Thursday, 14 January 2010


© Joe ÓNéill 2009

Belfast born author Brian Keenan, returned to his native city yesterday to talk about his latest book, 'I'll Tell Me Ma', at the Out To Lunch Arts Festival at the Black Box in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.

Keenan's first book, 'An Evil Cradling', was an autobiographical account of his four year kidnapping ordeal in Beirut Lebanon, where he was working at the American University.

His latest work is a memoir of his growing up in Belfast in the 1950's. In his talk to a lunch-time audience of over 200 he spoke of the difficulty he had deciding to even start such a work. His early childhood memories were dim, and much of the working-class neighborhood in north Belfast were he grew up has physically changed very drastically due to redevelopment. The work he said, took him to areas where he could never have imagined when he began his odyssey of recollections. At this time his mother was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, and he was making frequent visits from Dublin where he now resides, to be with her. On these trips he would frequently walk the old haunts of his youth seeking inspiration.

Speaking to Soñar Blog afterward, Keenan said that he is already working on another book. He has made two trips recently to Lebanon. While there, he says he was looking for stories of ordinary Lebanese living everyday lives.

I'll Tell Me Ma, is published by Random House.

The Out to Lunch Arts Festival runs 6-31January 2010.
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