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Saturday, 24 February, 2001, 08:55 GMT
Memorial prize for Lost Lives
Omagh bombing is among many remembered in book
Omagh bombing is among many remembered in book
A book which tells the tragic story of everyone who lost their lives in Northern Ireland's Troubles has won a prestigious literary award.

Lost Lives is an account of more than 3,600 deaths related to 30 years of violence in the province.

Journalists Seamus Kelters of the BBC, David McKittrick, Chris Thornton and Brian Feeney took eight years to compile the tome, which is almost a million words long

Lost Lives is an enduring memorial to all those who died

Professor Roy Foster

It won the 16th Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize, worth 5,000, in Dublin on Friday night.

This prize is in memory of the former British Ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, who was murdered by the IRA in Dublin 25 years ago.

It was presented to the writers by former taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald at a reception hosted by the current British Ambassador to Ireland, Sir Ivor Roberts.

One of the judges, Professor Roy Foster, said there had been no more appropriate winner.

"Lost Lives is both an enduring memorial to all those who died, including Christopher Ewart Biggs, and a dramatic enterprise of historical recovery.

"Year by year, victim by victim, it builds up an unforgettable cumulative testimony.

Lost lives: Telling the stories of more than 3,600 deaths
Lost lives: Telling the stories of more than 3,600 deaths

"Monumental in very sense, it is both a deeply significant historical record, and a labour of love; dedicated journalistic objectivity put to the highest use."

The prize was founded by the Labour peer, Jane Ewart-Biggs, to promote and encourage peace and reconciliation in Ireland and greater understanding between Britain and Ireland.

Previous winners have included the playwright Brian Friel and novelist Brian Keenan.

David McKittrick, speaking for his fellow authors, said they were delighted to receive the award for a work which he hoped "shows the futility of violence and brings home the sheer waste and human cost of the Troubles".

Lost Lives includes loyalist and republican murders in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Europe.

Act of remembrance

Particularly poignant are the stories of The Disappeared, those murdered by the IRA more than 20 years ago. Some of their bodies have only recently been recovered, but others are still missing.

In December 1999, Lost Lives featured in a radio programme, an act of remembrance, which was broadcast simultaneously in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and New York

Contributors included US President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Each read the story of the death of an individual from the book.

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See also:

24 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Leaders remember lost lives
24 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Remembering Northern Ireland's victims
09 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
Demand for chronicle of lost lives
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