PRISONERS at Maghaberry have reproduced in braille a trilogy of books by local author Tony Macaulay for Lisburn Library. Copies of ‘Paperboy’, ‘Breadboy’ and ‘All Growed Up’, which draw on the Belfast author’s experiences growing up in Northern Ireland, were each painstakingly translated into braille by a group of 10 prisoners. And earlier this week, 15 volumes of the specially compiled books were presented to Tony and Lisburn Library to make available to partially sighted and blind people throughout the province.
Mark Mooney, Instructor in the Braille unit at Maghaberry, revealed: “This is the first time we have reproduced anything by a Northern Ireland author. We’ve done Bibles in braille, children’s books, which we sent to Malawi, and even an Irish language text book, but this is quite a new venture. “It took about four months to complete all three of the books. It was a real team effort, but I know, individually, each of the guys involved got a lot out of it – an innovative rehabilitation project which allowed them all to give something back to the community.”
In his books, Author Tony Macaulay, who was raised at the top of the Shankill Road in West Belfast at the start of The Troubles, draws on his experiences growing up with stories which reflect a turbulent social history, with entertaining insights, wit and humour.
Speaking at the presentation of the braille books in Maghaberry, Tony said: “I am delighted to have my books translated into braille for two main reasons. Firstly, it means that blind and visually impaired readers can enjoy the books. Secondly, I believe the Braille Unit at Maghaberry is a brilliant example of prisoners contributing positively to our community.”
Lisburn Library manager Diane McCready added: “Libraries NI is delighted to offer partially sighted and blind people in Lisburn and beyond the opportunity to enjoy this trilogy of books by renowned Belfast author Tony Macauley. “Tony’s books have proved very popular in our libraries and by offering this range of his books in braille, we are fulfilling our commitment to make our services accessible to customers, including those who are blind or partially sighted.”
The books can be borrowed from Lisburn City Library for free and can be requested through any public library in Northern Ireland.