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Living Library

Date: 25 Oct 2017
Time: 10am - 2pm
Venue: City Hall

The Living Library is similar to a normal library, except the books are people and you can talk to them for 20 minutes. All of the living books are from a wide range of backgrounds with different life experiences. 

There are 13 ‘Living Books’ available for you to sample, these include:

Descriptions for each of these books are available below.

This project is supported by The Executive Office and Belfast City Council.

Select the human book / books you are interested in borrowing (you can borrow more than one book).

Contact our Good Relations unit who will offer you a 20 minute timeslot between 10am and 2pm for your one to one borrowing of the book. There will be a break from 12 noon - 12.30pm. Call 028 9027 0663 or email

Description of books

The Orange Order - Local Lodges, Global Liberties, Worldwide Celebrations

Since the famous battle at the river Boyne in 1690, the Orange tradition in Ireland has fondly remembered King William’s victory on many banners as well as in music and song. Unfortunately, many in society only ever see the public face of the Orange Order during the Twelfth of July celebrations. However, the organisation is about much more than a march; it’s a proud Protestant fraternity with members throughout the world.

Seeking Sanctuary, unaccompanied at the age of 14

This book tells the story of a mother’s sacrifice for her daughter. Read about how a mother sold her land to ensure a better life for her daughter, how her daughter was trafficked from war-torn Somali at the age of 14, her experiences in foster care and building a new life in Belfast.

The odd one out

What it was like to be the first elected representative from an ethnic minority background in Northern Ireland. Anna Lo was elected in 2007 as a MLA for South Belfast and retired from politics in 2016. In her “book” she talks about her experience of being the first ever minority ethnic MLA in the NI Assembly.

Just Getting Comfortable

A story of how a young woman came to realise who she was, despite everything that school had taught about people like her. Mistakenly labelled a boy at birth, she had lived 19 years of confusion and shame before being able to express herself. Learn about how young transgender people are thriving and celebrating their identities, pushing through discrimination and bigotry to be comfortable and happy.

‘No More Smoked Salmon’

I served my time as a pig butcher on the Shankill Road. I was married to Sharon and had one little girl ‘Zoe’. Sharon was working with her father in the family fish shop when it was bombed. They were both killed along with 8 others, including one of the bombers.

‘No More Smoked Salmon’ is my story of growing up in a very sectarian Belfast, of losing Sharon and my search for answers. It also tells of my very personal journey as a peace builder, the ordinary people I met along the way and the extraordinary contribution they made to building peace. These are not the sort of people used to fine dining on delicacies such as smoked salmon and horseradish and caper sauce. The majority of them were never recognised with peace prizes or Queens honours, yet the difference they made in their communities and to the lives of other ‘hurting’ human beings, became the foundation stone for the peace we enjoy today.

From an Edinburgh Cloister to Belfast

A nun’s journey from an enclosed convent to life in Belfast working with kids aged 16 years in the care system and in an inner city parish. ‘In the 80s I would have thought that anyone choosing to move to and live in Belfast was mad! Little did I know that it would be me...’

If I can sign up to this, anyone can

The story of an ex loyalist prisoner and former combatant, who did time, avoided death on several occasions, but saw the benefits of the Good Friday Agreement and working with old enemies for a better future.  This story tells the journey from conflict to peace and my involvement in many initiatives to build better relationships in the community.

Protestants Don’t Speak Irish; Do They?

The story of how the wife of a leading loyalist fell in love with the Irish language and set out on a campaign to depoliticise the language making it available to all. The book relates her discovery of the many links between the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community and the Irish language and describes the support she has had as well as the barriers she has had to overcome.

Adventures of a Global Citizen

What made the 18 year old girl leave home and what answers has she found through her journey? She is now sharing her experience as an Eastern European migrant, living and working in Northern Ireland for more than 8 years.."
Borrow this book to get a flavour of what life has been so far to a global resident in transit, caught between two worlds....

Traveller Times – A Gypsy Life for me

The story of a traveller man brought up in west Belfast, half Irish romany gypsy and half Irish traveller who just happens to be gay. This story explores the myths of traveller life and culture.

I ran for my son and my safety

Sometimes I feel sad and angry when I hear people say, ‘they are not really an asylum seeker, they are only coming for a better life’.  I had a life in Zimbabwe but that all changed…..This is the story of a carefree activist forced to run to protect her life and that of her young sons.

‘If you die I’ll bury you, if you go to prison I won’t visit you’

These are the words spoken by the distraught father of a former INLA prisoner, highlighting his opposition to his son’s involvement in the conflict. This former republican prisoner has now been working for 14 years, building relationships with former loyalist and republican prisoners. He has also been working with victims and survivor groups for 8 years. Read more about his journey from prison to peace.

From pyramids to a parading Belfast, a Muslim women’s journey to the unknown and still keeping the faith

My journey from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and finally to Belfast. The story and life experience of a Muslim Women, living in Belfast for 10 years, raising teenagers in a completely different environment, adapting to a new culture and keeping the faith.



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Suitable for everyone