Mark Austin, royalty and writers at event

Mark Austin
Mark Austin
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Tickets are now on sale for headline talks at the Mount Stewart Conversations Festival which is set to return to the National Trust venue on September 7 and 8 featuring Princess Josephine Loewenstain and Lady Ann Glenconner, both confidants of Princess Margaret, who will share stories of aristocracy, royalty and rock stars.

Renowned historian, biographer and broadcaster Hugo Vickers, the authot of many royal biographies, will be joined by Tom Perrin of Zuleika Publishing to discuss his career and writings.

In a talk titled ‘Peers, Politicians and Polemicists: the people within the Londonderry papers at PRONI’ Lorraine Burke of PRONI (Public Records Office Northern Ireland) will begin to unlock some of the captivating characters that have shaped the history and legacy of the Londonderry family by providing a rare insight into the Londonderry papers which are held at PRONI.

In keeping with the ethos of Lady Edith, Karen Mooney, Byddi Lee and poet Gaynor Kane, will curate and present a programme of readings by local writers with the theme of ‘The Art of Conversation’ reflecting conversations and the issues that provoke and stimulate conversation in today’s society. Twenty acclaimed, award winning and emerging writers will perform their own work. Included are poets, fiction and creative non-fiction writers.

These talks complete the Mount Stewart Conversations Festival speaker line-up which is headlined by Mark Austin, the award-winning journalist and Sky News correspondent in the main marquee. Brought to the festival in partnership with Open House Festival, Mark will regale audiences with tales from his 35-year career, spanning warzones to World Cups.

Mark will be joined by Stephen Walker to talk about his work and the man behind the news providing an amazing insight into one man’s extraordinary career and the world of television news.

Outside of the ticketed talks, access to Mount Stewart estate will be free for the festival weekend, allowing everyone the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic programme of music, theatre and workshops being delivered by the festival’s arts partners Seedhead Arts and Beyond Skin.

The two-day festival is supported by both Ards and North Down Borough Council and Tourism NI. Tickets on sale on the Mount Stewart website. Visit