Northern Ireland news

Growing up on Shankill Road in Belfast inspires new film deal

Paul Burgess drew on his experiences of growing up in Shankill Road area for his novel White Church, Black Mountain

THERE are hopes a novel drawing on the experiences of a man growing up in west Belfast will be turned into a film.

White Church, Black Mountain by Paul Burgess is inspired by his childhood in the loyalist heartland of the Shankill Road.

The academic has been signed up by literary agency MV Worldwide, based in Los Angeles, and its founder Mathilde Vuillermoz is working on securing a mainstream publisher and film rights.

Much of Mr Burgess' scholarly work at University College Cork has been based on Protestant identity and his debut novel is a thriller set in post-conflict Belfast where the "fragile peace process is haunted by crimes of the past".

He said he was able to draw on his experiences growing up in the Shankill and later as a community relations worker in the city.

"This novel is at the forefront of an emerging 'post-conflict' canon," he said.

"It explores the legacy of conflict and how it impacts on those who seek to build a future in its aftermath."

The writer, who is also a songwriter with his band Ruefrex, added that he is already working on a second novel set in post 9/11 USA.

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