Wilson John Haire

WorksCriticismReferencesNotes

Life
1932- ; b. 6 April, in Belfast, the son of Wilson Haire, a Protestant joiner, and Annie Haire [née Boyce], from a farming family in Omagh; brought up as a Catholic like his four younger sisters - two of whom later became Methodists; suffered sectarian attacks from Protestant neighbours; ed. at the Protestant Clontonacally Public Primary School, Carryduff, Co. Down; left school at 14 contrary to parents wishes, and started work as an office-boy at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, aged 14; became indentured apprentice woodworker at 16; left Harland & Wolff, 1953 and briefly worked as ballroom supervisor (Plaza, Belfast); moved to London, 1954 [aetat. 22]; worked in the building trade;
 
began publishing short fiction in The Irish Democrat (UK), in 1960; wrote The Clockin’ Hen, and Devil Era, both illustrating sectarian bigotry and violence against Catholics in Unionist Ulster, and produced by Camden Group Theatre (Hampstead Th., London, June 1968); also : the Diamond Bone, Hammer and Along the Shoughs of Ulster (Hampstead Th. 1968 & Unity Th. 1969), a Brechtian play on the same theme; wrote Within Two Shadows (1972), the story of a mixed-marriage family like his own torn apart by violence on a housing estate in 1969;
 
winner of George Devine Award and the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award, 1972; issued Bloom of the Diamond Stone (Abbey Th., 9 Oct. 1973), a cross-the-divide girl/boy relationship set in a Belfast factory; winner of Leverhulme Award for Writing in Theatre, 1976; appt. writer-in-residence at the Royal Court Theatre, 1974; wrote Echoes from a Concrete Canyon (Royal Court Th., 1975); writer-in-residence at Lyric Theatre, Belfast, 1976; wrote Lost Worlds (Royal Court Th., May 1978); wrote Wedding Breakfast (Nov. 1981), in which a newly-married couple hounded by the British Army;
 
wrote Roost (1984), a play about an illegally adopted Cambodian girl who turns against her English foster-parents; his TV plays include Letter from A Soldier (BBC2 1975), and The Dandelion Clock (BBC1 1975); also a short-story collection, The Yard (2002), based on his own experience; Haire as held bursaries of the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; he has five children from his first marriage.
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Works
Drama, Between Two Shadows, pub. in Plays and Players (1972) and rep. (London: Davis Poynter 1973), [7], 119pp.; Bloom of the Diamond Stone (London: Pluto Press, 1979), x, 67pp.; Lost Worlds [National Th.] (London: Heinemann 1978), [9], 51pp. [see note].

Short fiction, Refuge From The Tick-Man (1960); The Screening (1960), The Beg (1961) [all orig. in The Irish Democrat], collected as The Yard (Dingle: Brandon Press 2002), 249pp.

Articles & reviews incl. contributions to Labour & Trade Union Review, Irish Poltical Review, and Church & State, 1999-2008 - viz.:

‘Mugged Illusions’ ( Labour & Trade Union Review ’, in Jan. 1999) [visit to Cuba];
‘Carryduff and 1798’, in irish political review (Nov. 2004);
‘guantanamo bay campaign demonstration [a report] in Labour & Trade Union Review (Feb. 2006);
‘The Reality of 1916’, in Irish Political Review (April 2006);
‘I Slept with James Connolly’, in Church & State (Spring 2006) [contrib. to Patrick Pearse discussion];
‘Some Recollections Of The Connolly Association’, in irish political review (April 2006);
‘Ireland Inside and Out’, in Irish Political Review (May 2006);
‘Anti-War March’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (May 2006) [report];
‘The Wind that Shook the Barley’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (July/Aug. 2006) [film review]
‘The Difficulties Of The Left Movement In A Sectarian Society’, in irish political review (Aug. 2006);
‘Lebanese Protest March’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (Sept. 2006) [report]
‘The Great Coup D’état’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (Oct. 2006);
‘Report from the Philippines’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (Feb. 2007);
‘I Was David Ben-Gurion’s Poodle’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (April 2007);
‘Anglicisation’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (May (2007);
‘Back in the Box’, in Irish Political Review (Aug. 2007);
‘A Lost Belfast World’, in Church & State (Winter 2007) [review];
‘Amnesia In Phnom’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (Feb. 2008);
‘Ernest Bevin and the Cold War’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (May 2008);
‘High Noon in London’s Highgate Ward’, in Labour & Trade Union Review (June 2008);
‘What Is Possible’, in Irish Political Review (June 2008);
‘Fear and Misery in Britain’s Six Counties’, in Irish Political Review (Sept. 2008);
‘Me An Atheist? Surely To God Not!’, in Church & State [4th quarter] (2008).

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Theatrical details
With Two Shadows produced Royal Court, London (9 June 1972); Lyric Theatre, Belfast (16 Sept. 1972), and Cork Opera House (13 Nov. 1972); reading staged at The Theatre, St. Clements, NY (1974); trans. as Zwischen den schatten (1979).

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Criticism
See D. E. S. Maxwell, Modern Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 1984).

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Notes
Lost Worlds (1978) is the umbrella title for three one-act plays, Newsflash, Wedding Breakfast, and Roost, all produced at the Cottesloe / National Th., London, and published by Heinemann (1978). In Newsflash, a bedridden Protestant mother and her 3 middle-aged unmarried daughters are caught up in a firefight between the IRA and the British Army along the Northern Irish border when a mortar rounds comes through their roof killing them just as the daughters have fatalistically climbed on to their mother’s bed to make a last fantasy journey to town. (Derived from author’s note.)

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Roost (1978): A young Cambodian girl, taken out of her country illegally by a British charity organisation as a child, begins to have strange insights into her past life and watches the skies for vapour trails, catching snatches of her language from early memory. Her past life slowly comes back to her, and she ends up murdering her foster-parents. Performed at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, 1984. (Derived from author’s note.)

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Echoes from a Concrete Canyon (1975), a full-length play, deals with the slow disintegration of the life of a woman in a London high rise whose husband leaves her and who teams up with a deranged lover while her teenage daughter gives her hell. (Derived from author’s note.)

Wedding Breakfast (1981): a young IRA man has just married when he and his bride must flee to a derelict house to have their wedding breakfast, aided by a neighbour while the british army slowly sledgehammer their way through the walls of the mostly derelict street. soon they will reach the walls of the young couple. (Author’s note.)

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