Ciaran Carson was one of Ireland's most noted writers, musicians, and poets. His book The Star Factory has been described as a wonderfully original self-portrait and portrait of Belfast, the author’s beloved homeplace.

As a near contemporary of Ciaran Carson as well as being from Belfast himself, Stephen Rea brings inimitable empathic relish to his recent reading of The Star Factory for RTÉ’s Book on One.

Chapters stretch back and forth up to 1948, the year of Carson’s birth, and forward to the 1990s when the book was first published in 1997 and gained such acclaim.

In this excerpt, the author’s dream-like memory brings us back to the beginnings of his attraction to stories:

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Stephen Rea reads the excerpt which Carson had previously written for a book of images by Belfast artist, John Kindness:

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Other excerpts from The Star Factory by Ciaran Carson can be enjoyed on the Book On One on RTÉ Radio 1. In them the author reveals a fascination with auction rooms and for collecting things. He remembers the furniture of various houses in which he lived, for example, the three-piece suite, comprising a chesterfield and two companion armchairs, and how memories of these so easily bring him to other places and times. He contemplates libraries, matchboxes and his sweet tooth.

The book is punctuated by elemental memories around his father, a postman. His father is clearly the primary source of Carson's fascination with story.

All episodes of Book on One are available on the Book on One website for 4 weeks following their radio broadcast. The producer of the Book on One is Clíodhna Ní Anluain.