- 12 Feb 19
Geraldine Quigley was working 10 hour shifts in a call centre for minimum wage, before a Penguin writer’s programme allowed her to pen her first novel, Music Love Drugs War. Set in Derry during the Hunger Strikes, it’s a compelling account of how youthful optimism can quickly slide into a desire for violence and vengeance.
There’s a topic that seems unavoidable when Hot Press sits down to chat with Derry writer Geraldine Quigley. The date is January 22, which means that just a few days earlier, a group of dissident republicans set off a bomb in the writer’s home city. It’s an act that might’ve been common in 1979. Even 1989. But not 2019.
“I’ve been here before,” Geraldine says, even-handedly but with a hint of tired frustration in her voice. “Everybody dreads this. I mean bomb alerts happen regularly in this city. There’s unexplained devices lying somewhere and everyone’s just more annoyed than scared. Lisa McGee captured that really well in Derry Girls. That ‘For God’s sake, I can’t be bothered with this’ attitude.
“But what happened on Saturday… That was different. And I think it’s scared people. Because you know what? Derry still gets ignored. We had City of Culture, and maybe that will have ripple effects, but there’s very little in Derry for young people. Still no jobs. No future here for a lot of young people. If something kicks off, my fear is that the same pattern will happen again as happened before. I think every parent in Derry is worried about the same thing.”