Vicky Cosstick


"Brilliant, if troubling" says Ricky Ross @rickyaross; "Must read book," says journalist Martin O'Brien @MartinOBrienCom; "Vicky inspires the peacemakers and takes her place among them," says NI Deputy Equality Commissioner Revd Lesley Carroll @Fmpcrevlesley; "a call to the barricades", says Mairtin O Muilleoir @newbelfast; "a deep meditation on the walls", says urbanist Michael Sorkin; "remarkably fresh, candid and reasoned", says academic Tony Craig; "Your book is really important", says Lord Hylton;  "Excellent, thought provoking book, Vicky", says Belfast resident Dan Walsh @mufhit; "Thoughtful research, lyrical prose, much recommended", PhD student Liz de Young @LizDeYoung5 "I loved your book. It's the most insightful account I've read since finishing my PhD in 2009" @UrbanTheologyUn


From Trevor Jamison in Reform:


"For those interested in the complex realities of tackling a major social problem, and how churches should respond to such a call, this book speaks eloquently both to and beyond this one difficult situation."


From Belfast architect Ciaran Mackel in Perspective (Oct 15) and Andersonstown News (Jan 2016):


"Vicky Cosstick's excellent book, accompanied by Frankie Quinn's starkly unpeopled, static images, is a deeply reflective meditation on the walls, less about their physical presence and more about their role in 'transcending the process of violence' -- more process, perhaps, for commentators, politicians and near-neighbour residents.  It is, however, an eloquent plea from a peace perspective."


Lucretia says on


"This is an important book that should be required reading for all those that have or seek any involvement in, or influence on, developments in Belfast. The author clearly lays out the scope of her ambition for the book and then in a very well written narrative brings together all the many and varied avenues of her research. She presents the reader with a well-documented, fully-drawn picture of both the complexity of the problem and its resultant obstinacy in submitting to any reasonable analysis let alone a solution, owing to the myriad intangible changes that are in play and the non-linear relationships between most of the factors. The author’s conclusion that the walls should come down, the sooner the better, albeit carefully, is offset by her view that with the current cast of actors this show will have an extended run. This book is a cogent witness to the sad realpolitik of sectarianism that has now become institutionalized.


And why do we care so much – because in the middle of the book there’s a chapter on PTSD which extends this insidious condition from the individual to a population. If one looks, say, at the disturbing percentages of US military veterans returning from combat zones with PTSD, those vets nevertheless dissolve (in due course) as individuals or smallish groups of individuals into a larger society: but in Belfast we are talking about a different order of magnitude - a whole clumped community suffering from PTSD, with no real margin for a solvent.


So it is also a book that should be read by everybody in any city that is actively thinking about erecting walls – at the time of writing, Jerusalem comes to mind. Note, the book does not argue that walls did not once serve a purpose; rather that the consequences and their costs are greater, considerably greater, than the builders could ever have foreseen"


From Tony Craig, Associate Professor of Modern History, University of Staffordshire in The Tablet (14 Aug 15):


"... a candid and reasoned approach to complex and loaded issues....  remarkably fresh ....  a valuable record of meetings and conversations that are taking place and a signpost to opportunities for new relationships and additional conversations .... It is an invaluable book too for all those trying to break down barriers anywhere in the world, one brick at a time."


From Gerry Moriarty in The Irish Times (27 July 2015)


"Cosstick is the interested outsider, trying to offer a fresh eye to a phenomenon that to many people is invisible...."


Michael Sorkin, urbanist and Distinguished Professor of Architecture, City University of New York, intro at NY launch:


“Vicky Cosstick’s deep meditation on the walls situates this question of their evolving meaning in the shifting context of both physical and mental space. …  Belfast’s walls must never become invisible but must still disappear. But I also know that their demise will require both wisdom and generosity.  Vicky Cosstick’s superb book exemplifies both.”


Revd Lesley Carroll, peacemaker & Deputy Equality Commissioner, Northern Ireland, intro at Belfast launch.


"I thank Vicky for telling that unwritten story which is so difficult to recount, the story of conversations and relationships, of many unsung heroes and heroines, a story blushed with beginning.


If you are feeling at all weary in making peace or uncertain of what to do next then this book is for you. If you are in need of inspiration or of something to lift your spirit then this book is for you. Thank you Vicky for becoming part of our lives and for showing us ourselves and who we have yet to become."



Vicky also interviewed on Sunday Sequence, BBC Radio Ulster; by Ricky Ross on BBC Radio Scotland; by Sean Doherty on Highland Radio, Donegal; by Aly McIlroy for Gaining Ground, Northern Visions TV; Castlebar Community Radio, Co. Mayo -- Google for links....