Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Award winning author supports The Mural Project

Timothy O’Grady is the author of two works of non-fiction,

Curious Journey: An Oral History of Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution (1982, with Kenneth Griffith) and On Golf (2003), and three novels, Motherland (l989), I Could Read the Sky (l997, with photographs by Steve Pyke) and Light (2004). Editions of his books have appeared in Germany, Holland and France, as well as the English-speaking world. Further editions are planned in Japan, Korea, Spain and Poland. Motherland won the David Higham Award for the best first novel of the year in Britain and I Could Read the Sky won the Encore Award for the best second novel.

"The first time I was in Belfast I was picked up at the rail station, driven past the town hall and the Linenhall Library and various other features of the centre of the city, and when we got to the bottom of the Falls Road my guide said, And this is where the assault on the senses begins. It was the year after the hunger strikes. Surveillance masts and towers rose into the gray sky. Troops with guns accompanied policemen pretending they were out for a stroll. Saracens charged up the road. It seemed a kind of dream. But flaming into colour and making something glorious out of this battleground were the murals - pictures of Nelson Mandela, an American Indian, Bobby Sands, revolutionary women from all over the world. They lifted the whole scene into something that transcended bitterness and reached towards the international and the inspirational. This was urban art made not out of a town hall project but from an energy that came from the streets and arrived at an individual muralist. The Shankill too had its murals, some celebratory, some defiant, some macabre. War too was waged with paint."

Timothy O'Grady was born in the USA and has lived in Ireland and Spain, he currently lives in London.

"That two Belfast muralists, one a republican and the other a loyalist, now propose to work together is one of the most fascinating details of the slow movement into peace, conciliation and progress. I think it’s a wonderful thing to support."

Photo credit Renate Lardner

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