Journalism just happened. From my early twenties, I wrote book reviews for newspapers and journals (especially the Irish Press, The Irish Times, The Economist, The Independent); my first newspaper article came about because in 1993 The Independent, struck no doubt by the sheer size of the book, asked me to write for the day of publication about what it had been like to write the history of The Economist.
|I think they expected a serious account of the intellectual challenge of covering 150 years of a journal of opinions on everything; instead, for it was much on my mind, I talked of what is was like to have to rip out your linen cupboard to make way for a microfilm reader. It was that article that led them to encourage me to write amusing articles and later to offer me a slot as one of their light-hearted diarists. I had a wonderful time with this; every disaster became copy. It broke my heart when a new editor axed the diaries.
I write what I hope is amusing journalism from time to time for the Irish Sunday Independent, the Daily Telegraph and, occasionally, the Spectator.
Ruth at home, at work...
Serious journalism happened because in 1994 I became so enraged about matters to do with Northern Ireland that I wrote an angry article which was carried by the Sunday Times. I found then that I had a point of view which was not being much expressed, and since then have written extensively on politics (particularly Northern Ireland) for almost every national newspaper in the UK, but most often for the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph.
In the Republic of Ireland, I have written for every national newspaper: I was for some time a regular columnist for the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, but for some years now have written mainly for the Sunday Independent. I also do quite a lot of radio and television, particularly as a commentator on BBC news programmes and on the BBC World Service. Here are some audio links.
I am not a member of any political party; what drives my journalism on Northern Ireland is my loathing of violence and hypocrisy. I am also prepared to talk or rather, listen to anyone and to try to understand the point of view of those the media don't like which is why I got to know and write about the Orange Order [see non-fiction]. I was surprised initially to find how controversial were my views, but the consequent vilification which comes from Ireland, not England has been character-forming. I've learned to laugh at abuse and threats. Much of the resentment comes from my being of Dublin Catholic stock: my friendship with unionists even Orangemen has struck many of my own tribe as treachery. I find this bigotry sad.
I have tended to become typecast as a commentator on Northern Ireland, but my passionate interest in politics encompasses the UK and the USA as well. And as for the European Union, well, I won't get stuck into this issue here. If it figures bigtime in Carnage on the Committee [see Crime Fiction] it is because crime fiction for me often serves as catharsis.
Writing Killing the Emperors stopped me blowing a gasket over the nonsense that is conceptual art.
Extracts from REVIEWS of Ruth's latest non-fiction book:
Aftermath the Omagh bombing and the families' pursuit of justice
"She is one of the most important contemporary writers on Ireland and this is compulsive reading... the entire work is an Irish masterpiece."
"This vital, powerful book tells a story of loss, resilience and terrorism... this book... recounts a remarkable story of victims’ resilience and vindication, and deserves to be very widely read."
"The brilliant new book by Ruth Dudley Edwards that charts the story of the bombing and of the families’ long and defiant fight for some sort of justice."
"Dudley Edwards expertly weaves human interest, politics and the legal realm together to tell the remarkable tale of determination which saw the families stay the course to see those they felt responsible held accountable for the worst massacre in the recent history of Northern Ireland. Essential reading."