Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Titanic author visits ship’s birthplace

A best-selling author has visited the Titanic Made in Belfast Festival as part of his worldwide book tour.

Australian Steven Rafter — author of ‘209 A Story’ — took in the exhibition at the Odyssey’s W5 on Saturday.

‘209 A Story’ follows the life of Arthur Gordon McCrae, the only Australian whose body was recovered after the Belfast-built Titanic sank on her maiden voyage in 1912.

Steven Rafter’s novel tells the life of young Arthur, weaving fact and fiction around four characters whose lives are linked over 150 years.

The novel starts in Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland around the middle of the 19th century.

As the world book launch took place last week in Piper’s Hall at Balmoral Castle, Steven learned about Belfast City Council’s Titanic Made In Belfast Festival and the Titanic exhibition at W5.

“I was delighted to be able to visit W5 for this exhibition,” said Steven. “Someone mentioned the festival to me at the UK launch and I thought since I had come all the way to the UK I might as well pop over to Belfast to see the exhibition”.

Stephanie Berkeley, marketing manager of W5, welcomed Steven and showed him around, highlighting the significance of the Titanic to Belfast and W5’s location, which overlooks the shipyard where Titanic was designed and built nearly a century ago.

In return W5 was presented with a signed first edition copy of ‘209 A Story’. Steven also took the opportunity to stand on the deck of SS Nomadic and said: “This is the closest thing anyone will ever get to standing on Titanic.

“I really do need to congratulate the organisers of Titanic: Designed and Built in Belfast and the Titanic Made in Belfast Festival for their efforts to ensure the story of RMS Titanic stays alive for future generations. This is a world class exhibition and I hope it can make its way to Australia at some stage. It would be an enormous hit.”

Steven returns to Australia this week to prepare for the main book launch. It will be held on Wednesday, which is the anniversary of the ship’s sinking, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

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