Welcome back Fortnight Magazine, we’ve missed you…

Welcome back Fortnight Magazine. The paper was founded in 1970 by Tom Hadden, and became a haven of sanity during the very years when large chunks of working-class Belfast were imploding in sectarian violence and immense social (and later economic) distress.

I first started getting copies out of the old Gardiners newsagents and bookshop in Botanic Avenue in the late seventies when it was a vibrant confluence for thought from all sides, no least the McNee column which was, I presumed ghostwritten by someone with first names like Calvin and Columbanus.

The kinship through enmity implied in that one signal column (just inside the front cover IIRC?) was a powerful antidote to the fatalistic rhetoric of division and the general sense of insolubility that pervaded what passed then political thought much of my adolescence and young adulthood.

Fortnight stood for the principles that would later drive our political class towards the Belfast Agreement accord (if not the stringent conditions it imposed upon them in practice) which followed a generation and more later.

Later, not long after I started Slugger we worked in partnership with the then editor Malachi O’Doherty who help distribute paper copies of our Long Peace report on the future of unionism in Northern Ireland. Now, fifty years after it launched, it’s back both as an online version and print.

There’s lots of good stuff, not least a beautiful and wise piece by our own Claire Mitchell on the miraculous decency of ordinary village life, that seemingly continues its redemptive work apace without most of our politicians taking the slightest notice, may become a potent source of our wider redemption.

Advance orders for the new printed issue will be handled by No Alibis at 83 Botanic Avenue, Belfast BT7 1JL as sole distributors. You can also order a copy by post, from noalibis.com.

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