Speaker for 4th February
Coleraine Probus find they can smile at the 'Troubles'
Portstewart based author Tony Macaulay made a welcome return to the Coleraine Club, to tell members about his latest book. After four volumes of memories about growing up and living in Belfast throughout the 'Troubles', Tony was turning his hand writing 'fiction', a comedy novel about the 'Peace Walls' - a subject that most people would find difficult to smile at. Especially when, as Tony pointed out, after 50 years since the 'Troubles' truly began, there are still over 100 separating walls / barriers dividing communities in Belfast.
Members enjoy Tony's reading for his 'Paperboy' book
Tony's first book, the critically acclaimed “Paperboy”, published in 2010 tells the nostalgic storey of his years in the Shankill working as a twelve year old Paperboy. The sequel, “Breadboy”, teenage kicks and tatey bread was published in 2013 and “All Growed Up”, what a Breadboy did at University, followed in 2014. The fourth memoir “The Little House on the Peace Line” tells the story of how, in the 1980's, Tony and his wife Lesley lived and worked on the 'wrong side' of the peace line in Belfast, helping young people to reject sectarianism.
Tony's first novel is called, “Belfast Gate”. It is a satirical comedy drama set in 2019. It tells of a cross community group of Catholic and Protestant women, who start a campaign to have their 'peace walls' taken down. Under the banner “Get our gate open” the GOGO girls; Wee Jean; Roberta; Bridgett and Patricia, burst on the scene. The 'girls' even gain access to Stephen Nolan's Radio Show, the "biggest show in the country”.
The 'Graffiti' at the heart of the book
On the 50th Anniversary of the erection of the “Peace Walls,” in the era of Brexit and Trump's border wall, the themes of Tony's laugh-out-loud novel resonates far beyond Northern Ireland. Readings of the extracts from the book certainly brought smiles to the faces of club members and guests! Tony's fifth book is certainly a very good and humorous read; the sad thing is there's a hefty helping of real life lurking behind the comedy, which reminds us all we can't live our lives in isolation from our neighbours. Pop along to Easons or Waterstones and get a copy before they sell out!
Our Secretary and New President listen carefully
As always, many thanks to Graham for most of this report
To find out a bit more about Tony, 'Click' his website logo below (this will open in a new window)