Some biographical details.
There isn’t a lot to say about me, really. I’m Irish. I like reading – I used to be a bit of an omnivore when it came to reading, now with time getting tighter I tend towards what, for some reason, is called ‘literary fiction’ – as in the work of John Banville, John McGahern, Colm Toibin, Pat McCabe, Joe O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy. And not forgetting Virginia Woolf.
I also like to read poetry. I believe that reading poetry helps greatly with developing the art of compression in the writing of prose. A lot of contemporary poetry is incomprehensible to me so I would be considered a bit of a traditionalist. I love poets who make words sing: Shakespeare, especially his Sonnets, John Donne, George Herbert, Blake, Hardy, Yeats, Lowell and Ginsberg. And not forgetting the work of Carrick-on-Suir poet, Michael Coady.
I left school at a very early age – 13 – without having had any second – level education: some say that was the best thing that ever happened to me! In 2002 I began to study English Literature & Sociology as a mature student. It was difficult balancing study and assignments with work and family commitments but I stuck at it and graduated with first class honors in 2007.
I have had several stories published in ‘Ireland’s Own’, a widely-read, weekly magazine published in Ireland.
My first novel was published in October of 2015. It is called ‘Scenes from an Indian Summer‘ – a kind of growing up story that seeks to give an impressionistic evocation of the summer of 1963 – the time, the place, the people, the events, the changes – in the life of a twelve year old boy living in a small Irish town. In August of 2013 it made the shortlist of five from 500 submissions in a ‘Get Your Book Published’ competition run on RTE 1, Ireland’s premier radio station. It didn’t win but I was pleased that it made the shortlist.
More than two months have passed now since the launch of ‘Scenes from an Indian Summer’ at a packed Abymill Theatre, Fethard. It was a truly memorable evening for me and it seemed fitting that the launch should take place in the theatre where I had performed in so many productions over the years. It was a strange experience, being onstage as myself rather than as a character in a play!
I am delighted (and relieved!) that the book has been so well received by readers locally and further afield. The feedback from readers has been really encouraging and has made the long wait for publication, and the many hours spent writing and rewriting worthwhile. It was most important for me that the book would be well-received locally.
I am trying trying to put the finishing touches to the final draft of another story, provisionally entitled ‘Scobie & Me’. Incidentally, it was finished before ‘Scenes from an Indian Summer’ was accepted for publication, but I’ve decided to re-write parts of it. I am trying to get back to writing more regularly now that ‘Scenes’ is out there and doing nicely.
So, that’s me!