‘Free Derry’ wins McCrea Literary Award

Adrian Kerr pictured at the launch of his book, "Free Derry, Protest and Resistance" with Jenny Doherty and Eamonn McCann. (2601SL20)
Adrian Kerr pictured at the launch of his book, "Free Derry, Protest and Resistance" with Jenny Doherty and Eamonn McCann. (2601SL20)

Local author Adrian Kerr’s book ‘Free Derry: Protest and Resistance’, has been awarded the prestigious McCrea Literary Award for 2013.

The Award brings with it a cash prize of £500 and is open biennially for all graduates of University of Ulster for creative writing in the fields of poetry, essay, drama, the novel or the humanities.

Author Adrian Kerr, Manager of the Museum of Free Derry, said: “It is obviously very gratifying to have been given this award, and I would like to thank the judging panel for it, and for their constructive and encouraging words about the book.”

“Having put a lot of time and effort into the book it is personally very pleasing to see that work being recognised, especially from such a source as the University of Ulster. Since the book originated in the narrative for the Museum of Free Derry, I also see it as recognition in a way of the story we tell here and how we tell it.”

The prize marks the second literary award for the esteemed local publishing house this year, with Jenni Doherty also winning an award for her recent debut ‘Rain Spill’.

“I must also thank Guildhall Press, with whom I have had a long and enjoyable working relationship, and who put a lot of time, effort and skill into producing yet another of the high quality publications for which they are now well renowned,” the author added.

The Judges’ Report into the prize praised Kerr for his “meticulous” attention to detail. “The panel relished the real affinity which the author showed for the subject, and were impressed by the meticulous research and careful detailing and organisation of material,” the report read.

“Given the contentiousness of the subject, the author remained impressively impartial, showing an admirable determination to report and to avoid opining.

“Even readers familiar with this period and this particular subject would learn something new from these pages.”

Paul Hippsley, Managing Editor of Guildhall Press, said he was “delighted” at the prestigious win.

“It is a testament to Adrian’s deep knowledge and understanding of the challenging social and political environment that existed during such a tumultuous period in Derry’s recent history,” he said.

“We are grateful to the Derry Journal for the extensive archive material made freely available to support Adrian’s insightful analysis in this landmark publication.”

‘Free Derry: Protest and Resistance’ is currently available in all local bookshops and also to order from: www.ghpress.com.