Man Booker winner Anna Burns recalls journalist’s ‘open wee heart’

The latest winner of the Man Booker prize has paid a tearful tribute to a murdered Belfast journalist.

Milkman author Anna Burns was among hundreds who turned out at Belfast City Hall for a vigil to Lyra McKee and stood for a minute’s silence, which was followed with applause.

The books of condolence for Ms McKee was brought to the front steps of the building after the doors were officially closed for the night to allow those waiting in a long queue to sign it.

People signed a book of condolence after the vigil (Liam McBurney/PA)

A smiling photograph of the 29-year-old journalist gazed across the rainbow flag-draped table which held two condolence books for well wishers to sign as well as a small posy of forget-me-nots.

Those attending were asked to talk to each other in memory of Ms McKee who they were reminded, loved conversations.

John O’Doherty of the Rainbow Coalition read out Ms McKee’s “Letter To My 14-year-old Self”, in which she had written evocatively about facing challenging times at school and the moment she came out as gay to her mother, and relief when her mother embraced her.

Next three friends of Ms McKee’s, who had been due to meet her for dinner that evening, shared their memories of their friend.

(Liam McBurney/PA)

Michele Devlin, Anna Burns and Alison Miller supported each other as they tearfully addressed the vigil.

Ms Burns described Ms McKee as a “dear, dear friend” that she had met through their mutual publisher Faber and Faber.

“It’s absolutely wonderful that you are all here for Lyra,” she told the crowd, many of whom held candles.

“She was just so helpful and generous, her wee heart was always open.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Lyra McKee’s partner leads rainbow rally demanding same-sex marriage in NI

'We’ve lost a journalist with very special qualities' - Lyra McKee honoured with posthumous award

Lyra McKee's partner calls for legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

George Mitchell: Redouble efforts to avoid return to violence in Northern Ireland

More in this Section

Drug services in Cork notice increase in 'dangerous injecting practices'

Council gives go-ahead to $4bn Intel plant; Council to get €9.7m if project proceeds

Woman said she acted in self-defence when boyfriend died of stab wound, murder trial hears

'You have to be emotionally regulated' - How beekeeping is helping teach mindfulness to vulnerable teens


Lifestyle

Making the most of Irish strawberries - Michelle Darmody shares her recipes

Making Cents: Help protect the planet and occupy the kids

Good Omens and great expectations

Review: Game of Thrones, Series Finale

More From The Irish Examiner