11th September. Read ‘Making An Elephant, Writing From Within’ by Graham Swift, author of ‘Waterland’ and ‘Last Orders’. I saw the book reviewed only recently, ordered it from the Falls Public Library and – hey presto! – in it came a week later, brand new in hardback, and I am the first reader.
Did interview with Ciaran Bradley, a student of an MA in Politics and Irish Studies from the University of Liverpool, re his dissertation: ‘Governmental censorship, paramilitary pressure or public indifference: A study into the impediments to investigative journalism during the Troubles’.
7th September. Finished ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ by historian Jonathan F. Vance. Although a tragic story about two young Canadians, Ken Macalister (30) and Frank Pickersgill (31), who joined the SOE, were caught in France within days of their parachute drop (before they could actually carry out any operations), were tortured and died in Buchenwald concentration camp, the book is written in a pedestrian fashion and failed to engage.
2nd September. Interview with Tara Mills and Rachel Hooper for BBC Radio 4’s programme, ‘The Westminster Hour’, on whether politics and the media in the North have moved towards a more ‘normal’ news agenda in the last ten years.
28th August. Interview on Thatcher was broadcast on local BBC’s ‘Newsline’, summary here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8226806.stm
25th August. Interviewed by Dr Graham Spencer (Reader in Politics, Conflict and the Media School of Creative Arts, Film and Media, Portsmouth) for a feature he is writing on ‘Catholicism and Republicanism’.
24th August. Interviewed by BBC journalist David Maxwell re the legacy of Thatcher on Ireland. Meeting with John Killen, Linenhall Library, to plan a lecture in November on the centenary of James Joyce’s visit to Belfast in 1909, to be given by Dr Jörg Rademacher, Germany.
15th August. Was a guest speaker, along with former prisoners Sile Darragh and Mary Doyle, and Francie Molloy, at meeting in Dungannon, chaired by Michelle Gildernew MP, to commemorate the 1981 hunger strikers.
14th August. Wrote a short piece for a book that is being published in time for Christmas by my friend Jo O’Donoghue at Currach Press. The book is called ‘My Mother Always Used to Say’ and is being edited by Valerie Bowe who had been gathering maternal words of wisdom from well-known people for years and also envisages the book as a monument to her own mother. All the proceeds are going to educational initiatives for single mothers in Dublin’s inner city (where Valerie is a community worker) as part of the Lourdes project.