days after the startling disclosure by West Belfast
Republican, Richard McAuley that he co-authored many
of Gerry Adams Brownie articles
in Republican News in the mid-1970s, and wrote
the famous I am an IRA member admission,
some of the worlds most celebrated literary
figures have come forward to acknowledge that McAuley
also played a huge part in helping to write their
most famous works.
public image of Richard McAuley is of a shy, self-effacing
but intensely loyal aide who is most often seen walking
several steps behind Gerry Adams, weighed down with
suitcases as he accompanies the Sinn Fein leader to
an airport VIP lounge at the start one of Adams
many trips abroad to dispense advice to former guerrilla
and terrorist leaders seeking to change their ways.
Rick, as the foreign media call him, will
give press briefings to update the world on Gerry
Adams latest thoughts about Al Qaeda, the Iraq
crisis and the tree-hugging techniques of lumberjacks
in North-West Canada. But usually he shunned the spotlight
and succeeded - until recently when the great secret
of his role as the brains and literary talent behind
Adams was made public.
the story, as the Irish Tomes can exclusively
reveal, does not end there. McAuley is also the genius
behind some of the twentieth centurys greatest
pieces of literature and is consulted regularly by
the worlds most gifted writers and artists.
few people know this, confided Irish Voice
editor Niall ODowd, but the highlight
of Gerry Adams trips to New York comes when
Rick hosts a soiree for American writers at Norman
Mailers apartment in Greenwich Village. I have
seen the room packed with famous writers, eclectic
characters who wouldnt normally be seen dead
together in the same room, people like Doris Lessing,
P J ORourke, Catherine Cookson and John Irving,
each seated at his feet and rapt with attention as
Rick describes his writing techniques. They just love
him to bits.
poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney is one of those
who consults the Belfast Republican on a regular basis.
There have been so many times when I have been
stuck in the middle of a poem and I always do the
same. I reach for the phone and ask Richard - I call
him Richard, I prefer that to Rick - to come post
haste to South Derry and he always obliges. We open
a bottle of Black Bush and the crack starts and before
you know it the poem is written.
remember just before I won the Nobel prize for my
poem Act of Union, Id got to the
end but just couldnt finish it. So Richard came
round and we worked for hours. Eventually the last
stanza was completed and it read:
I foresee will salve completely your tracked
And stretchmarked body, the big pain
That leaves you raw, like opened ground, again.
the word the in the second last line,
that was Richards contribution and it was just
brilliant. Let me tell you this man is the literary
giant of our day.
most sensational episode in Richard McAuleys
long but secret literary career came nearly 16 years
ago when he inspired his long-time friend and controversial
writer Salman Rushdie to write The Satanic Verses,
a book that had disastrous consequences for the Bombay-born
central character was based on the prophet Mohammed,
recalled Rushdie, and it was Richards
idea to portray him as this tall man with a beard
who always spoke out of the side of his mouth and
could never be trusted to tell the truth about anything.
told me the idea was based upon a real life experience
but he would never reveal who or what this was. Anyway
it was this that really angered the Ayatollah Khomeini
and led him to declare a fatwa against me. Ever since,
I have been in hiding and while it was really Richards
fault, Ive never held a grudge against him.
contributions to Western culture are not confined
to the written word as Lord of the Rings director
and Oscar winner, Peter Jackson told the Irish Tomes.
New Zealand-born Jackson met McAuley during one of
Gerry Adams trips to the antipodes and the pair
hit it off. He also gave Jackson invaluable advice
during the filming of the last episode of the trilogy,
Return of the King.
were really stuck on how best to portray Smeagol,
the oily, creepy creature who is trying to ingratiate
himself with Frodo during their journey to Saurons
kingdom, Jackson recalled. The computer
animation people just couldnt capture correctly
the image of grovelling submission. But then Richard
had an inspired thought. He showed us a video he had
made of Gerry Adams meeting George Bush at Hillsborough
Castle on the eve of the invasion of Iraq and bang!
there it was, right in front of us. So I told the
animation people to copy every movement on the video
and it worked a treat.
really wanted Richard to come to Hollywood for the
Oscars and to join me on stage if we won to take his
proper share of the glory but he is such a modest
character, he wouldnt budge out of Belfast.
McAuleys many contributions to modern literature
and culture are now to be officially recognised however
in his native west Belfast. Next years West
Belfast Festival Committee plan to start an annual
Richard McAuley Prize for Bullshit to the local writer
most likely to emulate him. Locals say that the hot
tip favourite to win it first time is McAuleys
old friend, Danny Morrison.
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