‘Silvers City’ – Where did freedom lie?

I first read Silver’s City in 1989 as a teenager who had recently moved to Belfast to study and I still own that copy bought with money from my student grant. On re-reading it last year I realised that the concept of a ‘student grant’ is more …read more

Gone to Earth – A glorious, inconvenient voice

At the recent publication launch for his new novel, Gone to Earth, Maurice Leitch was amused by the longevity of his career. Gone to Earth is set in Spain during the early 1960s, “it is termed a historical novel but I was alive when it was set.” …read more

F for Ferg – A world set apart

This new edition of Ian Cochrane’s F for Ferg was launched with a panel discussion of Cochrane’s work at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace. Though Cochrane grew up in the Antrim village of Cullybackey, only twelve miles from Seamus Heaney’s home village of Bellaghy, his representation of the …read more

Benedict Kiely – Close to Omagh I was born

Benedict Kiely was born on August 15th 1919 in the village of Dromore, “close to Omagh I was born, and on its streets and on the roads around it I grew up.” Two years later Northern Ireland was also born and Kiely, as a toddler, had found …read more

Ervine – Ruin and rebellion

St John Ervine, the Belfast-born playwright and general manager of Dublin’s Abbey theatre, was a bemused observer of the events of the Easter Rising. He described it as a “fortnight of ruin and rebellion” but it became the major turning-point in his life, driving him to become …read more