Though I was born and bought up in Belfast in Northern Ireland, I had no idea of the women's involvement until I came across a pamphlet by the journalist Neil McCaIfferty. I was shocked not only that there had been women on these protests, but also at the horrific and inhumane conditions that they were being kept in. This squalor threatened them with sterility and disease. There were at times fears of an outbreak of a serious epidemic.
This pamplet is now out of print. The only other book written on the subject is also out of print.
I spoke to some of the women who had been on the protest. I brought the idea to the women's theatre company 'Trouble and Strife'.
I then co-wrote a play with members of Trouble and Strife called Now and at the Hour of Our Death, which was set on one day in Armagh prison (winner of the Time Out Award). I then wrote a version of a screenplay with some of these women, this was the basis for the adapted screenplay for Silent Grace.
I found poignancy in these women going through all of this and yet being forgotten. It felt unjust-the women had been written out of history.
On a deeper level I wanted to humanise these women who had been demonised and dehumanised and treated like animals.
As a post Good Friday Agreement film I wanted to create a simple narrative which would show the power of friendship and the possibility of change. Paradoxically I wanted to create a film about the hunger strikes which had a profound respect for life at its core.