Peter Geoghegan

Journalist, author, broadcaster


My latest book, The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Againwas published in January 2015 by Luath Press, and was nominated for the Saltire Society First Book Prize.

The People’s Referendum is the story of Scotland’s historic vote, not as recorded by pollsters and politicians, but as experienced by some of the ordinary – and extraordinary – people involved.

Taking the scenic route we travel from ‘the Debatable Lands’ of the Scottish Borders to the Western Isles; meet ageing Communists rallying behind the independence cause in post-industrial Fife and loyal Orangemen backing the union; and soak up the ambience with secessionists across Europe trying desperately to follow Scotland’s lead.

CoverPraise for The People’s Referendum:

“The best piece of work to emerge so far (on Scotland’s independence referendum)…Instead of drawing from official sources, Geoghegan builds a narrative around the experiences of ordinary people…There is great warmth in Geoghegan’s writing. He empathises with his subjects regardless of their politics.”

Jamie Maxwell, The New Statesman

“Peter Geoghegan’s The People’s Referendum is that rare thing, a readable, enjoyable, fascinating and wonderfully enthusiastic book about a hugely important political and constitutional event.”

Alex Kane, Belfast Newsletter

My favourite (book) of the year…Part travelogue, part sociology,
part political history, and part analysis of the state of Scotland and
its democracy, The People’s Referendum is well crafted and wholly
readable…If you want to get behind the spin and bluster of the Yes
and No campaigns, I’d recommend you read Peter Geoghegan’s account of
grass roots Scotland.”

Alan Meban, Slugger O’Toole
“Quite beautifully written. You could read it for pleasure even if you
cared little or nothing for Scottish politics.”

Ian Smart, Labour blogger

“We should be grateful that the current generation of print journalists includes thoughtful, excellent writers like Geoghegan..Here is what I admire about this book. I have no idea whether Peter Geoghegan voted “Yes” last September. Nor do I have to know, if I am to enjoy his writing, appreciate his book, welcome his ability to channel other people’s stories. Good journalism doesn’t have to spin. It doesn’t even necessarily have to seek an “angle” to be relevant, entertaining and informative.”

Maurice Smith, Newsnet Scotland.

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again (Luath Press, Edinburgh, 2015) is a terrific read. Geoghegan is a sensitive writer who travelled across the length and breadth of Scotland to seek out how the referendum was being experienced in communities as diverse as those of the Outer Hebrides, the Borders, working-class Catholics in the west-central belt, and the ex-mining towns of west Fife…It works beautifully, and is reminiscent of one of the finest books I’ve ever read about Scotland: Neal Ascherson’s Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland  (Granta, London, 2002).”

Adam Tomkins, professor of public law at Glasgow University and Conservative representative on the Smith Commission.

“The referendum truly was the People’s Referendum. The fate of the campaigns rested in the hands of the ordinary Scot, not captains of industry or political leaders. Geoghegan captures this wonderfully.

The People’s Referendum should be on the bookshelf of anyone who wants to learn more about Scotland and how one Thursday in the middle of September changed this country’s politics forever.”

Aidan Kerr, STV

“Weaves together local stories and histories to provide subtle
insights into Scotland’s political future.”

Open Democracy

“Anyone wanting to take stock of the events of 2014 could do worse than to include this book on their reading list.”

The Herald

My previous book, A Difficult Difference: Race, Religion and the new Northern Ireland, was published by the Irish Academic Press in 2010. This is the story of how multicultural agendas have emerged in Northern Ireland, and how sectarianism continues to frustrate new visions for a post-conflict society.

Drawing on everything from analysis of anti-racist murals and posters to interviews with politicians, policy makers and minority ethnic representatives, this book shows how, and where, Northern Ireland is moving forward, and where patterns of behaviour and social organisation rooted in tribal division are holding it back.


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