An acorn matures: Book launch of Little House on a Peace Line (Tony Macaulay)
by Allan LEONARD
27 June 2017
The Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts was the venue for the launch of Tony Macaulay’s latest edition of growing up in the contested space of Northern Ireland: Little House on a Peace Line.
Bill Shaw (Director, 174 Trust) welcomed all and pointed out that Macaulay’s self-reference as a “wee acorn” was planted in peacebuilding work with his first job at the trust all those years ago.
Indeed, there were many long-standing friends of his in the audience of several dozen, including fellow youth club workers and a few youth club members of the day.
Macaulay’s nephew, Scott Macaulay, entertained guests with an excellent guitar performance. Of course he played a rendition of “Teenage Kicks” (cited in the second book, Breadboy); the room of readers approved with knowing smiles.
Helen Wright (Managing Editor, Blackstaff) described how pleased they were to be the publishers of this series, from the second title; she lamented that they missed out on his first title, Paperboy.
Wesley Johnston (Director, Colourpoint) joked about this, describing Little House as the fourth book in the trilogy. He expressed his organisation’s enthusiasm, as new owners of Blackstaff.
Before providing a reading, Macaulay thanked many people, yet dedicated the new book to the memory of Billy Kane, who is discussed in its pages. Macaulay expressed his gratitude that members of Billy’s family were present at this launch event.
Macaulay’s reading was from his wife Lesley and his experience of facilitating a cross-community encounter of a small group of Protestant and Catholic young people.
His accentuation of the story brings it to life. You can imagine being the room, the participants’ tension of facing those from ‘the other’ side, and Tony and Lesley doing their best to explore dialogue, which went something along the lines of:
“I’m British, so I am,” by a Protestant participant.
“No you’re not! You’re Irish, so you are,” retorts a Catholic participant.
“British!” “Irish!” “British!” “Irish!”
Not all was lost. Macaulay discovered that both sides would consider shagging someone from the other side. Love — or at least sex — could bridge the communal divide.
There was a healthy queue for having your freshly purchased book signed, where Macaulay continued his ever sunny and optimistic self.