The fourth research trip for my novel (6th – 17th April), coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, was necessarily a time of public reflection, assessment and forecasting about peace and conflict, in great depth and with many of the major actors back in the spotlight.
Easter edition Bangor Literary Journal. Download here
A rent in the year
Through which the cold news comes:
Even the best of us
Will be consumed by pain,
And not know why
And asked to say to all this,
Though he destroy me
Yet I trust in him.
Each of us shivers
In this gap,
Choosing to assent
To love’s defiance
Of anything other than itself.
Victory or vindication –
These it lets fall
Facing into the wind,
‘Good Morning Wales’ programme, BBC Radio Wales with Felicity Evans and Wyre Davies.
The third research trip for my novel started and ended with snow. My flight from Cardiff to Belfast was delayed by 23 inches of it near the airport and by another fall on the return but I encountered nothing other than warmth from the people I met in Northern Ireland.
It was a pleasure to spend time with teachers, schoolchildren, community workers, experts in Irish and Ulster Scots, journalists, farmers and agricultural experts. I also enjoyed two great reading gigs and came home with a prize certificate.
BBC Review of Religion and Ethics Output – an update on the implications
My poem View-finder made the Top Ten, ‘Commended’ in the 40 Words Competition of The Bangor Literary Journal, March 2018. Page 69
The motto of Belfast on the carpeted floor of the City Hall: For so much received what return can we make? I’m looking forward to returning to Northern Ireland for my third research trip for my novel from 3rd to 19th March.
I hope to be mainly outside the capital this time but here are two of my favourite Belfast buildings: the Art-Deco former Bank of Ireland…
Research Trip 2 for my novel, from 21st January to 2nd February in Northern Ireland, gave me access to generously shared experience and expertise from writers, sociologists, historians, academics, journalists, teachers and an educationalist, former civil servants, librarians, language activists, clergy, lawyers, a farmer, a statistician, a youth worker and many who shared from the cutting edge of their painfully gained experience.
I was struck too by the kindness with which I was treated.
I cannot do justice to the events and individuals who gave me their time. I will, however, single out, among the public events I attended, the conference organised by the Ulster University Faculty of Health and Life Sciences: Addressing the Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma and Mental Illness in Northern Ireland.
I had noticed something of a narrative about Northern Ireland along the lines of: the effect of the Troubles is exaggerated; it’s all behind us now and I wanted to get beyond personal opinion to some facts about ‘legacy’ and ‘impact’.
For 12 days in November and 3 weeks: January / February 2018 in Northern Ireland researching my novel with the help of a SIAP award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the National Lottery.