Literature Audience Development

Call to Venues, Art Centres & Theatres

Words Ireland is seeking regional venues who are interested in participating in its Literature Audience Development programme in 2020. This involves the provision of a Literature Audience Development Officer (LADO) to venues. The LADO will help venues increase the quality and quantity their literature programme, and will work to grow literature audiences at a local level.



Since 2014 seven of Ireland’s national literature resource organisations have been working together collectively under the Words Ireland banner to fill gaps in literature provision in Ireland.

In 2017, Words Ireland set up the ‘Venues Initiative’ in partnership with the Linenhall and Backstage Theatre. Literature Curators Siobhán Kane and Dani Gill worked with these venues to curate three events in each venue and to help the venue develop new audiences.

In July 2018, based on our learnings from the pilot, Words Ireland began rolling out the Literature Audience Development programme and the effects are now being seen in participating venues, which include the original two pilot venues:

  • The Backstage, Longford
  • The Linenhall, Mayo
  • The Dock, Leitrim
  • Droichead Arts Centre, Louth
  • Riverbank Arts Centre, Kildare
  • Fingal Arts Service

We want to add up to 3–4 venues to this list in 2020 and currently are seeking expressions of interest from Venue Directors. Arts Offices who are interested in working with a LADO directly, or in connection a LADO to venues in their county, should also get in touch.


Benefits of the Literature Audience Development Officer (LADO)

The LADO can:

  • Keep Venue Directors up to date on the best in literature programming in Ireland and abroad, and develop suitable ideas for the venue to initiate – including festivals, writer residencies, One Book initiatives, youth programmes, creative writing workshops, reading and writing groups, etc.
  • Provide contacts to writers, publishers, agents, etc and make first contact where appropriate.
  • Connect venues to the various initiatives of the seven Words Ireland organisations, such as workshops, events, book launches, book doctors, Poetry Day, etc.
  • Connect venues with other literature initiatives such at a local or national level, eg. Laureate for Fiction or Laureate na nÓg.
  • Offer priority access to tours and initiatives being developed by or in partnership with Words Ireland.
  • Assess each venue’s strengths and weaknesses re. past and current literature programming and marketing.
  • Advise on developing up-to-date literature audience lists and generate ideas on how best to engage audiences.
  • Advise on grant application proposals to the Arts Council or other available funds where requested.
  • Connect the venue with regional book sellers, libraries, reading and writing groups, schools, local businesses and organisations, and third-level institutions.


Additional support from Words Ireland

  • Administrate the programme and pay the LADO’s fee.
  • Support all literature events at all participating venues through social media support.
  • Support literature touring grant applications made by the LADO and independent producers to tour to participating venues.
  • Develop a greater culture of literature production and touring throughout Ireland and connect new ideas and tours to participating venues.


Our Literature Audience Development Officer

From 2010 to 2016 Dani Gill was the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway. She now works as a freelance curator and creative writing tutor for young people and adults. She is the author of a collection of poems After Love published by (Salmon Press, 2017) and has been included in the Irish women’s poetry anthology Washing Windows (Arlen House, 2016), and publications such as Prelude (New York), and Freckle (Northern Ireland). She’s been working with Words Ireland on a consultancy basis since 2017.


Cost per Venue

The cost to venues for participation in 2020 is €1,500. For the above fee, each venue receives 10 dedicated days of consultancy from the LADO. It also pays the LADO to spend additional days working on initiatives that will collectively benefit of all venues involved. Venues will receive further benefit from a fund which Words Ireland is putting toward the development of projects and events being created external literature producers. These producers are being selected and funded on a competitive basis to create events and initiatives specifically suited to our partner venues.


Register Your Interest

A minimum one year commitment is required, though we are keen to work with venues over a longer period.

If you’re interested or want to find out more, please contact Brendan Mac Evilly at 

We understand that venues don’t know what their funding will be in 2020, so we’re seeking expressions interest from venues by Friday 14th February 2019. Interested Arts Offices or Libraries should also get in touch.


Save the Date 

On Thursday 23 May, Words Ireland, in partnership with the International Literature Festival Dublin, is hosting a get together for everyone involved in literature programming and production. Words Ireland is keen to develop a greater culture of literature production in Ireland. With that in mind, we’re be bringing together venue managers, arts office staff, festival directors, librarians, writers, curators, producers, publishers and journals to discuss and showcase the best in literature programming; to hear what venues, arts officers, funders and audiences are looking for; talk about how these ideas, events and tours can and will be funded. Between panel discussions, we’ll also show two original and ambitious staged literature events. Contact Brendan at the email above to register your interest.