Excellent. Thought-provoking. A must-read' – Belfast Telegraph 'Fascinating' – Irish Times 'Mark Carruthers has done something remarkably clever and refreshing . .. A very important book' – Belfast News Letter 'The best political book of the year' – Alex Kane Ulster is an ambiguous and complex place. With six of its nine counties in Northern Ireland and three in the Republic of Ireland, it is perhaps most readily associated with the Troubles of the past four decades. It is also, however, a place with a rich literary, musical and sporting heritage. Its people represent a surprising mix of cultural identities, religious ideologies and political allegiances. There is no one settled Ulster identity but as this collection of conversations bears out, there are many areas where experiences and beliefs overlap – even though people come from very different backgrounds and traditions. In Alternative Ulsters, the broadcaster Mark Carruthers interviews a wide range of high-profile writers, actors, journalists and politicians, each of them with an enduring Ulster connection. He uses his finely tuned skills as an interviewer to draw each contributor into a personal reflection on identity. The stories and experiences that helped shape and influence each of the thirty-six interviewees are presented here in a series of colourful, lively, and at times deeply moving exchanges. Together, these conversations with those who know the place best explore Ulster in the twenty-first century, revealing a freshness of thought and a richness of culture that rarely make the headlines.