by Marilynn Richtarik
Stewart Parker, author of the internationally acclaimed Spokesong, and many other wonderful plays died in 1988 at the shockingly young age of 47. Born in Belfast and raised in a working-class Prodestant family and educated on a scholarship to Queen’s. Taught in the US. Returned to Belfast in 1969. Taught in Long Kesh where one of his creative writing students was the interred Gerry Adams. Loved popular music and it is that love of music which populates his work and made much of the terrifying subject matter – the barbarism of the Ulster troubles – palatable for Theatre and Television audiences. His humour, irony and wit shone through his work. He was a very sophisticated writer. There is much background detail into the skullduggery and jockeying of theatre companies for plays and there is the true story behind his rejected script for the film Eat the Peach. A repeat showing for his seminal Television work is long overdue. It would be great to see again the fantastic, I’m a Dreamer Montreal.
This biography by the leading authority on his life and work is exhaustively researched but very readable. Everything you needed to know about Stewart is here. It makes one want to read and see his work all over again.