When Roddy Doyle self-published his first novel, The Commitments, in 1987, he was told he’d struggle to attract readers beyond Dublin. Decades later – after a Booker Prize (for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha), numerous novels, two films based on his books, and several screenplays – he’s gone from cult hero to cornerstone of the Irish literary establishment. And while his fan-base is worldwide, Ireland remains at the heart of his art. Here, he’s joined by journalist/reviewer Blanche Clark in conversation for our 10 series.
During this event, Doyle reads from short story collection Bullfighting, discusses the compilation’s middle-aged protagonists and why its stories didn’t become novels; he explains the prominence of Cadbury’s in his work, describes writing The Commitments, capturing the vernacular (without eavesdropping) and responding to bad reviews. Finally, he shares his favourite young writers of Dublin, considers what makes an Irish writer and explains the inevitability of political influences on his characters.
Blanche Clark has been a journalist for 23 years.
Alan Brough has worked in film, television, on stage and radio as a writer, director, actor, broadcaster and stand-up comedian. He has appeared in five feature films and in numerous TV shows. Alan is probably best known for his seven year stint as team captain on ABC1’s beloved musical quiz show Spicks & Specks.
Sjón was born in Reykjavik in 1962. He won the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, the equivalent of the Man Booker Prize, for The Blue Fox, which was also longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2009.
Roddy Doyle is the author of nine novels, a collection of stories, and Rory & Ita, a memoir of his parents.