When he was ten years old, Tony wrote a story that won his family’s respect. He became a voracious reader as a teenager, loving the books of Walter Macken.
In the early nineties, Tony was instrumental in setting up the campaign for a fresh review into Bloody Sunday – which resulted in David Cameron’s apology in 2010. He has project managed a number of cultural, political and human rights ventures, and is currently involved in the reform of the Health Service in Northern Ireland.
Who is Tony Doherty.
Date of birth: 1st Jan 1963, in Derry.
Education: Having achieved his school’s highest marks in the 11 plus exam, Tony was thrown out of St Conlumb’s College after a year. He attended St Joseph’s Secondary school in Creggan; Coleraine University; Irish, and Magee University; Irish History and Politics.
Family: Wife Stephanie, 2 sons Rossa 19, Oscar 11.
The Day Job: Regional Co-ordinator of the North’s Healthy Living Centre Alliance.
Interests: Gardening. “I grow vegetables and herbs; my wife grows flowers. I also like walking, and studying language.”
Favourite Writers: Alice Taylor; Ernest Hemingway; Brendan Behan; Thomas Hardy; Seamus Deane. “Deane’s Reading in the Dark inspired my memoir.”
Second Book: “I’m writing a second memoir detailing the period beyond February, 1972.”
Top Tip: “Read Stephen King’s On writing; read everything you can; keep a notebook handy, and sacrifice time. I get up at 5.45am and write for two hours.”
The Debut: This Man’s Wee Boy. Mercier: €12.99. Kindle: €9.50.
This poignant memoir is set in Derry at the start of the troubles. Told in a child’s voice, it shows the eccentric characters in Tony’s working class area, and the fun he had in early childhood. His father was central to his life.
When the soldiers first arrived, the locals befriended them; Tony earned money running errands for them, but gradually things darkened. The memoir ends at Tony’s father’s funeral. He was killed on Bloody Sunday; whilst his son, hearing the rumours whilst he was playing, simply could not believe them.
“I took myself back into the boreens of childhood. Once the memories came, the senses and the language followed easily.”
The Verdict: An inspirational memoir. The voice of innocence never slips. I was in awe!
Published in the Irish Examiner on 13th August
© Sue Leonard. 2016.