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Local journalist Stephen Walker set to publish landmark biography of John Hume

Author Stephen Walker

Well-known local man Stephen Walker is set to see his latest work 'John Hume - The Persuader' hit bookstore shelves this Autumn after agreeing a publishing deal with Gill Books.

Peacemaker, politician, Nobel laureate: John Hume was a titan of Irish political history and a key architect of the Good Friday Agreement, bringing peace to Northern Ireland after decades of conflict.

In this revealing biography, Stephen Walker combines 100 interviews with many of Hume's loyal colleagues, stark critics and close family members, as well as never-before-published personal transcripts with Hume himself, to present a fascinating and probing portrait of one of the most significant political figures in Northern Ireland and around the world.

Seán Hayes, Commissioning Editor at Gill Books has acquired World Rights to The Persuader by Stephen Walker, an insightful biography of John Hume.

Seán Hayes said:

"Gill Books has a rich and respected heritage in political biography - from Garret FitzGerald and Seán Lemass to, more recently, Eamon de Valera and Charles Haughey - so I am delighted to be continuing this tradition with Stephen's deeply researched and highly readable account of John Hume.

"That Gill was able to contribute never-before-published transcripts of Hume, from a memoir started some 20 years ago, feels like the completion of a circle. All of us at Gill are immensely proud to publish this landmark biography - a fitting conclusion to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement."

Commenting on his landmark biography Stephen Walker commented:

"John Hume's story is fascinating and compelling in equal measure, and he lived many lives. He was a titan of Irish politics and without him Northern Ireland would be a very different place today.

"During my three decade long journalistic career in Belfast and Westminster I interviewed John Hume many times, and since his death in 2020 I have been speaking to the key people in his life.

"My aim was to write a revealing and intimate portrait yet also critically evaluate his contribution to Irish political life. I hope The Persuader offers a fresh perspective on one of the most important figures in Irish history."

Stephen Walker, grew up in Ballymena and attended both Ballymena Academy and Ballymena Technical College, before leaving to study in England in 1983. Stephen is still regular face about the town.

He has covered the politics of Northern Ireland for over 30 years. Stephen reported on the Troubles and the peace process and is an award-winning television and radio journalist.

He was a BBC correspondent at Westminster, an investigative journalist with BBC Spotlight and a former political correspondent with BBC Northern Ireland.

He is the author of Forgotten Soldiers (2007), an Irish Times bestseller shortlisted for the Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year, Hide and Seek (2011) and Ireland's Call (2015). Stephen now lives in County Down.

John Hume - The Persuader by Stephen Walker will be published by Gill Books on 12 October 2023.

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