Julieann Campbell’s speech

Julieann Campbell’s speech at the 2011 – 2012 prize-giving ceremony:

“It is with great honour that I accept this prize tonight.

“Having such a distinguished panel of judges read about the efforts and achievements of an ordinary bunch of Derry people is great, but to read their story and think it worthy of a prize – that is amazing.

“Documenting the experiences of the Bloody Sunday families and wounded was one of the most challenging jobs I have ever undertaken. My mother lost her seventeen year-old brother, Jackie, on Bloody Sunday. She never got over it. Derry never got over it. An entire generation was left scarred and, whether we realised it or not, we grew up in the shadow of Bloody Sunday. And it mattered. It really mattered.

“It has been a privilege to have been entrusted with such an important story and I thank all those who shared their knowledge and experiences with me. It has been a privilege to meet the survivors, who filled me with admiration and a renewed respect for life. Or the campaigners who inspired me with all their crazy ideas. Theirs was a tale of highs and lows, of the power of perseverance and the determination of the human spirit. Thanks to their efforts, the history books have all been rewritten and the issue of Bloody Sunday might just heal in our lifetime.

“I’m so grateful to the Ewart-Biggs family, the Judges and all involved in the Prize – thank you – this means the world to me. Thanks also to my publisher, Liberties Press, who recognised the importance of the families’ accounts and put their faith in me to do them justice. And to my family, particularly my big brother David who came here with me tonight. Thanks bro.

“Thank you to all the book’s contributors and all those whom they fought for – this prize is for them.

“This is also for my Daddy, who gave me my words but didn’t live long enough to see me use them.

“Thank you all so much.”