Arts Council Cuts – Statement from Blackstaff Press

Arts Council Cuts Funding to Blackstaff Press


We were devastated to learn this morning, via the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website, that our funding for 2015/2016 has been cut from £82,200 to zero.

A letter confirming the cut was received today. While we anticipated a reduction in line with the budget cut to ACNI, we had no indication at all that we should expect a complete withdrawal of funding.

Blackstaff Press was founded in 1971. Since then we have become Northern Ireland’s leading publisher. We are incredibly proud that our authors include diverse and important writing from local authors such as John Hewitt, Paul Durcan, Bernard McLaverty, Patricia Craig, Glenn Patterson, Ciaran Carson, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Leesa Harker, Tony Macaulay, John Richardson, Tim Brannigan and Tom Hartley, as well as many others.

Our publishing programme is wide-ranging and diverse and embraces both fiction and non-fiction. We have published more than 900 titles, and have been a major contributor to the richness of contemporary Irish literary life not only through the titles we have published, but through ongoing work with new and established writers and through our active participation in arts festivals and literary events. Last year alone, Blackstaff Press and its authors participated in more than 100 outreach events across the island.

We have the largest digital audience across Facebook and Twitter of any publisher on the island of Ireland, and continue to seek out fresh new writing in Northern Ireland.

Blackstaff Press was founded in 1971 with the support of the Arts Council in Northern Ireland, and has received funding from them every year since. We understand that our application was rejected not because of any shortcomings or failings in our planned programme, but for other reasons.

The Arts Council cuts are effective from 1 April 2015. We are still absorbing the shock of this decision and cannot yet say with confidence how it will impact on our publishing and outreach programmes.