Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 1st December, 2012.
Beginner’s Pluck Lee Henry.
Artistically and musically creative, Lee Henry has always loved writing, too. He wrote his first detective story at ten.
After university, he worked in a clothing factory near his home in Northern Ireland. When the factory closed down, he wrote a piece about it, and this drew him into journalism.
“I wrote a weekly column for a local paper, then did a course in CSB Media in Belfast. After that I worked for the BBC as a broadcasting assistant. Then I started writing Arts pieces for the website, Culture Northern Ireland. I’m now their web editor.”
The book was inspired by the taxis Henry took whilst working for the BBC.
“I wanted to write a book. And, as I got to know a lot of taxi drivers, and learn their stories, I thought it was a good way of learning more about the history of Belfast. These guys were telling me all these stories that hadn’t been told before.”
Who is Lee Henry?
Date of birth: 8th February 1981. Newcastle, County Down.
Education: St Columbans, Kilkeel. Manchester Metropolitan University; English and History.
Family: Wife Mairead She works in the Linen Hall Library..
The Day Job: Web Editor / Arts Journalist.
Interests: Spending time with my extended family. Watching films; writing and playing music.
Favourite Writers: My favourite book is A Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I love James Elroy, Robert Jordan, and William Boyd.
Second Novel: I want to do something different. I want to challenge myself and write a novel.
Top Writing Tip: Make time for writing. I found that difficult. I assigned evenings over the week. And I locked myself away for two weeks over Christmas.
Web: Leejameshenry.com Twitter: @leejhenry
The Debut: Belfast Taxi. Blackstaff Press: €14.30. Kindle: €9.64.
Belfast Taxi is an amalgam of history, and personal narrative. Henry interviewed 30 taxi drivers, from Charlie, who drove the press around, to Tom, who was shot during his work in the eighties.
The Verdict: Fascinating, and hugely enjoyable.
© Sue Leonard. 2012