Friday, 23 October 2009
BELFAST author Malachi O'Doherty has been one of the most insightful and provocative writers about Northern Ireland for more than two decades.
As a teenager I was always inspired by his journalism with the BBC and he has served venerable old Belfast intellectual institution Fortnight magazine as editor in the very recent past. He writes occasional and wonderful columns for the Belfast Telegraph too.
He is the author of four outstanding books 'The Trouble With Guns' (Blackstaff), 'I Was A Teenage Catholic' (Marino), 'The Telling Year: Belfast 1972' (Gill and Macmillan) and 'Empty Pulpits: Ireland’s Retreat From Religion' (Gill and Macmillan) with the first and third among the most essential books written about the Troubles.
Last year he was a brilliant panellist and the most realistic voice among a self congratulatory bunch at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies' John Kennedy Memorial Lecture commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
His next book 'Under his Roof', a series of vignettes about his father Barney, is almost with us. A couple of recordings of excerpts from it are here.
But having given up the editor's job at Fortnight a few years back he is now full time with his writing and journalism and through this he has become a tremendous podcaster. His short interviews show at the premier of Steve McQueen's Bobby Sands film, Hunger, is brilliant, but his podcast portfolio is a tremendous example of what the modern 360 degree author could become. Journalist as writer, broadcaster, producer and public intellectual.
Listen to them here. They are a tremendous day spent for anyone who loves the arts, Radio 4, Northern Irish affairs or simply great journalism.
Here is his interview with Belfast academic Carlo Gebler and former prisoner and Guardian columnist Erwin James on education and writing in the prison system.
Erwin James and Carlo Gebler