For many years I have been collecting quotes on a variety of themes from the books or poems I’ve read and which have appealed to me, made me smile, or made me think, or suggested a little insight into the meaning of life. In 2018 I discussed publishing these with Seán Mistéil with whom I worked for about twelve years designing the published programmes of Féile an Phobail. Seán also designed the highly-stylised covers of my reissued novels, West Belfast and The Wrong Man.

We finally finished the book, Life, I Do Not Understand You, just in time to launch it at the recent Scribes at the Rock and Scribes at Duncairn, in Belfast back in August. In our collaboration Seán responded artistically to several hundred quotes which cover themes such as relationships, mortality, war, borders, addiction and Ireland.

Everyone who has seen the book agrees that it is a beautiful production and, indeed, many people buy it as a present for a friend or partner and for the little insights and nuggets of wisdom it provides on how to live and how to survive  ‘the ordinary pain of being alive’, to quote Baudelaire.

It is on sale in a limited number of shops but can also be ordered online here.