Home burning books Burning Books…on Paper—James McVeigh

Burning Books…on Paper—James McVeigh

“Two years later at the age of 19, I myself was a political prisoner in the H-Blocks. It was there that my writing journey began.”

—Author James McVeigh reveals which books he’d save if his house was on fire, in the next in our companion series to our podcast.  

Turn down the page, or book mark?

Depends, cherished books, book marker. Pulp fiction, fold corner. 

Are you one book at a time, or a polyamorous reader?

I have a messy pile of books at the side of my bed. I read lots of different books at the same time. I nibble at books. 

A book that makes you laugh?

The Snapper, by Roddy Doyle. Hard to beat or should I say hard t’bate? 

A book which uplifts you?

The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. The capacity of human beings to love, to endure, and on occasion, to triumph, is inspiring. Wonderful man, wonderful book. 

A book you associate with a particular life event?

Writings from Prison, by Bobby Sands. It reminded me of an event, or series of events in 1981, the death of the Irish Hunger Strikers, including Bobby Sands, that profoundly changed the course of my own life.

Two years later at the age of 19, I myself was a political prisoner in the H-Blocks. It was there that my writing journey began. 

Is there anything of your own work that you’d leave behind to burn?

Some of the poems I wrote when I was in my 20s. Cringe. Please incinerate. 

One of your own books published or unpublished that you’d choose to save?

Stolen Faith, my new and first novel. I’m quite proud of it. It is a work of fiction but its subject matter, Ireland’s mother & baby homes and the horrendous treatment of young women and children by the Catholic Church, speaks to an important truth.

The book is dedicated to my mother and its central characters are strong women, just like her. 

A book you are writing now

I’ve just started writing my first film script. It’s about one of Ireland’s greatest historical figures & heroes. 

Can’t say who. Here’s a clue: ‘The Irish people will only be free when they own every thing from the plough to the stars.’ Tell you all later this year or early next I hope. 

A book you’d leave in there to burn

This will be heresy for some. Ulysses by JJ himself. I can’t stand it. Sorry folks. Started to read it a dozen times and can’t get past the first few pages. Far too clever by half. I gave up. Leave it in the fire. Give me the Da in The Snapper or Rashers in Strumpet City anytime. 

You can save one non-book item: what is it?

A non book item—my wife? Lol.

Stolen Faith|James McVeigh|The O’Brien Press|ISBN:9781788492942|€14.99