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Maurice Leitch Biography

(1933– ), The Liberty Lad, Poor Lazarus, Stamping Ground, Silver's City, Chinese Whispers, Burning Bridges

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

Northern Irish novelist, born in Muckamore, Co. Antrim, educated at Stran Mills Training College, Belfast. He taught in secondary schools for several years before joining BBC Northern Ireland in 1960 as a producer. In 1970 he moved to London where he was head of BBC radio's drama feature department until 1989. Leitch's first novel, The Liberty Lad (1965), is characteristic of his continuing portrayal of life in Ulster as dark, stagnant, and isolated. In Poor Lazarus (1969) Leitch explores the sectarianism which permeates Northern Irish society through the short-lived and uneasy relationship between an Ulster Protestant and a Catholic Irish-Canadian. This was followed by Stamping Ground (1975), Silver's City (1981), Chinese Whispers (1987), Burning Bridges (1989), and Gilchrist (1994), a psychologically compelling narrative in which an evangelist who absconds to Spain, in response to a sexual entanglement, confronts his past through a meeting with a sinister doppelgänger. Leitch has also written several plays for television, including the acclaimed Rifleman (1980), and a collection of short stories, The Hands of Cheryl Boyd (1987).

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