Secrets, lies and Irish History

Press/Media: Expert Comment


The stories told and secrets kept in Ireland north and south are the focus of a pair of deeply personal new non fiction books - Missing Persons Or My Grandmother's Secrets from University of Cambridge Professor of English Literature Clair Wills and Dirty Linen by Martin Doyle who is Books Editor of the Irish Times. They're joined by the criminologist Dr Louise Brangan who researches the sociology of punishment, including work on Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and the poet Scott McKendry whose work deals with generational trauma and social decay in Belfast. John Gallagher hosts a discussion of how the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and others can shape society and history itself.

Professor Clair Will's books include Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain and The Family Plot: Three Pieces on Containment.
Martin Doyle's book is called Dirty Linen The Troubles in My Home Place.
Scott McKendry's debut poetry collection is Gub.
Dr Louise Brangan is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker.

You can find other episodes exploring Irish history and writing on the Free Thinking programme website under past episodes and Arts & Ideas podcasts including programmes about Emigration and "bad Bridgets"; Ireland's Hidden Histories and Secret Stories; Edna O'Brien; Colm Tóibín; Anne Enright.

Radio 3 has a three part series tracing music and composers from the island over the past two hundred years - Irish Classical, hidden in plain sight. Find it on BBC Sounds.

Period20 Jan 2024

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleFree Thinking
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletBBC
    Media typeRadio
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionFree Thinking is a radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of its "After Dark" late night programming. Format Programmes usually included a mix of interviews, reviews, previews, discussions, commissioned writing and reports. Some episodes included a single interview with a prominent figure in the worlds of arts or ideas.
    Producer/AuthorOlive Clancy
    PersonsScott McKendry