I don’t know whether I’m particularly lucky or have just managed to position myself well but I seem to have spent the last fifteen or so years of my life surrounded by fantastically creative and talented people. Every time a good friend releases an album, produces a play or writes a blistering new song, the better part of me, (that part which isn’t crippled by envy or smouldering insecurity), is freshly astounded by just how marvellously amazing my friends are. To be party to the highs and lows of other people’s creative process has proven to be a strange comfort on the many occasions when I have felt odd and lonely in my own small corner. What a privilege to be surrounded by people who inspire, encourage and challenge me as an artist. I’m really grateful to be part of a community which is more than the individual artists who comprise it and, when one of us strikes creative gold, it always feels like something of a win for the team.
This week my friend and fellow novelist Michael Nolan has released his first book, The Blame, on Salt Publishing. Mickey is one of the most determined, humble and inspiring people I’ve met in the last year. Despite the fact that he’s young enough to be my much younger brother, he’s already secured an agent, published a brilliant novella and still had time to come along and support many of us at readings over the last year. Mickey is one of those salt of the earth people who write, from sheer necessity because they love books and the words which make books possible. I can’t wait to read The Blame and I hope many of you will come along to the launch on Tuesday 10th June as part of www.belfastbookfestival.com and download a copy from http://www.saltpublishing.com I know this is just the start of big things for Mickey. I’m looking forward to his next book and the dozen or more I’m anticipating after that.
Here’s a quick blurb about The Blame to whet your reading appetite.
“A young drug dealer wants to make amends for the death of a friend, but will he be executed before he can turn his life around?”
Michael Nolan was winner of the Avalon Prize 2011.
Donal, an unemployed twenty-three year old is trying to get to grips with his friend, Pearce, dying at the hands of the fatal Green Rolex ecstasy pills that have surfaced around the city of Belfast. Donal is conflicted, struggling more because it was he, Donal, who gave the pills out at a party in the early hours of the morning the day after Boxing Day. Fra McCusker, Pearce’s uncle and member of a dangerous dissident paramilitary organisation who are wreaking havoc across the city, catches wind and is out to get Donal and make him pay for what he has done. It comes down to a decision that Donal must make between going on the run away from Belfast, his home, the place he feels is ingrained in him, or staying and facing the consequences of which he becomes aware — after a close encounter — will be a paramilitary style execution. From homeless drunks, to young men driven to immigration, political tensions and the ever present threat of violence, The Blame encapsulates the city of Belfast through the eyes of a problematic disillusioned young man in all its divisive complexity — download your copy now.