A book signing will take place this weekend for the ‘landmark biography’ of John Hume.

The lengthy book is a biography of political giant and former SDLP leader John Hume, one of the leading figures of the peace process. Former BBC Political Correspondent, Stephen Walker is the author of John Hume: The Persuader.

The book is composed of 100 interviews, 75 of them conducted by Mr. Walker while the other 25 interviews consist of never before published interviews with Mr. Hume conducted by publishers, Gill.

“Gill was hoping to do a memoir with John but it didn’t happen, and I discovered these interviews by accident and it made sense to marry their interviews and my interviews together,” explained Mr. Walker.

The book took over three years to write and led to a deep exploration of John Hume, the man, by Mr. Walker, “When I was involved in looking at his life I realised here is a man who led so many lives, could have been a priest, was a teacher, was involved in civil rights, set up a fish cooperative and then eventually got into politics, helped set up the credit union, all kinds of things he did were motivated by public service and making things better so I thought he is a fascinating character.

Mr. Walker alludes to the fact that Hume led many different lives and that a series of ‘what-if’ moments could have changed the trajectory of Northern Ireland.

He said: “There is a whole series of what ifs in the book, the book begins with Hume on the verge of resignation in 1992. He had written out a resignation letter, he was fed up, he had a lot of criticism in the press, criticism from party colleagues, and talks weren’t going anywhere.

“Mark Durkan came over to the house at the request of Pat, John’s wife to talk John out of resigning and Mark Durkan talked John Hume out of resigning.

He had a statement written about to the press association, he was minutes away from resigning.

Explaining the significance of this Mr. Walker said: “That’s 1992, two years before the ceasefires, six years before the Good Friday Agreement, if Hume had stepped down, would there have been a Hume – Adams [talks between John Hume and Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams], would there have been a ceasefire, would there have been a Good Friday Agreement?

Fermanagh plays a role in the book with the 1981 Fermanagh South Tyrone by-election featuring.

“The SDLP put a candidate up and then withdrew,” said Mr. Walker.

“They thought Noel Maguire was going to run, and then there was he next by-election after Sands died, where Owen Carron ran and became the MP and the SDLP got a lot of criticism for not running a candidate.

“But Hume said, sometimes in politics, you are faced with two wrong choices and you take the lesser.”

The interviews featured in the book come from across the political spectrum, one Fermanagh man interviewed is David Kerr, who served as UUP leader David Trimble’s assistant. H

“He has an analysis of John Hume, he thinks Hume’s legacy is a complex one.

“David Kerr saw Humes's role at the Good Friday agreement as a bit like a chief executive of a company, they wouldn’t know the detail but would know the overall strategy,” explained Mr. Walker.

One significant contribution from Mr. Kerr is the details surrounding the ‘defining moment’ of the Yes campaign when at a concert at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, U2 frontman Bono lifted Hume and Trimble's hands aloft and the now iconic image of the three standing together was beamed around the world.

Mr. Stephen Walker will be signing copies of his book on Saturday, December 9 at 12 noon in Waterstones Enniskillen.