When Kate Guelke was a child, her South African-born dad Adrian - a professor of politics at Queen’s University - was shot in his bed by Loyalist paramilitary hitmen in Belfast. Kate was in the house when it happened, the gunmen went into her bedroom first. Kate’s dad survived the hit, in what was later described by The Guardian as being “like the plot from a John LeCarre spy thriller.”
Adrian thinks he wasn’t traumatised by his shooting. Kate disagrees! Kate is the only member of her family who has no memories of her dad’s shooting, because she was too small. Does this mean she’s the only one who isn’t traumatised by the event? Or maybe she’s more traumatised, because all she has is her imagination to reconstruct the event?
Interviewing Dad is an exploration of transgenerational trauma in a post-conflict society. How do we talk about the past, while also moving on from the past?