In today’s world, where attention spans are short, communications are bound by character count and the written word is often usurped by videos – or emojis – one could be forgiven for speculating if the art of storytelling is slipping from our collective repertoire. A storyteller gives us fodder to reflect upon, provokes questions we may ponder and can provide a framework for us to view the world. In capturing our imagination, a story can broaden our perspectives without prescribing our attitudes.
Denis Tuohy is a master storyteller. A broadcaster in news and current affairs for half a century, he covered major stories around the world for BBC’s Panorama and Tonight, ITV’s This Week and ITN news. He further broadened his range – and narrative skills – when he was asked to contribute to BBC Radio Ulster’s Thought for the Day. Now he has collated a selection of his stories into a new book.
Streets and Secret Places is a collection of Tuohy’s Thought for the Day pieces over the past few years with a linking commentary about his professional and personal life. He recalls a multi-faith gathering in New York after the killing of Martin Luther King, meeting an integrated Belfast singing group in apartheid South Africa, and taking part as an actor in Over the Bridge, Sam Thompson’s play about bigotry in the Belfast shipyard. Trevor McDonald, journalist and newsreader has called it ‘…a book for our time and about us’. Broadcaster John Humphrys says of Tuohy that he is ‘…a hack of the old school…and in my book, there’s no better praise. He writes like a dream.’
Streets and Secret Places: Reflections of a News Reporter by Denis Tuohy with a foreword by Trevor McDonald is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications and prices at €12.95/£11.95.