Examining the Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain

New essay by Dr Tony Murray reflects on the work of the author William Trevor and his portrayal of the Irish in London during the 1970s.

Date: 15 December 2016

Dr Tony Murray, Director of the Irish Studies Centre and senior lecturer in English Literature BA, has published an essay on the Irish author William Trevor.

William Trevor, who recently passed away, is considered one of the greatest short story writers of all time. Dr Murray’s essay examines how the author portrayed the Irish in London during the Northern Ireland Troubles, and how in particular the IRA’s bombing campaign in Britain impacted on them.

For a writer who had established a reputation for his empathetic portrayal of the anomalous position of the Anglo-Irish in Ireland, the political situation of the Irish in London in the 1970s and 1980s provided William Trevor with similar subject matter, but in a whole new context. 

Dr Murray argues that Trevor’s stories, and the conflicts of identity they expose, play a crucial role in the genre of Troubles fiction and an important corrective to some of the more pervasive stereotypes found there.

Tony Murray’s essay, 'Suspect Stories: William Trevor’s fictional portrayals of the Irish in London in the 1970s' is published by Manchester University Press in ‘The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories,’ a ground-breaking book providing the first comprehensive investigation of the history and memory of the Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain.

Dr Murray is the Director of the Irish Studies Centre at London Metropolitan University. The centre, which was founded in 1986, aims to promote Irish Studies through research, teaching, consultation and community liaison. A film celebrating the centre’s 30th anniversary can be viewed on YouTube.

Image of Tony Muuray