Dining at the Dunbar

Maurice Leitch

About the book…

A new collection of short stories by Maurice Leitch is always a major event. Dining at the Dunbar sees the celebrated Northern Irish writer at the top of his game with seven short stories exploring the uncertainties of those living on the margins.

Leitch is a master at depicting the self-deceptions of those trapped in their own lives and fantasies. In 'Hear Me Out', an evangelical preacher finally achieves his voice in a very disturbing way whilst the two rapists of 'The Valet's Room' act out a fantasy of friendship in the bowels of a London hotel.

Other stories in the collection balance humour and the sadness of lives constrained by circumstances: a cook faces his own High Noon in a loyalist drinking club; a 13-year-old boy and his alcoholic mother live their half-lives in the shadow of her fleeting fame as 'The Linford Linnet', whilst a middle-age cosmopolitan returns to darkest rural Ulster to visit his ailing father and to confront his past.

By turns savage, brutally candid, mordant and ironical, Leitch, nevertheless, displays empathy with, and profound compassion for, his characters and the all-too-human predicaments in which they find themselves.

It makes Dining at the Dunbar an unsettling - yet ultimately triumphant - collection.
Photo of the author, Maurice Leitch

About the author…

Maurice Leitch was born in Co Antrim and educated in Belfast. 

After a short spell teaching he joined the BBC Northern Ireland in 1960 as a radio features producer. 

In 1970 he moved to London to work in the BBC's radio drama department, continuinjg to direct documentary feature programmes. In 1977 he became editor of A Book at Bedtime until leaving in 1989 to write full time. 

His works include The Liberty Lad (1965), Poor Lazarus (1969), Stamping Ground (1975), Silver's City (1981), The Smoke King (1988) and Dining at the Dunbar (2009).