A Whitehead writer is taking to the airwaves this week following the publication of her new book about growing up in Belfast.
Janice Donnelly’s Our Ones: A Belfast Memoir details the author’s childhood during the 1960s and 70s - a time when the city was rapidly changing from a place of love and peace to one of chaos and conflict.
The first of the stories were written around 2005, Janice recalled. “After that the memories just flowed,” she added. “I lived in Kensington Street, Sandy Row, but much of my time was spent in a house in Norwood Street, just around the corner, my mother’s old family home.
“During the 60s and early 70s, 60 Norwood Street was the place at the heart of the family, the hub and general meeting place for us all.
“By the mid to late 70s redevelopment dictated that we stay put on or move on in the hope of being rehoused within the area. Most of us moved on. The entire community was uprooted and over a period of time the houses were demolished. Some family members remained within the area but many of us scattered to different areas across the city.
“We were still the same people, the same family but distance meant that the nucleus became fragmented; we were still connected but no longer in constant touch.”
The collection of stories lay unread for ten years until the death of Janice’s Uncle Hughie in July 2015. “Hugh Johnston Murtagh was the head of the household that was 60 Norwood Street and the backbone of the family, so it seemed fitting that I should revisit these stories again in memory of him,” she added. “While some names have been changed, these are true recollections that take me back to a simpler place and time when the streets of my childhood were alive with extended families – a vibrant, thriving community and a great place to grow up.”
Janice will be giving two radio interviews on Radio Belfast 89fm in the coming days, including the David Sloan show on Friday, August 26 and Lisa Flavelle’s show on Monday, August 29.
Our Ones: A Belfast Memoir is available now in paperback, Kindle and various e-formats on Amazon.
The book can also be ordered through all main bookstores.
For more information, visit Janice’s website here.