Sheila Killian talks about the historical narrative behind her debut first novel. Something Bigger centres on an incident in Irish-American history in which an Irish brother and sister found themselves in conflict with the KKK in Alabama, 100 years ago. Sheila Killian’s granduncle was a priest, Fr. Jimmy Coyle, and is one of only two white Irish people commemorated in the Civil Rights Museum at Birmingham, Alabama. The other Irish-American– on the opposite side of history – is the infamous Bull Connor, who was the racist Birmingham police chief during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Jimmy Coyle was progressive and outspoken on issues of equality, and paid the ultimate price.
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