‘White Church, Black Mountain’ has been shortlisted for The Carousel Aware Prize 2016.
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Dr Paul Burgess's first novel, ‘White Church, Black Mountain’ could be made into a film.
Hollywood could beckon for a Belfast-born, University College Cork writer and academic, whose debut novel, inspired by the challenges facing individuals in post-conflict Northern Ireland, holds plenty of attractions for US film studios.
'Four Corners' Poetry Competition
Thomas Paul Burgess (MSc Educational Studies, 1989), has won the St Cross prize with his poem Coming up to Oxford.
2015 is the College's 50th Anniversary and, as part of the celebrations, St Cross held an international poetry competition, judged by the distinguished poet Mimi Khalvati. Mimi has published eight collections of poetry with Carcanet Press. She founded The Poetry School and has co-edited three anthologies of new writing published by Enitharmon Press. The College is pleased to be part of the thriving British poetry scene, dominated by small independent presses and featuring many competitions like Four Corners....Read more here.
Portobello - Book Festival, Edinburgh
2nd – 4th October 2015 | 12.15-1.45pm LIBRARY
SECTARIAN IDENTITIES IN SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND
In their recent anthology Mixing the Colours Glasgow Women’s Library explore sectarian identities in Scotland through stories and poems. Paul Burgess from Northern Ireland is similarly interested in sectarian identities, both in his recent novel White Church, Black Mountain and his academic work The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants.
Chair: Anne Gilchrist
'Recommendation for ‘White Church, Black Mountain’, St Cross College, University of Oxford, publication, ‘Crossword’. Read more here.
'The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants review: grief and grievances
There are interesting contributions here on dilemmas facing Northern Ireland Protestants but ancient chips weigh heavily on shoulders of its editors, writes Susan McKay...' Read more here.
'A story full of compassion that counters the usual pigeon-holing of characters while expanding on the pettiness of sectarianism and violence in the name of divided communities.
The book works at various levels and will inform and entertain you; however it may also move you and leave you changed. It was a good read over this Easter holiday; but will be read now by others throughout this year with increasing praise and delight. Please join them and give this book the exposure it deserves...' Read more here.
'A really good first novel by Burgess which echoes his academic studies into the Northern Ireland conflict and, particularly, its aftermath. Well plotted across three time periods in the main character's life the novel examines how the Troubles continue to cast a shadow across life in NI...' Read more here.
Books: Thinking about unionism
Not the least of the merits of Thomas Paul Burgess and Gareth Mulvenna's new book, a series of essays under the title The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants is the way they help us understand how unionist became such a dirty word. Read more...
University College Cork Professor John A Murphy UCC, Dr Thomas Paul Burgess UCC and Professor Sam McCready University of Ulster pictured as novelist, academic and musician Thomas Paul Burgess launched two new books at University College Cork.‘The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants’ (TP. Burgess & G. Mulvenna, Eds; Palgrave MacMillan) and political thriller ‘White Church, Black Mountain’ (TP Burgess; Matador).
Picture: Gerard McCarthy — at University College Cork.
White Church Black Mountain is a dark and gripping tale of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland and their legacy. Young Eban Barnard witnesses what he thinks is a killing in the Shankill area of Belfast and the fate of him and the other main characters in the book stems from that one horrific incident. Eban carries the guilt of that day with him through life,compounded by another chain of events he sets off as a result. In 2014 he decides to confess to the Historical Enquiries Team, set up to investigate unsolved murders during the troubles, and discovers that there are those who have no wish to have the truth known.
Alongside the main thread of the story is the tale of Eban's housemates; he shares with closet gay Pascal from France, Emily the long-suffering English teacher and Rosemary, a Catholic busybody and all-round harridan. One of the high points of the book is Pascal's "coming out" party, described as his "Babette's Feast” – for those of us old enough to remember Mike Leigh's classic play, "Abigail's Party" it is far more similar to that.
Burgess's characters are very well drawn and mostly flawed, through nature or made that way by life in the times and the place. Burgess shows us that while the Troubles may be over, their legacy for many most certainly isn't and those who held the reins of power then still do now; the titles change but the people don't. Burgess tells of such things as the Paramilitary's drug dealing, the collusion between the Army and the Protestant Paramilitary and the running sore of Kincora which the powers that be will “investigate” – no doubt when the guilty parties are all dead and beyond the reach of the law and public revulsion.
White Church Black Mountain pulls no punches; its characters come alive and it's a book you'll be thinking of for a long time after you've finished.
For a debut novel it's no less than awesome and I'd echo other reviewer's comments that it's "a classic”; I really hope it gets the audience it thoroughly deserves. It's confident, packs a punch and while it does at times seem to be a catalogue of misery, the final chapter leaves the reader with the hope of a happy ending.
I'd guess the book is largely allegorical but to explain why would reveal too much and I could well be wrong anyway.
Whatever else it is it's a superb read, a great book that deserves to sell well and be recognised for the amazing achievement it is. My book of 2015 so far.'
- REVIEW FROM NETGALLEY
The Ulster Protestant boasts so many more shades than simply red, white and blue.
A Northern Irish academic of some repute is caught up in a familiar and recurring conversation in Cork. It has started around someone noticing that he is an Ulster Protestant, whatever that means...
Read the full article here.
'Paul Burgess’ first novel re-humanises a Belfast still hardened by past and ongoing sacrifices...' - Mick Fealty. Read the full review here.
White Church, Black Mountain is Available now. View the Press Release by clicking here.
Shane MacGowan's smile
Belfast ex-punk's tribute to Shane MacGowan's smile 'not a teetotal song, that's for sure'