Topic Archives: Books

Captured by a Vision at the 4 Corners Festival – Rev Ken Newell at St Patrick’s Catholic Church

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Rev Ken Newell, former minister at Fitzroy Presbyterian in Belfast, is well-known for both his evangelical and his ecumenical convictions. While some – mainly evangelical Christians – are convinced that a Christian can’t be both evangelical and ecumenical, Newell challenged that conviction over the course of his long ministry at Fitzroy, in part through his more…

“Perhaps it’s best to simply regard Gerry’s book as the political equivalent of an ageing hardman action star taking a role in The Expendables…”

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde on the “exciting publishing news”, the terms may be used advisedly, of the forth-coming publication of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ Little Book of Calm Little Book of Tweets.  From the Guardian article Enormous congratulations to Gerry Adams, who is formally elevated to irony’s army council. The Sinn Féin president is more…

‘Long on material for jeremiads like this’: John Andrew Fredrick’s ‘The King of Good Intentions II’: Book Review

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A fresh novel about the travails of a struggling musician on L.A.’s indie-rock fringe, this sequel to The King of Good Intentions continues the story of John and his jangle-pop band, The Weird Sisters. Likely at least semi-autobiographical, narrated after all by John with frequent asides to us, this takes up the tale on the more…

An Insight into Belfast’s and Europe’s Past: Rest and Be Thankful by Fr Daniel Cummings – Book Review

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The autobiography of a Redemptorist missionary might not be at the top of everyone’s reading list, but a new book by the late Fr Daniel Cummings should appeal to a much broader audience than might be expected. Rest and be Thankful: Autobiography of a Belfast Missionary – Daniel Cummings C.Ss.R, was published this year and more…

Politics and Peace in Northern Ireland by David Mitchell – Book Review & Launch 5 November

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While the Northern Ireland peace process is considered an outstanding success internationally, those who observe its politics day by day know that it hasn’t all been ‘happily ever after.’ Yes, we’re all grateful that violence has by and large ceased. But the implementation of the 1998 peace agreement has been fraught and 17 years on, more…

Election Notebook (Nick Robinson) – a humble & honest recollection of #ge2015 – and a reminder that NI politics don’t matter at a UK national level

Nick Robinson Election Notebook

Nick Robinson’s premise was to document the twelve month run up to the May 2015’s General Election. Between the Scottish independence referendum, UKIP’s rise and wobbles, and early polling that couldn’t predict the next government at Westminster, it was sure to be volatile period on which to report. The diary format of Election Notebook: The more…

Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls by Vicky Cosstick — Book Review

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In certain parts of Belfast, walls dominate the landscape – as well as the consciousness – of those who live and work around them.  A new book by Vicky Cosstick, Belfast: Toward a City Without Walls, explores the history, significance and most daringly, the future, of these walls, highlighting the efforts of some citizens of more…

The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants, edited by Burgess and Mulvenna – Book Review

contested identities

Edited academic collections are often technical and specialized – appealing to academics, but offering little to other readers interested in the topic. The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants (Palgrave 2015), edited by Thomas Paul Burgess (UCC) and Gareth Mulvenna (Queen’s) is an exception to this trend, as it draws in an eclectic range of contributors more…

Same-Sex Marriage Referendum in the Republic: Review of ‘Who Owns Marriage?’

who owns marriage

As the date for the Republic’s same-sex marriage referendum draws closer (22 May), various parties have weighed in on the debate. Unsurprisingly, official representatives of the four largest Christian churches are opposed to same-sex marriage, and have urged the faithful to vote ‘no.’ At the same time, Christian activist groups like ‘Faith in Marriage Equality’ more…

Danny Morrison’s “West Belfast”: a coming of age novel set against the backdrop of a city in conflict

West Belfast - Danny Morrison - book cover (square)

I grew up hearing Danny Morrison’s name on the radio at breakfast time as Sinn Féin’s Director of Publicity. More recently I’ve known him as chair of Féile an Phobail and spotted his attendance at many of the festival’s events in St Mary’s and the annual West Belfast Talks Back debate. But I’d never realised more…

Review: From Protest to Pragmatism: The Unionist Government and North-South Relations from 1959-72 (David McCann)

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From Protest to Pragmatism charts the ups and downs in north-south relations as well cross-border cooperation as political capital ebbed and flowed in the Northern Ireland’s unionist government between 1959 and 1972. David McCann [Ed – name sounds familiar?] has worked his way through government archives in Belfast, Cork, Dublin and London, along with newspapers, more…

Paul Burgess’ first novel re-humanises a Belfast still hardened by past and ongoing sacrifices

White Church

So when an academic emails you and asks you to consider reviewing his debut novel, it’s time for a stiff drop of Paddy isn’t it? Either that or carry on wading through the few dozen ‘biteens’ of Twitter outrage that come through each day. When Paul Burgess sent me his email flyer for White Church, Black Mountain, I only bought in more…

Review: Frank Browne: A Life through the Lens

DAVISON David - Frank Browne A Life through the Lens

God can sanctify photography. With a poem by Pope Leo XIII, Colin Ford explains the basis for how Irish Jesuit Frank Browne acquired a camera from his bishop uncle, at the age of 17, and kept making images throughout his priestly life. Browne took his camera everywhere. His early trips to Europe were the apparent more…

On Mary Peters’ Elevation to Companion of Honour

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Even readers who are especially interested in the New Year’s honours list may have missed the significance of Mary Peters’ elevation to the Order of the Companions of Honour. Peters and Sebastian Coe are the only athletes ever to have received this award. Coverage in the Northern Ireland media has been relatively muted, although the more…