Statement from Douglas Murray

Statement from Douglas Murray, joint winner of the 2011 – 2012 Prize, read out at the prize-giving on 28 February 2013:

“Firstly may I say how sorry I am that a long-standing prior commitment has prevented me from joining you in Dublin tonight.  It is a huge honour to be a recipient of this award, not least because of my admiration for Christopher and Jane Ewart-Biggs, for the work of the memorial prize, for the previous recipients and to Julieann Campbell and my fellow authors here tonight.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the judges and particularly to thank Robin and the Ewart-Biggs family.  Might I also detain you – albeit by proxy – for two more minutes?

“Any book describing the four decade journey to justice of the Bloody Sunday families has at least two immediate hurdles to overcome.  The first – which took me ten years on and off – is mastering the evidence.  The second – as I first became aware when my agent began approaching publishers – is a terrible and misplaced apathy.  People repeatedly told me that everyone ‘knew’ the story of Bloody Sunday or in some cases were fed up of hearing about it.  In fact, as I hope my readers will realise, almost nobody – even now – really does know the story.  If they did, they wouldn’t wonder why the subject is so absorbing, nor why a tale of such wrong-doing by certain arms of the state still matters so much.

“During one particularly unpleasant passage in the book I remember going to see the book’s dedicatee – my dear friend Ruth Dudley-Edwards.  I wanted to ask her advice on what seemed a difficult moral as well as technical issue.  Ruth memorably, and gently, said: ‘You know, all we can do is write the truth.’  I kept those words in mind, and hope that I have managed – like her – to live up to them.

“I would like to thank my persevering agent Gillon Aitken, my publishers at Biteback for having the commercial folly to publish me, to thank the judges once again and finally to thank all of you for being here tonight.”