In 1976 the British government began to claim that republican prisoners were criminals. The prisoners stood fast on their status as prisoners of war: they refused to wear prison clothing or to do prison work. Between 1976 and 1982 hundreds of these prisoners lived in their cells in the H-Blocks without any clothing other than a blanket as their women comrades in Armagh Prison went on laundry strike. The blanket protest came to an end with a hunger strike that claimed the attention of the world in which ten people died.
During his time locked up the H-Blocks Eoghan Mac Cormaic spent 1,960 days on the protest: 1580 days ‘on the blanket’ and laundry protest and 380 days on work strike following the hunger strikes. He tells the story of life in the Blocks in this book. It is a moving and vital story of humanity.
This book won the first prize for a work for adult readers in the Oireachtas na Gaeilge Literary Competitions in 2021. This is what the judges had to say:
“An exceptional telling from the inside will add to the historical record and our understanding of the period and what happened. The author should be highly commended for providing this important work for the Irish-language reading public.”
Throughout the narrative, the spirit of the prisoners is displayed without excessive sentimentality. The author uses humour and a compelling writing style that draws the reader into a vivid description of prison life.”