Our Board

The board of The Crescent and Belfast Book Festival helps to drive our development and contributes to our strategy for future success, providing leadership and experience to the board on growing income and the development of activities that also fulfil our purpose and values. Our current priorities are to extend our reach, develop new partnerships, build our profile and create new strategic collaborations. Our current board members include:


Evelyn Hoy - Chair

Chief Executive Officer - Commissioner for Older People NI 

Evelyn is an experienced Chief Executive Officer of an Arm’s Length Body and a former civil servant of 30+ years. 

She leads a team of staff working for and supporting the objectives of the Commissioner for Older People and is a corporate governance expert and has a range of responsibilities including the delivery of the corporate objectives, communications and engagement, human and financial resources. 

Having worked in a variety of government departments across a diverse range of policy and service delivery roles, she also set up and developed the Commissioner for Older People’s organisation in 2012 and have worked with both the former and current Commissioners.


Cormac Maguire - Vice Chair

Estates Manager (Major Projects) | Queen's University Belfast

Cormac started his career in London, moving back to his hometown of Belfast in 2011 to help establish the Belfast branch of FCB Studios. He moved to Queen’s University in May 2023 to take up his current role of Estates Manager - Major Projects.

Cormac has organized numerous educational arts projects in collaboration with local Arts charities, as well larger events such as the annual Open House Belfast architectural festival. Throughout his career he has led the design development and construction of education and cultural projects, most notably the UU Greater Belfast Development, a £250 million project that providing a state-of-the-art campus for Ulster University within the context of a challenging city centre location.


Michael Campbell - Treasurer

Corporate Reporting Accountant - Education Authority Northern Ireland

Michael is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland with over 15 years experience working in financial reporting in both the public, private and charitable sectors. He has 6 years of Governance within the Education Sector and his primary experience lies within financial reporting systems development.

Michael has a keen interest in the arts and community engagement in Northern Ireland, with particular regard to music.  He currently sits as Chair of the Board of Governors for Oakwood Integrated Primary School, and was previously the Board's Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.


Jillian Kirk

Executive Performance Consultant – Ulster Bank

Jillian Kirk graduated from University of Ulster in 1998 with a BA Hons in Business & Finance before running her own business for 4 years. Having sold her business Jillian started working for Ulster Bank holding many positions including Team Leader, Regulated Supervisor and Risk Audit roles, before taking up the position of Executive Performance Consultant supporting and challenging Senior Managers to develop their leadership within their businesses. 

Jillian is Vice Chairman of the Board at Malone Integrated College having come from an integrated education background and continues to enjoy music having completed many violin exams and played with school orchestras across Europe. 


Kate Beggs

National Lottery Community Fund's Director for Northern Ireland

Kate was appointed as The National Lottery Community Fund's Director for Northern Ireland in January 2019. She leads the Fund’s grant-making activity, relationship management and operations in Northern Ireland.

Kate was previously Deputy Director in the Northern Ireland Office, leading its strategic external and community engagement. Before joining the NIO, she held a wide-ranging series of roles in the Diplomatic Service, in the UK and abroad.

Niamh Shannon

Learning & Development Manager, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

Niamh is a professionally qualified HR/L&D Manager with 24 years experience within large public and private organisations.  She is a successful senior manager with a track record of aligning the HR/L&D functions to meet strategic and operational corporate goals. She has experience of working on various large and complex HR projects and has had frequent contact with Trade Unions. 

Rachel Hooper

Rachel Hooper is Creative Director of Walk on Air films, a Belfast based production company making film and tv content for national and international audiences. She has a track record in collaborative film making and co producing, working with UK and international broadcasters. Her films have gone on to win Grierson, RTS, and BAFTA awards amongst others. Recent credits include the critically acclaimed series Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, a co-production with KEO films for PBS and the BBC and double BAFTA winning Lee Miller – A Life on the Frontline.

Rachel also worked for The BBC for 15 years running their radio documentary department and before that as a senior producer in the newsroom.


Catriona Holmes 

Director - Johnston Communications

Catriona has a keen interest in the arts from her roles at Audiences NI (now ThriveNI), housing from roles at the Chartered Institute of Housing, multiple estate agencies in Northern Ireland and a position on the management committee of Shelter NI from 2014 – 2017.

Catriona’s background includes marketing, website development, search engine optimisation, designing and managing grant processes, provision of training to arts / community organisations, evaluation of processes including events and audience development.

She currently manages the online marketing for retail clients in USA and Europe and a variety of tourism focused clients in Northern Ireland.

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