stories and have some good fun in the process.”

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council said Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week is set to be a thought-provoking and varied Week; “It was Abraham Lincoln who said ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’ and Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week is a reminder that we all have a part in creating what is yet to be.”

“We can all help to build the future and possibly make the difference to how positive it is. This year’s programme is a wonderful mix of events including serious and focussed forums and initiatives celebrating culture and heritage as well as inviting a deeper understanding and appreciation of our differences.”

Mid & East Antrim Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week Events:

· ‘Writing Our Future Together’ Creative Writing Workshops

o Friday 16th September, 10am-1pm, The Braid, Ballymena

o Tuesday 20th September, 1.30-4.30pm, Carrickfergus Town Hall

o Tuesday 20th September, 6.30-9.30pm, Larne Town Hall

The ‘Writing Our Future Together’ workshops are open to everyone aged 16 and over – no previous writing experience is required. To book a space on the workshop contact [email protected] or call 028 2563 3141.

· From Paperboy to Peace Builder – An Evening with Tony Macaulay

Thursday 22nd September, 7pm, The Braid, Ballymena

Free event. Tickets are strictly limited and available from Larne, Ballymena and Carrickfergus Visitor Information Centres or contact [email protected]

For more information visit www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/community/good-relations/

Follow Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week 2016 on Twitter at #CRWeek16

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