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Book dedicated to child victims of Northern Ireland Troubles wins major award

'Award dedicated to children and families, who trusted us with their precious memories'

Freya McClements and Joe Duffy with their award
Freya McClements and Joe Duffy with their award

By Eimear McGovern

Northern Ireland journalist Freya McClements and broadcaster Joe Duffy have won a prestigious literary award for their book about the children who died during the Troubles.

The pair received the best Irish-published book of the year at the Irish Book awards in a ceremony in Dublin's Convention Centre.

The authors dedicated their award to the 186 children killed during 25 years of conflict.

Children of the Troubles: The Untold Story of the Children Killed in the Northern Ireland Conflict is based on interviews with almost 100 families.

It includes children who have never previously been publicly acknowledged as victims of the Troubles and is the product of a collaboration that took the authors two-and-a-half years to complete.

Over 115,000 votes were cast by the public to select the winners at the event.

"We are honoured that Children of the Troubles has been recognised as the best Irish-published book of the year," Ms McClements said.

"This is a powerful acknowledgement of each and every child remembered in the book, and we are hugely grateful to all at the An Post Irish Book Awards for recognising the importance of telling their stories.

"We also would like to thank our publisher Ciara Considine and all at Hachette Ireland, who believed in the book from the outset and who, like us, were determined to do the children justice.

"The award is dedicated to the children and their families, who trusted us with their precious memories. The book simply would not have been possible without them, and this is as much their award as it is ours."

Speaking when the book was published in September, Mr Duffy said the work was not about blame but rather reclamation and remembrance.

"This is not about recrimination. This is simply about recording the names of the 186 children who died in the Troubles. It's about perished potential," he said.

Ms McClements said they had one focus while the project was ongoing.

"In the book, we deliberately make it about the children. We talk about them, the person they were, rather than just what happened to them. And that was very important."

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