The efforts and achievements of Derry’s Bloody Sunday campaigners took centre stage during a lavish ceremony which saw ‘Journal’ reporter Julieann Campbell awarded the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize.
Julieann was awarded the prestigious prize on Thursday for her book ‘Setting the Truth Free: The Inside Story of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign’, which was published by Liberties Press in Dublin to mark the 40th anniversary of the Derry massacre.
Professor Roy Foster - one of Ireland’s foremost historians and Chair of the Judging Panel - commended local campaigners, describing Julieann’s book as “a fascinating account of a grass-roots movement fuelled by few resources other than an absolute determination to see justice done.”
The Prize was presented by popular Irish broadcaster Olivia O’Leary at a ceremony at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Iveagh House. Introducing the prize was Robin Ewart-Biggs, son of Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British Ambassador to Ireland who was killed by the IRA in 1976.
Previous winners of the Prize include playwright Brian Friel for ‘Translations’, historian FSL Lyons and former Beirut hostage Brian Keenan.
Veteran journalist and writer Peter Taylor also received a Special Award of £2,500, for his work in Northern Ireland over the past four decades.
Seán O’Keeffe, Publisher at Liberties Press, said of the accolade: “We at Liberties Press are delighted that Julieann Campbell’s ‘Setting the Truth Free’ has been awarded this prestigious honour. The book is an important work on a key and devastating passage in recent Irish history...We hope the award helps a new generation of readers gain a better understanding of the events of Bloody Sunday and its aftermath.”
In her acceptance speech, Julieann said: “Having such a distinguished panel of judges read about the efforts and achievements of an ordinary bunch of Derry people is great, but to read their story and think it worthy of a prize – that is amazing.”
“It has been a privilege to have been entrusted with such an important story and I thank all those who shared their knowledge and experiences with me. Theirs is a tale of highs and lows, of the power of perseverance and the determination of the human spirit. Thanks to their efforts, the history books have all been rewritten and the issue of Bloody Sunday might just heal in our lifetime.
“Thank you to all the book’s contributors and all those whom they fought for – this prize is for them.”