In April 2004 I was launching my first novel at the Irish cultural centre in Hammersmith, London, when a lady came over to me and shook my hand.
“I think I may be your cousin,” she said. “My name is Ethna Herron. You…Continue
Shortly after the death of Martin McGuinness, I listened to a radio discussion about the Provisional IRA and its origins. Among the contributors was Ruth Dudley Edwards, the self-professed revisionist historian. At one stage in the programme, I heard her say, “I…Continue
In 1961 a great Irish writer called Francis Stuart wrote a novel the like of which had not been seen before. It was entitled Black List Section H, and it didn’t find a publisher for eight years because Stuart had been banished from the literary world. In 1939, shortly before the…Continue
The first time I fell in love was in the children’s section of Brooke Park library. I was 11 and she was 10, and her name was Josephine and she had so many freckles on her face that she was a haze of delight.
It didn’t take long for me to work out that she changed…Continue
By way of introduction I should tell you that I have great affection for the United States of America. Just over a century ago most of my uncles and aunts migrated from a dirt-poor part of Donegal to settle in Chicago. If my mother hadn’t married a…Continue
There’s a saying we have in Ireland that you’d nearly think was coined for Colm Tóibín’s novel Brooklyn. Namely, if you’ve the name of getting up early in the morning you can lie…Continue
I’ve heard of life imitating art, but the only time I ever saw death imitating it was at Samuel John MacPherson’s wake…Continue
Most of the stuff in my novels comes from my imagination but I owe a fair amount of what I write to a pub called The Rocking Chair where there’s such a variety of characters that you’d need…Continue
Both of my parents were from County Donegal here in Ireland, and there can’t be many areas more deprived and remote…
On a July day nearly 130 years ago, an unknown and homesick young Irish writer trudged along a busy London street. He stopped suddenly and stood still, for he thought he could hear the tinkling of water in the midst of the bustling thoroughfare.…Continue