Contributor corner: Lyra McKee

Lylyra-mra McKee's mother, when asked what her daughter was like growing up, tells the story of how, while some mothers heard "Mummy, Mummy," in their sleep, she heard, "Why? Why?". No answer, she says, could ever satisfy her daughter. That natural-born curiosity inevitably led Lyra to a career in journalism.

Lyra writes mostly about crime and the legacy of the conflict known as the Troubles in her native Northern Ireland. She also writes on LGBT issues. When she's not writing, Lyra works as a chambermaid and general servant for an 11-year-old Tortoiseshell called "Big Marie".

Twitter: @LyraMcKee

What is your feature about? 

My story is about how, nearly 20 years after Northern Ireland's historic peace agreement, a new generation of young people is dying because of the conflict. This time, though, it's not bullets and bombs killing them: it's suicide. This generation, known as the Ceasefire Babies, is having to deal with the legacy of a very bloody conflict, including things like traumatised parents, murdered grandparents, subsequent poverty and alcoholism. They are as much victims of the war as their grandparents were.

What did you learn that you didn't expect?

That trauma can travel down generations. You don't have to have seen war to be affected by it. Northern Ireland is unique, as one academic quoted in the story points out, because the government didn't fall while war was raging. So we're one of the few countries that has the data to prove that war doesn't end with peace; it goes on taking lives, even when the guns are no longer firing. I think this casts an entirely new light on the Northern Irish conflict and has huge implication for conflict hotspots around the world.

Read Lyra's story on Mosaic from 19 January.