Veteran peace negotiator Padraig O'Malley worked on the conflicts in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Mac Maharaj played a role in the latter nation's anti-apartheid movement. Both took part in recent closed-door negotiations in Finland, aimed at bringing reconciliation among rival factions in Iraq.
Novelist Mary Gordon's new book, Pearl, is about a mother's struggle to understand her daughter's public act of martyrdom. Gordon is the author of seven novels, including Final Payments and The Company of Women), and four nonfiction works.
Journalist and author Martin Dillon is considered an expert on the conflict in Northern Ireland. His three books: "God and the Gun," "The Shankill Butchers," and "The Dirty War." all bestsellers in his native Ireland have just been published for the first time in the U.S. Martin Dillon has worked for the BBC in Northern Ireland for 18 years. He has also produced news segments for CNN, ABC, CBC, and NPR. He currently lives in New York City.
Former U.S. Senator from Maine, George Mitchell. After leaving the Senate he chaired the Northern Ireland peace talks. His new book is about that, "Making Peace: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Negotiations that Culminated in the Signing of the Northern Ireland Peace Accord, told by the American Senator who Served as Independent Chairman of the Talks" (Knopf).
Journalist Jack Holland. He is a columnist for the Irish Echo, an American weekly for Irish-Americans. Holland was born in Northern Ireland. He was raised Catholic, and has Protestant blood in him as well. He will be talking about the events leading up to the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, and the new National Assembly that was elected last week in Belfast. He'll also talk about growing up in Ireland. The Irish Echo is available on the World Wide Web at www.irishecho.com.
Sister Cecelia Clegg, a Scottish Roman Catholic nun, works for peace in Northern Ireland by way of her project: "Moving Beyond Sectarianism," a workshop for Catholic and Protestant congregations to speak about their lives and their differences. In the three years she has lived and worked in Belfast, Sister Cecelia has been viewed as a British outsider to Irish Catholics as well as a Catholic outsider to Protestants.
Poet, editor, and novelist Seamus Deane. His first novel, Reading in the Dark," (Knopf) came out earlier this year, a chronicle of a boy growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1950's. Deane recounts the story of a family haunted by a missing uncle and his tie to the greater Troubles surrounding them all. "Reading in the Dark" was short-listed for the United Kingdom's esteemed literary prize, the Booker. Deane is the editor of the Norton "Field Day Anthology," the definitive collection of Irish literature.
President of the Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland, John Hume. He's been an advocate of nonviolence throughout the 25 years of violence in Ireland. He has received numerous peace and humanitarian awards, has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is thought to be a leading contender for the award this year. He has a new memoir "A New Ireland: Politics, Peace, and Reconciliation" (Roberts Rinehart Publishers). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Author and former British prisoner, Belfast-born Gerry Conlon. In his memoir, "In the Name of the Father," he tells the story of his wrongful conviction and fifteen-year imprisonment by the British Government for the 1974 terrorist bombings of two pubs near London. He was in prison with his father, Giuseppe, who was also falsely convicted as a co-conspirator in the bombings.
Film director Jim Sheridan. An Academy Award nominee for Best Director of "My Left Foot," he directed, produced and co-authored the screenplay for the new film, "In the Name of the Father," starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It's based on Gerry Conlon's memoir of the same name.
Irish writer and journalist Tim Pat Coogan. In the expanded edition of his twenty-some year old book, "The IRA: A History" (Roberts Rinehart), Coogan explains the historical background of the Irish struggles. For hundreds of years the Irish Republican Army has been fighting for home rule in Northern Ireland...their latest attack was a massive bombing of London last April. "The IRA: A History," is being released for the first time in the U.S., thought it's been required reading for British and Irish Military officers alike.
Author and professor Padraig O'Malley's most recent books is called "Biting At the Grave," about the IRA hunger strikes in 1981 that ended in 10 deaths. O'Malley challenges conventional wisdom on each side of the conflict. Formal talks between Protestant and Catholic political leaders over the future of Northern Ireland are to begin next Monday.
Literary critic Denis Donogue was a Catholic who grew up in a community suspicious of Protestants. His memoir about his life in Northern Ireland, and his father's career in the constabulary, is called "Warrenpoint."
Reverend Michael Doyle was a member of the Camden 28, a group of activists tried for their anti-Vietnam War actions in 1971. His church, Sacred Heart, ministers to the poor in Camden, New Jersey. His joins Fresh Air to talk about the roots of poverty in the U.S., and about political and religious tensions in Northern Ireland.