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July 18, 2019

LOOK, I'M not here to do literary criticism and I'm not here to be a barrier between you and the readers this afternoon.

But it has to be said that strange things happen when you are asked to contemplate John Montague. I couldn't help but be struck yesterday by one of t...

July 18, 2019

SEAMUS HEANEY is recognised as one of the major poets in any language of the 20th Century.

A native of south Derry, he was raised outside the small village of Bellaghy in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin. He was the author of more than 20 volumes o...

February 7, 2019

THERE WAS a list in the Daily Telegraph. All the big broadsheets with their notions of themselves and the self-image of the readership they all aspire to serving, deliver lists of things on occasion … In this case, it was the Great British Novel.

Being the Telegraph, th...

January 21, 2019

A rhapsody on the novel Shane by Jack Schaefer.

January 16, 2019

THERE IS a scene in the 1960 movie The Time Machine when the mechanism works for the first time. A masterpiece only in its steampunk design and still-damp, over-rich Metrocolor, everything else seems a preamble to this miracle which the film and the Wells novella promi...

December 12, 2018

The Boer War and an Irish nationalist town

November 14, 2018

Edith Sitwell and Downpatrick County Down

November 9, 2018

I WAS first introduced to Edward Boaden Thomas's The Twelve Parts of Derbyshire at the Derwent Poetry Festival in Matlock in 2013.

Recognition, admiration and affection were immediate.

Recognition because the instinct, the impulse, to narrate the ties and bonds of belong...

July 11, 2018

IN WARNER Brothers’s King Richard and the Crusaders (1954), the Norman monarch (lantern-jawed George Sanders) tests his steel broadsword against the scimitar of the Muslim leader Saladin (an improbably dusky Rex Harrison). Lordy, those words. The long sword cleaves an...

June 13, 2018

Reflections on the Ulster poet John Hewitt

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