(1909–1990), fiction-writer and broadcaster. Born in Scotland to an Ulster family, he went to live in Belfast in 1921. For a time he attended the Belfast College of Art. He began writing documentary scripts for BBC Northern Ireland and became a producer, 1945–69. Short stories contributed to The Bell were collected as Summer Loanen in 1943, the year in which he founded Lagan with John Boyd and Bob Davison. His first novel, December Bride (1951), was based on a story of his mother's family. The Hollow Ball (1961) depicts Belfast, poverty and unemployment. A Man Flourishing (1973), set in 18th-cent. Belfast, follows the progress of James Gault, a United Irishman. His final novel, Across the Narrow Sea (1987), shows the effects of the 17th-cent. Ulster plantation. Erin's Orange Lily (1956) concerns Ulster folklore. He edited Within Our Province (1972), a miscellany of Ulster writing. The Theatre in Ulster (1972) is an authoritative history. Bell used his position with the BBC to encourage fellow writers.
From The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature in Oxford Reference.