Friday, March 18, 2011

Book by Mountbatten Bomb Survivor Wins Award

MULLAGHMORE IN Co Sligo would always be a special place for him, his wife and their five children despite the murder of his grandfather Lord Louis Mountbatten, Timothy Knatchbull said last night.

The survivor of the bombing was in Belfast to receive the Christopher Ewart-Biggs literary award for 2011. Mr Knatchbull won the £5,000 (€5,800) prize for his book Out of a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb.

Writer Guy Hibbert and director Oliver Hirschbiegel won an award for their film F ive Minutes of Heaven , a drama starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt about an encounter between a former loyalist killer and the brother of a victim he murdered 33 years earlier.

The prizes recognise works that promote peace and reconciliation in Ireland and are in memory of Sir Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British ambassador to Ireland who, with civil servant Judith Cooke, was murdered by the IRA in Dublin in 1976.

Mr Knatchbull in his memoir recalls the 1979 IRA bombing of Lord Mountbatten’s Shadow V boat in Mullaghmore. The 79-year-old earl died in the attack as did Mr Knatchbull’s 14-year-old identical twin brother Nicholas and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell from Enniskillen. Mr Knatchbull’s grandmother Lady Brabourne died the following day in hospital.

Mr Knatchbull said winning the award was “a wonderful surprise” and he was delighted to be able to attend last night’s ceremony. “The fact that it aims to promote peace and understanding and reconciliation is just a wonderful set of objectives. I will treasure this prize because it means more than any other prize I could imagine,” he said.

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