Essays in Contractions

Essays in Contractions

Alain de Botton can be a very witty and thought-provoking writer, especially the way he weaves philosophical thought into his books. Essays in Love (1993) was his first novel, written when he was just twenty-three, and it is hilarious from a mildly sadistic point of...

Poisoning Lloyd George

Poisoning Lloyd George

It’s funny how you come across things. Back in 2006 I spoke at a Writing on the Wall event in Liverpool and over breakfast the next morning I had a conversation with writer Clive Hopwood. Clive has written almost one hundred books for children and has had twenty plays...

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New

For thirty years, and before the exponential rise of social media, most Irish republicans relied upon An Phoblacht for uncensored news and for information about the conflict and republican politics. Now An Phoblacht itself, the print edition of which went monthly...

The Story of an Adjective

The Story of an Adjective

About ten years ago when reading Making An Elephant by Graham Swift I came across the works of Russian writer Isaac Babel, bought some of his books, including You Must Know Everything, and what a treat it is. He is probably best known for his Red Cavalry cycle of...

Barcelona/Belfast

Barcelona/Belfast

My friend Glenn Bradley writes from Barcelona - I took a well earned break for my 50th Birthday last week and headed off with my lovely wife Joh to Barcelona. It's very refreshing to go away and take a break, to clear your head, and just get into something else. Isn’t...

The Gadfly

The Gadfly

I was in Dublin yesterday to record a short story with the artist/composer Stano and was telling him and his friend Denise Dunphy the story of Ethel Lynch from Cork who became famous in the USSR for her novel The Gadfly. I wrote a feature about that book many years...

‘Rock and Roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life’

‘Rock and Roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life’

John McMillan, an Irish writer (who lives in England), is a fairly self-effacing man who just gets on with the job in hand without fanfare. He has produced an impressive number of semi-autobiographical novels which are endearing and present little snapshots of the way...

“Water is too good for them” – Update

“Water is too good for them” – Update

RTE’s Sean O’Rourke, the subject of my post on Saturday (see below), interviewed Richard O’Rawe this morning about his new book on the late Gerry Conlon, In The Name of the Son. At the end of the interview O’Rourke then referred to the content of his Friday programme...

Buried Secrets and Brutal Truths

Buried Secrets and Brutal Truths

I watched the first two parts of Ken Burns' documentary on BBC last night,The Vietnam War, and was angry from beginning to end. Reminded me of a an article I read about twenty years ago regarding how the establishment tried to hide the truth about its dirty war but...

The Southern Partition of Ireland

The Southern Partition of Ireland

WHILE the discourse regarding a possible reunification of Ireland (hastened because of the implications arising from Brexit) has increased in tenor, so too it appears has been a re-doubling of attempts by the establishment and media in the Twenty Six Counties to...