Books

Lyra McKee’s anthology of “expression and courage” to be published one year after her murder

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Hollie Richardson
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Lyra McKee, journalist murdered in Londonderry

An anthology of activist Lyra McKee’s work is set to be published, after she was murdered in Northern Ireland earlier this year.

Journalist and LGBTQ+ rights activist Lyra McKee was just 29 when she was killed while doing her job earlier this year. On Good Friday 18 April, McKee was shot in the head while covering a riot in Londonderry (also known as Derry) and confirmed dead after being rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital. 

Republican paramilitary group the New IRA admitted responsibility for McKee’s murder. In a statement sent to the newspaper Irish News, the group said McKee was “tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces. The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death.” 

Although there have been multiple arrests, no one has yet been charged with the murder of McKee.

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Remembering Lyra McKee, a courageous woman killed while doing her job

But through the devastation and frustration of this story, it’s so important to recognise and celebrate the work that McKee did. 

Although she was just eight years old when the Good Friday agreement was signed in 1998, McKee dedicated herself to investigating how the effects of decades of violence and division continued to reverberate down the generations in Northern Ireland.

As a journalist, her work was featured on BuzzFeed, Private Eye and The Belfast Telegraph. In 2016, Forbes magazine named her one of its “30 under 30 in media” because of her work as an investigative reporter.

She also drew attention with her essay “Letter to my 14-year-old self”, which explored the challenges of growing up gay in Belfast. It was subsequently made into a short film

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Art becomes activism: A new mural has been dedicated to murdered journalist Lyra McKee

Her first novel, The Lost Boys – which she was working on at the time of her death – was about growing up in a “conflict hotspot” in North Belfast, off the road known as Murder Mile.

In 2017, she gave a TEDx talk, How uncomfortable conversations can save lives,  at TEDxStormont Women, about the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting

Watch Lyra McKee’s TEDx Talk

So, we’re delighted with Faber’s announcement that it will be publishing McKee’s anthology to mark the anniversary of her death next year. 

Lyra McKee: Lost, Found, Remembered will be published on 2 April 2020.

According to The Bookseller, the synopsis reads: “The anthology will weave together pieces that defined her reputation as one of the most important and formidable journalists of her generation. It showcases the range of McKee’s voice by bringing together unpublished material alongside both her celebrated and lesser-known pieces. It reveals the sheer scope of McKee’s intellectual and radically humane engagement with the world – and lets her spirit live on in her own words.”

Lyra McKee remembered at her funeral
Lyra McKee's funeral service in Northern Ireland.

Faber’s publishing director Louisa Joyner said: “It is hard to comprehend that Lyra McKee was murdered less than five months ago. Since her death we have worked with those Lyra loved to determine how best to commemorate her writing and magnify her voice. Lyra sought truth as a journalist not simply by asking difficult questions, but perhaps more crucially by listening rigorously – and open-heartedly – to the answers.

“Her work speaks to her subtlety of expression and her intellectual and political courage. This collection is our testament to Lyra, a celebration of her talent, and a reminder of what we have lost.”

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Although the circumstances are heartbreaking, this is one way that McKee’s legacy will continue to influence Northern Ireland’s future generations.

Images: Getty

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