Laurence McKeown is an author, playwright, filmmaker, and academic though sees those roles within the broader context of political activism and the role that the arts can play in that.
His involvement in creative works, political education, and academia began during his period of incarceration as a political prisoner in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh (1976-1992). Following his release from prison Laurence completed a doctoral thesis at Queen’s University, Belfast. His thesis was published in 2001 entitled Out of Time.
Whilst pursuing his PhD studies, Laurence co-wrote (with Brian Campbell) a feature film, H3 (2001, Metropolitan Films), based on the 1981 hunger strike within the prison, which Laurence participated in (for 70 days) and during which 10 prisoners died.
In 1995 he co-founded the West Belfast Film Festival, which in 2001 expanded citywide to become the Belfast Film Festival. Laurence was chair of the film festival for its first ten years and remains on its board of management.
Laurence has written twelve plays, three books, one TV series, a radio drama, and three documentary films. His most recent play, Green and Blue (produced by Kabosh Theatre) was premiered at the Belfast International Arts Festival in 2016. It has toured Ireland extensively and been performed in Paris, Dresden, and London. Laurence was short-listed for the Irish Writers Guild of Ireland Zebbie Award (2017) for Green and Blue.