Derry Essay Series…

As a foil (pun intended) to the reductive scrapping of the election campaigns, we’re running an essay series focused on Derry (or if you insist, Londonderry). The news hook is the city’s UK of culture bid which will be submitted in the third week of May, I think. But our aim is not to underwrite the big, so much as to find as many different (and differing) voices to describe the problem by exploring the Derry experience(s) through a number of angles: cultural, historic and political.

We don’t believe there is any value in trying to come to some kind of false or anodyne consensus view of where Derry is now, where it has come from or indeed where it might go in future. Like our Lisbon Essay series last September we want to take views from a variety of people trying to ‘describe the problem’ in the widest possibly variety of ways.

We are looking for very short well argued contributions between 400 and 600 words… It’s short for two reasons: one not to impinge on precious time; and two, online readers start to clock out after about 600 words… It’s important to note though the series is not about the bid and the pluses and minuses thereof per se, but Derry and its people.

We are looking for contention, not necessarily controversy; though we welcome that too… I’m keen to see people back reference points made in earlier essays and both challenge them and/or fill any important informational gaps…

We’ll kick start with a homer from Brian this afternoon, and we’ll follow that with a piece about ‘Derry and the border’ from Niall O Dochartaigh from NUI Galway… I have a list of other will participants lined up, but I am very keen for this to be a bottom up project… So we are looking for contributions from essayists and photographers from the city, or ex pats looking back on the city…


  • Briso

    ‘describe the problem’

    What problem? Derry is a problem which needs describing? Good God. Count me out.

    Belfast. Describe the problem.

  • Drumlins Rock

    The sorry of emmigration from the city must be one of the central elements, how much did it effect the relevant populations?

  • Mick Fealty


    Let me qualify that. The ‘problem’ is not Derry. It’s the proposition for the ‘city of culture’ tag. How do describe the city honestly and with all the complexity that its people represent.