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  • I attended a symposium advertised as ‘a shared platform in the border region and a chance for all to explore ideas relevant to Ireland and Northern Ireland –past, present and future.

    DBC Pierre, whose first book, Vernon God Little, won the Booker Prize in 2003, was the first to speak.

    Born in Australia, and spending his adolescence in Mexico, he has made a mountain in Ballinamore his home now.

    He started talking about the World’s natural borders, the sea, and how man has made unnatural borders, drawing lines on maps separating communities.

    He then launched into a funny account of the problems he had crossing the border from Mexico to USA, giving vivid descriptions of corrupt Mexicans who he bribed so that he could take his sports car into USA. He eventually lost his Mexican Citizenship.

    At the end of his talk he asked for questions.
    I stuck my hand up.

    “Did you know you had a Mexican in your audience?” I asked him.
    “No, who is it?”

    I introduced my husband.

    He was amazed.

    There he was in a tiny village in the Republic of Ireland surrounded by librarians and writers from both sides of the border; not expecting to find a Mexican there.

    There is a lesson in there somewhere.
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