Tributes have been paid to 29-year-old “gifted" Lyra McKee, a journalist and debut Faber author, who was shot on Thursday night (18th April) while observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate.
Faber signed two books by McKee last April, with The Lost Boys exploring the disappearances of a number of children and young men during The Troubles.
Alex Bowler, publisher at Faber, said: "We are heartbroken and appalled by the news of Lyra McKee’s death in Derry. Lyra was a writer of exceptional gifts and compassion, an inspiring, determined seeker of truth, and the most beloved of human beings. We are honoured to be her publisher.
"Our thoughts are with those most closely affected by this terrible news, and we ask that her partner and family’s privacy be respected amid this desperate sorrow."
The Lost Boys will be published in 2020. McKee was described by Faber at the time of her deal as a "rising star of investigative journalism". Hassan said at the time: "I think Lyra McKee has a long and prestigious writing career ahead of her."
McKee's writing has been published in the Independent and the Atlantic, as well as newspapers and magazines in Northern Ireland and internationally. In 2014, McKee's "Letter To My 14 Year-Old Self" went viral and was subsequently turned into a short film.
“Lyra McKee was gifted, brave, kind and funny. I’m proud to have been her literary agent." Janklow and Nesbit agent Will Francis wrote of his client, in a tribute posted on the company's website. "I started working with her after Chrissie Giles at Mosaic published Lyra’s extraordinary piece about the effect of the war in Northern Ireland on her generation, growing up in Belfast after the Good Friday Agreement."
“She wrote about the legacy of the Troubles, about a city haunted by its recent past, and did so with tremendous wit and insight. I sold her book, The Lost Boys, about the disappearance of children in Belfast in the 1970s, to Faber last year on the basis of a proposal. In that document she wrote about growing up in a 'conflict hotspot' in North Belfast, off the road known as the Murder Mile."
Francis added: “As William Faulkner wrote, the past is never dead. It’s not even past. We’ve lost a tremendous talent, and today I’m remembering Lyra, and thinking of her friends, her partner and her family."
The National Union of Journalists' general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said of the 29-year-old: "A bright light has been quenched and that plunges all of us in to darkness... Her death is a major loss to journalism."
McKee was standing near a police 4x4 vehicle when she was shot after a masked gunman fired towards police and onlookers, according to the BBC. The New IRA has admitted responsibility for the killing, the Irish News has reported.
A GoFundMe campaign in McKee’s memory has raised almost £60,000 in three days.