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Image / Editorial

Faber celebrates journalist Lyra McKee with an anthology of her work

by Shayna Sappington
03rd Apr 2020

April marks the one-year anniversary of journalist Lyra McKee’s tragic death, and a beautiful anthology of her work has been released in commemoration.

“Here’s to better times ahead and saying goodbye to bombs and bullets once and for all,” wrote 29-year-old Lyra McKee on Twitter shortly before her death.

The renowned journalist had been known for her investigative coverage of Northern Ireland and the Troubles, whose effects, she wrote, reverberated into modern day. Lyra was an editor at news site Mediagazer and contributed to various news outlets around the world. But her primary focus had been investigating the death of Ulster unionist MP, Robert Bradford, in 1981.

The reporter had recently moved to Derry with her partner Sara, and it seems she was looking for a fresh start. But, tragically, she was killed shortly after. On April 18, 2019, a riot broke out in a Creggan neighbourhood when authorities took fire from local New IRA members. Lyra was caught in the crosshairs and struck by a stray bullet, and the nation was devastated. 

In memoriam

A year earlier, the brilliant writer had signed a two-book deal with big name publisher Faber & Faber, who released an anthology of her works yesterday titled Lost, Found, Remembered. 

The stunning collection features extracts of the novel she was working on, The Lost Boys, which explores the deaths of boys and young men during the Troubles – a time male suicide skyrocketed.

In fact, Northern Ireland’s suicide rates have continued to climb since the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998. According to the Northern Ireland Statistic and Research Agency, more people have died from taking their own life since the signing of the agreement than from violence during the Troubles.

An extract from her collection

Lyra brings attention to this alarming statistic in her anthology. The following extract from her collection describes a deeply dark and impactful day she experienced in 2018:

There was a quiet road that led to the edges of the mountain’s lower slopes. Some of the paramilitaries would use it to make their kill and then leave the body, phoning a tip in to the police using a code name. These were just the victims we knew of – the corpses they’d intended for the cops to find and the press to write about. I wondered how many times I’d walked over the top of a grave without knowing it. […]

Three weeks later, they found the young lad’s body on the mountain. Where they found him, they didn’t say. Had we just missed him? Had we walked right past the corpse? It would have been easy to do, yet the thought was guilt-inducing; him, dead but alone, just a mile or two from home but lying closer to the sky than to the ground. Maybe it was the last vestiges of an Irish Catholic upbringing stirring guilt inside me.

Even as the world had changed and technology advanced and my generation began to leave the church and God behind, every death in the family was met with the same rituals, and one of them was never leaving the body alone.

Lost, Found, Remembered can be purchased at various bookstores online

Read more: ‘Today is significant’: Man charged with the murder of Lyra McKee

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