I’ve finished the first draft of Varakite, the third book in the Timecrack adventure series, in which one of my favourite places, Donegal, in the north-west of Ireland, plays a large part in the story. Once again, the two brothers, Archie and Richard, travel through time and the multiverse to land in Ireland during the Great Famine of the 1840s.
It was while researching this period and beyond to the 20th century, I was drawn once again to some of the works by wonderful Irish writers who have given so much pleasure to readers around the world. Some, perhaps, are not so well-known globally, but they have a loyal readership amongst the Irish, wherever they are.
Sam McAughtry is one of them, and after a gap of too many years, I came across a rare copy of his novel Touch and Go in a local charity shop. What a find. For someone like me, born and raised in Belfast during the post-war years, his story of an R.A.F. pilot returning to his home city and family at the end of the war is a powerful reminder of how it was then.
His hard-hitting tale of working-class people and their way of life, is a great read and if you can find a copy, I suggest you put it on your ‘must read’ list.
He was born in Belfast, N.Ireland (1921 – 1996). He was a prolific writer, a journalist, broadcaster, civil servant, trade unionist, politician and an active peace campaigner.
The following is a small selection of his works:
The Sinking of the Kenbane Head (1977)
Play It Again Sam (1978)
Blind Spot (1979)
Sam McAughtry’s Belfast (1981)
Belfast Stories ((1993)
There are other Irish writers, which a new audience with an interest in Ireland, might come to appreciate. I’ll mention them in the coming blogs