O’Flaherty Festival Programme

O’Flaherty Festival Programme

This year's O'Flaherty Festival programme has just been released. The annual event, which is aimed at promoting the writings and work of Liam and Tom O'Flaherty, will be held over the weekend of 25th/26th August, on Inis Mór. Full details can be got on Facebook - Liam...

Buddy Bolden – King of Jazz

Buddy Bolden – King of Jazz

Finished Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje, one of his earliest novels, published in 1976. It wasn’t as good as, again, another of his earlier novels, In The Skin of a Lion. It’s the story of Buddy Bolden, a legendary cornet player in backstreet New...

Resistance Poets

Resistance Poets

This is a photograph of Nordahl Grieg, a Norwegian, who was killed as a war correspondent on a bombing mission over Berlin. A poet, novelist and journalist, he was a Stalinist until the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Hitler and Stalin at which point he became an...

The Cyclist

The Cyclist

This is from my book, All The Dead Voices, which was published in 2002, and was dedicated to my sister, Susan, who died at the age of forty four. In 1974 Susan moved to Antrim and in 2001 she died in the hospital there from an autoimmune disease, Primary Biliary...

The Debate

The Debate

I don't agree with everything in this feature by George Madden but it makes some interesting points. Over the years I have come to object to the way that some - including some Irish republicans - still assume a privilege of Irishness. There is a British component to...

A Little Town

A Little Town

This Penguin Modern Classic could have been made more accessible in a larger font. I struggled through it because I love Hrabal - and, of course, I was eventually rewarded. Not as funny as Closely Observed Trains, or, Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, but still...

Belfast Rally in Support of Palestine

Belfast Rally in Support of Palestine

At least thirty four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since they began holding Land Day protests on March 30th. This afternoon, at the gates of Belfast City Hall, members of a number of organisations held a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian...

‘The Fog Of War’

‘The Fog Of War’

I wrote this feature in May 2005: some thoughts about perennial war and how people rationalise their justifications for their actions. I was reminded of it when I saw on Twitter today a reference to Robert Oppenheimer (the American theoretical physicist in the...

Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing

Really enjoyed this novel, a crime/political thriller set in Cuba and written by former Uruguayan Tuparmaro guerrilla Daniel Chavarría. It is stylish, intelligent, dark, amusing and a bit raunchy. Aldo Bianchi and his girlfriend Teresita were once arrested by Alberto...

This Can’t Be Right?

This Can’t Be Right?

I see that Ed Moloney, one of the godfathers behind the disastrous Boston College Oral History Archive - the project that launched a thousand subpoenas - is up for an Oscar. Only joking. But I see that a film co-produced by Ed Moloney and written by Moloney and...