donal mclaughlin

on & off the page

on the eve of brexit (not)

 

It is no coincidence that, in the run-up to 29 March, Donal participated in two events in Glasgow.

On the Tuesday of that week, he introduced Anthony Cartwright (top right) at an event called ‘A Thousand Cuts’ at the Scottish Writers’ Centre, at which Anthony read from his short novel The Cut, a book commissioned by Pereine Press & published on the first anniversary of the Brexit referendum. Donal took the opportunity to praise Anthony’s previous novels too, such as the “gem” How I Killed Margaret Thatcher & the “more than just a football novel” Iron Towns, drawing particular attention to ‘Black Country’ – the beautifully balanced “essay in response to the EU Referendum” added to the paperback edition of Iron Towns.

Two evenings later, Donal read at a Scottish PEN event in the Tron Theatre with the novelist and short story writer Bernard MacLaverty  and the poet Ciara MacLaverty (top left; front row, middle and right). Author David Manderson (back row) of Scottish PEN’s Writers for Peace Committee had organised the evening around the inspired theme of ‘Place and Peace: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Europe.’ First up, Donal read – like a year ago at the Tron – from a two-story story written in response to Brexit, then got to sit back and enjoy as Ciara read both new work, including a poem in progress commissioned by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and poems from her recent Past Love in the Museum of Transport, and Bernard then read a brilliant passage from Midwinter Break which recalls a major bomb going off in the Belfast of the Troubles. Bernard, it is fair to say, stole the show by reading, from a notebook, a tweet he’d written the previous evening:

Question: How do you get the DUP to say “Yes”?

Answer: Ask them are they going to vote “No”.

 

Photographs courtesy of David Manderson (group) & Angela Donnithorne (A.C.)

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