Milwaukee is a divided city in many ways, but in Belfast of the 1970s, the divisions were deep, formal and violent.
Northern Ireland author Tony Macaulay grew up in Belfast and wrote about his experiences as a young man coming of age in a trilogy of memoirs - Paperboy, Bread Boy, and the latest, All Growed Up.
Despite the violent background, the books are funny and touch on universal themes.
“While we waited at the doors for the Bay City Rollers,” Macaulay says, referring to a concert he attended as a teenager, “the girls squealed and screamed their names and wanted to touch their heroes. We (the boys) had to express ourselves in a way that was natural to us, so we kicked them.”
Macaulay has since made amends with the Scottish pop band and regularly receives their albums as Christmas presents from fans of his books.
Always a pacifist, Macaulay has spent the last 30 years working to build peace at home and abroad. Organizing community and youth groups, he works to break down the barriers of mistrust, hatred and division.
Macaulay will be in Milwaukee this weekend, acting as cultural ambassador at this year’s Irish Fest.