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Drawing on his experiences growing up in Northern Ireland, Tony has channeled his memories and observations into literature as another way of building conversations about peace and reconciliation. His debut, the critically acclaimed memoir 'Paperboy' (first published in Ireland in 2010) is a story that balances Northern Ireland's turbulent social history with entertaining insights, wit and humour. It tells the warm, funny and nostalgic story of his years in Belfast in the 1970s working as a paperboy delivering the Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland's leading daily newspaper) around his neighbourhood. His commitment to peace and reconciliation was formed a very early stage of his life and is consistently reflected through his writing. 'Paperboy' was very warmly received by critics and the public alike, and was picked up by the publishing giant HarperCollins. The book has now been published in the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA and Tony himself is the narrator of the audiobook.
In 2018 Paperboy was adapted into a musical with music composed by platinum selling artist, Duke Special. In 2018, the musical premiered in the Lyric Theatre in Belfast to sell out audiences and excellent reviews. In 2019, the musical returned for another sell out run at the Lyric Theatre. Read more about the smash hit musical of Paperboy.
The sequel, 'Breadboy', was published in 2013 and generated similarly high levels of critical acclaim and praise in Northern Ireland, the UK, Ireland and further afield.
Tony's third book 'All Growed Up' was published in 2014 and was acclaimed as Book of the Week by The Irish News.
In his fourth memoir, 'Little House on the Peace Line' (Blackstaff Press, 2017) Tony tells the story of how in the 1980s he lived and worked on the peace line in North Belfast tackling poverty and unemployment and supporting young people to reject sectarianism, segregation and violence as a way of life.
In 2019 he published his first novel, 'Belfast Gate' under his own imprint 'so it is', once again to critical acclaim. Belfast Gate is a satirical comedy drama set in 2019 about a group of Catholic and Protestant women who start a campaign to take down Belfast's 50 year old peace walls.
Tony has performed book readings at a range of respected literary festivals including: Aspects Literature Festival, Edinburgh Book Fringe, Belfast Book Festival, Dublin Book Festival, 4 Corners Festival and Féile an Phobail. He is now a regular speaker on Northern Ireland, peace building and creative writing at universities and colleges in the USA. He has given talks at Lehigh University and DeSales University in Pennsylvania, the University of Denver, Colorado, the University of Notre Dame and Goshen College in Indiana and Pepperdine University, University of California, Irvine, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and California State University, Dominguez Hills in California.
In 2012 the W.B. Yeats Society of New York invited Tony to present a reading of Paperboy in the National Arts Club as part of the 1st Irish Festival. In 2013 and 2014 he performed a series of readings from his books at the New York Irish Center as part of the 1st Irish Festival and returned to the National Arts Club in New York to preview 'Little House on the Peace Line' in 2016.
As a prominent writer, journalist and broadcaster, Tony has contributed to NVTV, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, Downtown Radio and BBC Radio Ulster. He writes for the Belfast Telegraph, the newspaper he once delivered.
In 2014 Tony was asked to present the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards to young people from Northern Ireland on behalf of the Earl of Wessex. In 2016 Tony was asked to present the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards to young people from Northern Ireland on behalf of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
In 2016 Tony's first three books were translated into Braille by prisoners in the Braille Unit in Maghaberry Prison.
In 2019 Tony was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Ulster University for services to literature and peace building at home and abroad.
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Belfast Gate is a terrific read, well plotted and insightful...A film or TV deal surely beckons.’ Irish News Book of the Week
‘In 1985, I went to live on the other side of the peace line. Everyone said my head was cut. It was the summer of Live Aid and Bob Geldof pledged to save Africa from hunger. My ambitions were more modest. I wanted to stop the violence between Catholics and Protestants in Belfast.’
Driven by the conviction that things can change and that he can change them, Tony Macaulay takes up a job running a youth club in the staunchly nationalist New Lodge, an area known as Murder Mile, with youth unemployment at 90 per cent.
Challenge enough you might think, but it’s also a requirement of the job that Tony, a Protestant from the Shankill Road, and his wife Lesley live in the local community.
As the realities of life in a working-class republican community start to hit home, Tony’s idealism and faith are pushed to the limit. Inspiring, heart-breaking, and often laugh-out-loud funny, this is the story of how one couple kept the faith in a little house on the peace line.
It’s Belfast, 1975. The city lies under the dark cloud of the Troubles, and hatred fills the air like smoke. But Tony Macaulay has just turned twelve and he’s got a new job. He’s going to be a paperboy. And come rain or shine – or bombs and mortar – he will deliver…
Paperboy lives in Upper Shankill, Belfast, in the heart of the conflict between Loyalists and Republicans. Bombings are on the evening news, rubble lies where buildings once stood, and rumours spread like wildfire about the IRA and the UDA.
But Paperboy lives in a world of Doctor Who, Top of the Pops and fish suppers. His battles are fought with all the passion of Ireland’s opposing sides – but against acne, the dentist and the ‘wee hoods’ who rob his paper money. On his rounds he hums songs by the Bay City Rollers, dreams about outer space and dreams even more about the beautiful Sharon Burgess.
In this touching, funny and nostalgic memoir, Tony Macaulay recounts his days growing up in Belfast during the Troubles, the harrowing years which saw neighbour fighting neighbour and brother fighting brother. But in the midst of all this turmoil, Paperboy, a scrappy upstart with a wicked sense of humour and sky-high dreams, dutifully goes about his paper round. He is a good paperboy, so he is.
Paperboy proves that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times; it is a story that will charm your socks off, make you laugh out loud and brings to life the culture, stories and colourful characters of a very different – but very familiar – time.
Shankill Road, Belfast, 1977. The King is dead – and even Big Duff, the hardest loyalist hard man on the whole estate has been seen to shed a tear.
Tony Macaulay has just been appointed breadboy in the last Ormo Mini Shop in the world, a promotion from his previous role as a paperboy. The Bee Gees fill the airwaves, there’s Smash and fishfingers on the table for tea, and Tony’s love of peace and pets is soon rivalled by his interest in parallel universes and punk … and girls, especially gorgeous Judy Carlton, who sits opposite him in Chemistry.
Guaranteed to bring back a flood of childhood memories, this wonderful memoir is touching, warm and laugh-out-loud funny, and steeped in the atmosphere of the 1970s.
It’s Belfast, 1982, and an eighteen-year-old boy wearing Hai Karate aftershave has a date with destiny. He’s a real man now, so he is, and shaving twice a week. Following his successful career as a breadboy, he’s going where few people from the upper Shankill have boldly gone before: to university.
He trades the comforts of home for a life of Yellow Pack beans, student digs and late-night intellectual debates on sex, socialism and The Smiths, but this former paperboy doesn’t forget his roots, so he doesn’t, and he dreams of making a difference in the world by becoming a famous journalist like Woodward or Bernstein – or even Terry Wogan.
But to do that, he’ll have to keep his mind off girls (including Bo Derek), pass all his exams, and maybe even finish reading War and Peace …
All Growed Up is the sequel to Tony Macaulay’s memoirs Paperboy and Breadboy. Touching and funny, it’s the book in which the retired paperboy finally grows up.