As part of the Imagine Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics, we are running a Living Book Library. This event allows you to borrow a human book for a 20 minute conversation. It is a place where real people are on loan to readers. All the human books come from a wide range of backgrounds. It is an excellent opportunity to ask difficult questions and to have a one-to-one conversation with someone you might never have had the opportunity to speak to.
How do I get involved?
- Check below for a full list and description of all the books available
- Select the human book or 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 you to borrow the book.
Call 028 9027 0663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up to our Good Relations emails to keep up to date with news, events and important information about Diversecity.
For a full list of diversecity events see www.belfastcity.gov.uk/diversecity
Choose from the 12 books below.
Descriptions for each of these books are available below.
Description of books
The Orange Order - Local Lodges, Global Liberties, Worldwide Celebrations
Since the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the Orange tradition in Ireland annually remembers King William III’s victory in music song as well as colourful banners during the month of July at traditional ‘Twelfth’ of July celebrations. However, the Orange Order does much more than parade on the ‘Twelfth’; it’s a proud Protestant fraternity, which raises thousands of pounds annually for local charities and has members throughout the world. Orange Lodges are in places like Scotland, England, the United States of America, West Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Choose this book to find out more.
From pyramids to a parading Belfast, a Muslim woman’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 woman, living in Belfast for over 10 years, raising teenagers in a completely different environment, adapting to a new culture and keeping the faith.
The odd one out
What it was like to be the first elected representative from a minority ethnic background in Northern Ireland. Anna Lo was elected in 2007 as a MLA for South Belfast and retired from politics in 2016. She tells in her 'book' 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 was once seated for dinner amongst the great. Smoked Salmon on a bed of Horseradish and Caper sauce was on the menu but when the waitress got to my place, I simply excused himself and asked for a plate of chips and a sausage, a request to which the waitress, along with a nod and wink, duly obliged. One of the guests asked me if I had ever considered writing a book. I pondered this idea, before responding ‘yes’. When the guest enquired as to the title, I replied ‘No More Smoked Salmon’.
I served my time as a pig butcher on the Shankill Road in Belfast. I was married to Sharon and had one little girl ‘Zoe’. Sharon was working with her father in the family fish shop when the IRA came into the shop, planted a bomb and killed them both 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 hounding Gerry Adams for answers. It also tells of my very personal journey as a peace builder, the ordinary people I met along the way. These are not the sort of people used to fine dining, the majority of them were never recognised with peace prizes or Queens honours.
Still in limbo land, the long journey from Mogadishu to Belfast and the detentions along the way.
This is the story of how I have spent the past 14 years seeking sanctuary, escaping from the militia in Somalia, crossing borders, coming to Belfast, being detained and past from pillar to post. It is also a story that tells about the kindness of strangers and the hurdles of navigating a heartless system as my search for home continues.
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.
Swimming Against the Tide
Linda Ervine has the unlikely responsibility of being the first Irish Language Officer based in a loyalist area. She was introduced to the language through a cross community taster session in East Belfast Mission, a Methodist Church on the Newtownards Road. When she began learning Irish in 2011, no one would have conceived of the idea of an Irish language centre in the heart of east Belfast. Today Linda oversees 14 Irish language classes, dance, music and Welsh classes, which bring together people from all parts of Belfast. She has attracted criticism from people within her own community because of her support for an Irish Language Act.
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 10 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....
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 over 15 years, building relationships with former loyalist and republican prisoners. He has also been working with victims & survivor groups for 10 years. Read more about his journey from prison to peace.
My 2 year journey from Somalia to the UK
I thought that being granted asylum status in the UK would signal a new life and new beginning, but little did I know that as my two year journey from Somalia to the UK ended another journey began with more trials and tribulations, fears and uncertainties. Hear more about my journey, leaving Somalia at the age of 15 and the sacrifices my family made to buy my safety.