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On The Table Read, the best “ebook Magazine UK“, Sam Burnside shares the story of his new book, My Name Is Rebecca, and what inspired him to write it.

My Name Is Rebecca

Sam Burnside’s My Name Is Rebecca tells the story of the death of Rebecca’s twin sister, Ruth, following a bomb attack on a Belfast street in the height of the Troubles.  With the impending twenty-fifth anniversary of her sister’s death, Rebecca visits the grave with two of their friends, whilst embarking on a journey of introspection in which she faces her feelings of guilt and loss head on.

With a central theme of loss and guilt, My Name is Rebecca takes the reader back in time to 1983 and the height of the Troubles in a story that is haunting as much as it is redemptive.

My Name Is Rebecca by Sam Burnside on The Table Read
My Name Is Rebecca

Enveloping the reader in the gamut of Rebecca’s emotions, Sam Burnside’s eloquent and sensitive writing keeps the reader transfixed as the twenty-fifth anniversary of Rebecca’s twin sister’s murder in a bombing looms.

An insightful tale of unravelling emotions and friendships following a hugely public and catastrophic event, the literary expertise of this consummate storyteller leaps from the page as readers join Rebecca on her journey to fulfilment.

Book Synopsis

What is it with these days? A dry leaf, rattling across her path makes her jump; a cloud shadow moving against the dirt-ingrained concrete startles her imagination.

As the result of a random yet calculated act of political violence in the early 1980s Ruth Porter dies on a Belfast street in the presence of her twin sister, Rebecca. For the next twenty-five years Rebecca and their two boyfriends of the time live out their lives by continuing to pay homage to a consistently maintained, if unfulfilling and apparently static, set of friendships.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of Ruth’s death approaches and Rebecca, on the surface a successful and respected career nurse approaching middle age, finds herself beginning a quest for meaning that involves journeys that are inwards  as well as outwards; this activity culminates in a visit to a ritualised stone-age burial site in the hills on the outskirts of Belfast. 

She is accompanied on these journeys by two long-standing friends — James, a solid if unimaginative and conservative businessman, and Robert a self-styled radical craftsman-artist. Along the way the friendships disintegrate, with each of the main characters seeking consolation in different ways while Rebecca, despite her unacknowledged feelings of guilt, finally achieves a measure of spiritual fulfilment.

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The Troubles

Set in Ireland at the height of the Troubles and against a background of social and political change and energetic economic and cultural development of the eighties, the novel explores that aspect of life experienced just on the cusp of denial, a place where everyday language often fails to communicate and where questions of morality and justice vie with a pragmatic reality.

A novel where intangible shadows emerge to play all too readily against a human landscape alive with possibility and where the novel’s unfolding story mirrors a damaged society.

About Sam Burnside

Sam Burnside was born in Co. Antrim and now lives and works in the city of Derry Londonderry where he was founder and first Director of the Verbal Arts Centre, an educational charity established in 1992 to promote literature in all its forms.

Described by the Derry Journal as ‘one of the most important literary figures living in the north west’, his work has received praise for its craftsmanship (‘verse that is even-pitched and meticulously crafted’, Linenhall Review) and for the ways in which it sympathetically explores the experience of living in Northern Ireland.

Sam Burnside, author of My Name Is Rebecca, on The Table Read
Sam Burnside

He is the author of ‘The Cathedral’ a long poem that won the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry in 1989. His work has attracted a number of literary prizes, including an Allingham Poetry Prize, the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award for Literature and a Bass Ireland Award. His poetry has been published and broadcast widely. Sam was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to the arts.

Reading Never Goes Out of Style

Find more from Sam Burnside:

Published by Hobart Books, My Name is Rebecca (ISBN: 978-1-914322-06-8) is available.

in paperback (£10.75) from bookshops, online at, and in paperback (£10.75)and Kindle format (£4.99) on Amazon at and respectively.

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