GERRY Adams read excerpts from his new collection of short stories today, as part of Féile an Phobail.
Described as “portraits of Ireland, and especially Belfast, old and new”, one theme running through the narrative of Black Mountain and Other Stories is how our past is always part of our present.
The former Sinn Féin President was interviewed during the The Felons book launch by writer and journalist Tim O’Grady before an appreciative audience.
Mr Adams told those gathered that there were better writers than him in the room, but spoke about his pleasure of developing a story and finding that once he begins that journey that he is amazed "where these stories go”.
Reading from his book, we find two old friends going for a walk on the Black Mountain; one comparing the mountain to an old dog waking up from its slumber. “I often wonder what we would do if it stretched itself and dandered off,” he asks. The mountain although impervious to all that is happening around it, has been omnipresent in the lives of the people living in its shadow, becoming a silent witness to all that has taken place below its green slopes down through the years.
In another story a woman unpacks her bags in a hotel room when she notices the wallpaper of patterned bluebells, which slowly brings her back 30 years to her small childhood home and the bedroom she shared with her little sister.
Mr Adams spoke about his own writing history and the process of writing.
“It’s a solidary pursuit,” he said. “And I find I like that. I don’t mind solitude. I live a very, very busy life. I have a very close family which are a joy, and I have a pile of comrades and friends from over a long time so I spend a lot of time with other people.
“So there is something of a respite in doing something outside of all of that.
“Some people might go and drink, and people might go and play golf and play hurling or play football and walk, and I do all of those things, but I also do a bit of footering with writing as well and I like that experience.”
The book launch ended with the former West Belfast MP answering questions from the audience before signing copies of his latest offering.
Black Mountain and Other Stories is published by O’Brien Press.