Derek Mahon was born in Belfast on 23 November 1941. He has not written a memoir, but certain facts and something of the atmosphere of his childhood can be gleaned from poems, essays, interviews and Hugh Haughton’s study The Poetry of Derek Mahon (2007), written with the poet’s close co-operation. His parents had jobs in Belfast’s two key industries at that time, shipbuilding and linen (both now gone). His father, like his father before him, clocked on at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, rising from fitter to inspector of engines; his mother, before marriage, had been employed at the York Street Flax Spinning Company. “Blue-to-white collar”, the family lived in North Belfast off the Antrim Road in a semi-detached house and were “serious about being respectable”, his mother…

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Citation: Walker, Tom. "Derek Mahon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 January 2013; last revised 29 January 2013. [, accessed 06 December 2023.]

2878 Derek Mahon 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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