Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Kicking Off

So I’ve written this book. It has taken more than two years, numerous interviews, many hours on planes, boats and automobiles, and gallons of tea. It has also taken me from Croke Park to Windsor Park, and from Crossmaglen to Sammy McIlroy’s front room. Among other places.
It’s a book about sport and the Troubles and how the stories of Northern Irish sportsmen and women were shaped, sometimes distorted and now and again twisted and mangled by the politics of place and time over the last 40 years. It’s a story that takes in Belfast Celtic and Rory McIlroy, George Best and Bloody Friday.
It also takes in me growing up in Coleraine in the top left-hand corner of the province, so it’s also, in passing, a bit of a memoir.
In corners, too, it is a look at the idea of identity in Northern Ireland and the possibility that sport might offer a way to be Northern Irish without the sectarian trappings (while recognising that sport can also be a vehicle for those sectarian trappings).
In short it covers a lot of ground and a lot of years.
In the run-up to publication (September 29 if you want to know; you can pre-order it now if you like) I thought it might be fun to set up a blog to act as a teaser and a notebook. And so that’s what this is.
In the days and weeks that follow I’ll be adding links and blogposts about the book and the issues surrounding it. I would love to hear from you too.

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