Michael Feeney Callan
Michael Feeney Callan is an Irish novelist and poet. An award winner for his short fiction, he joined BBC television drama as a story editor, wrote screenplays for The Professionals, for American television, he wrote the template Irish police drama series, The Burke Enigma, starring Donal McCann, Love Is, starring Gabriel Byrne, went on to write and direct a number of television programmes, among them The Beach Boys Today, a film that marked the band's 30th anniversary. He has published several novels and has written biographies of Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins and Richard Harris, his biography of Robert Redford was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of its recommended Best Books of 2011. In 2013, he published his second volume of poetry, An Argument for Sin. Callan was born to Michael Callan, an engineer, Margaret in Drumcondra, Dublin. After living in London, Callan resettled in Dublin with their two children, he spends time at Châteauneuf de Grasse, where he paints and sculpts. Callan started writing in publishing poetry in David Marcus' New Irish Writing.
His first collection, Fifty Fingers, was published in 2003. His second volume of poetry, An Argument for Sin, was published in 2013. Callan describes the work as "a memoir in poetry, much influenced by Yeats' A Vision and Poe's Eureka." The book comprises poems written between 2003 and 2013. Callan won the Hennessy Literary Award for his short story and was anthologised in Best Irish Short Stories. Thereafter he diversified publishing fiction and non-fiction. Callan wrote a series of British television adaptation novels of differing genres, including Capital City, Target: The Bronze Heist, Sweet Sixteen and Jockey School, the novel Lovers and Dancers, set in Ireland during the famine. Lovers and Dancers was inspired by Anthony Trollope's early writing and was reissued by Random House in the mid-1990s. In 2002, Callan published Did You Miss Me?, a novel exploring difficult female themes, issued in a revised version in 2014. Callan has written biographies of Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, longtime friend Richard Harris.
The Connery book was referred to as "a necessity for Connery and Bond fans" by the Los Angeles Times and is the sole reference work on Connery quoted in Albert "Cubby" Broccoli's autobiography. A new edition and updated to cover Connery's formal retirement, was published by Nouveau Monde Editions, Paris, in March 2012. For fifteen years from the mid-nineties, Callan travelled throughout the United States interviewing more than 300 sources for Robert Redford: The Biography; the book was written with the co-operation of Redford, who traveled to Ireland to work with Callan and provided access to his diaries and personal records. In the course of its preparation, Callan spent extensive time with many of Redford's key collaborators. Entertainment Weekly selected Robert Redford: The Biography as one of its 10 Best Movie Books of 2011. Robert Redford: The Biography was published in mass market paperback by Vintage Books in 2012. Callan began writing for radio at the outset of his career, he adapted The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins and Scales of Justice by Dame Ngaio Marsh for RTÉ Radio, wrote the original plays The Train and Tripp.
He contributed more than 20 plays to the Dan Treston-produced series Treasure House, dramatising the lives of scientists and artists from Johannes Kepler to Edgar Allan Poe and H. G. Wells. Callan's first screenplay was the crime series The Burke Enigma, a six-hour film production for RTÉ, which starred Ray McAnally and Donal McCann, went forward as RTÉ's drama entry for the 1979 Prix Italia. According to Callan, this work was "influenced by the film noir I loved as a kid, by Robert Altman's style." Subsequently, Callan joined BBC television drama in London, where he story-edited the detective series Shoestring. At ITV, he wrote for the action series The Professionals. In the 1980s, Callan collaborated with Frederick Forsyth on Public Broadcasting Service-aired adaptations of Forsyth's stories Privilege and A Careful Man. Collaborating with Anthony Shaffer, Callan was commissioned in 1987 by HBO to write The Negotiator, based on a treatment by Forsyth; the series was announced but never filmed and Forsyth redeveloped the outline into a novel.
He was commissioned to write a two part episode for the BBC of Doctor. This was in final revision when the series was suspended under Jonathan Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer in 1985. On his website, Callan responded to an enquiry on this subject thus:I wrote a two-parter called The Children of January, it was to be a season closer, not a series termination. But the BBC decided in mid-season that the show had run its course and, in the middle eighties, I think they were right, but I loved my episode, delivered late in 1985. I created a race of runaway proto-humans called the Z'ros, sort of'human bees', of which I still have the fondest nightmares; the Children of January, refers to renegade outcasts of a dawning "parallel universe" civilisation, abandoned. In 2011, Callan produced Channel 4's Sounds from the Cities; the series was presented by actor Mathew Horne, featured live performances from Imelda May, K. T. Tunstall, Jon Fratelli, Joy Formidable and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals. Callan made a significant contribution to the regeneration of the film industry in Ireland during the 1980s.
Joining Morgan O'Sullivan's pioneering production set-up, Tara Productions, Callan collaborated in a strategy to acquire the defunct National Film Studios (as Ard
Joseph Victor O'Connor is an Irish novelist. His 2002 historical novel Star of the Sea was an international number one bestseller. Before success as an author, he was a journalist with the Sunday Tribune newspaper and Esquire magazine, he is a regular contributor to Raidió Teilifís Éireann and a member of the Irish artists' association Aosdána. Eldest of four children and brother of singer Sinéad O'Connor, he is from the Glenageary area of south Dublin, his parents are Sean O'Connor, a structural engineer turned barrister, Marie O'Connor. Educated at Blackrock College, O'Connor graduated from University College Dublin with an M. A. in Anglo-Irish Literature. He did post-graduate work at Oxford University and received a second M. A. from Leeds Metropolitan University's Northern School of Television in screenwriting. In the late 1980s, he worked for the British Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, his novel Cowboys and Indians was on the shortlist for the Whitbread Prize. On 10 February 1985 O'Connor's mother was killed in a car accident.
He had the mother of the character Sweeney in The Salesman die in such a manner. In 2002, he wrote the novel Star of the Sea, which The Economist listed as one of the top books of 2003, his most recent novel, Ghost Light is loosely based on the life of the actress Maire O'Neill, born Mary "Molly" Allgood, her relationship with the Irish playwright John Millington Synge. It was published by Harvill Secker of London in 2010. O'Connor has been a Research Fellow at the New York Public Library and Visiting Professor of Creative Writing/Writer in Residence at Baruch College, the City University of New York. In 2014, he was announced as the inaugural Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick, where he teaches on the MA in Creative Writing, he was a regular contributor to Drivetime, an evening news and current affairs programme on RTÉ Radio 1. O'Connor is married to Anne-Marie Casey, they have two sons. He and his family have lived in London and Dublin, from time to time in Manhattan during his work in New York City.
Cowboys and Indians True Believers Even the Olives are Bleeding: The Life and Times of Charles Donnelly Desperadoes The Secret World of the Irish Male The Irish Male at Home and Abroad Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America The Salesman Inishowen The Comedian The Last of the Irish Males Star of the Sea Redemption Falls Ghost Light Where Have You Been? The Thrill of it All Red Roses and Petrol The Weeping of Angels My Cousin Rachel - stage adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel. Handel's Crossing 2011 Walter Scott Prize, Ghost Light 2012 Irish PEN Award, for outstanding contribution to Irish Literature. Www.doollee.com - The Playwrights' Database identitytheory.com interview Barnesandnoble.com interview Personal Website
Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. It is on the east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, at the mouth of the River Liffey, is bordered on the south by the Wicklow Mountains, it has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, the population of the Greater Dublin area was 1,904,806. There is archaeological debate regarding where Dublin was established by the Gaels in or before the 7th century AD. Expanded as a Viking settlement, the Kingdom of Dublin, the city became Ireland's principal settlement following the Norman invasion; the city expanded from the 17th century and was the second largest city in the British Empire before the Acts of Union in 1800. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the capital of the Irish Free State renamed Ireland. Dublin is a historical and contemporary centre for education, the arts and industry; as of 2018 the city was listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network as a global city, with a ranking of "Alpha −", which places it amongst the top thirty cities in the world.
The name Dublin comes from the Irish word Dubhlinn, early Classical Irish Dubhlind/Duibhlind, from dubh meaning "black, dark", lind "pool", referring to a dark tidal pool. This tidal pool was located where the River Poddle entered the Liffey, on the site of the castle gardens at the rear of Dublin Castle. In Modern Irish the name is Duibhlinn, Irish rhymes from County Dublin show that in Dublin Leinster Irish it was pronounced Duílinn; the original pronunciation is preserved in the names for the city in other languages such as Old English Difelin, Old Norse Dyflin, modern Icelandic Dyflinn and modern Manx Divlyn as well as Welsh Dulyn. Other localities in Ireland bear the name Duibhlinn, variously anglicized as Devlin and Difflin. Scribes using the Gaelic script wrote bh with a dot over the b, rendering Duḃlinn or Duiḃlinn; those without knowledge of Irish omitted the dot. Variations on the name are found in traditionally Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland, such as An Linne Dhubh, part of Loch Linnhe.
It is now thought that the Viking settlement was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, from which Dyflin took its name. Beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements; the Viking settlement of about 841, a Gaelic settlement, Áth Cliath further up river, at the present day Father Mathew Bridge, at the bottom of Church Street. Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford", is the common name for the city in modern Irish. Áth Cliath is a place name referring to a fording point of the River Liffey near Father Mathew Bridge. Baile Átha Cliath was an early Christian monastery, believed to have been in the area of Aungier Street occupied by Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. There are other towns of the same name, such as Àth Cliath in East Ayrshire, Anglicised as Hurlford; the area of Dublin Bay has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times, but the writings of Ptolemy in about AD 140 provide the earliest reference to a settlement there.
He called it Eblana polis. Dublin celebrated its'official' millennium in 1988, meaning the Irish government recognised 988 as the year in which the city was settled and that this first settlement would become the city of Dublin, it is now thought the Viking settlement of about 841 was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn, from which Dyflin took its name. Beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements which became the modern Dublin; the subsequent Scandinavian settlement centred on the River Poddle, a tributary of the Liffey in an area now known as Wood Quay. The Dubhlinn was a pool on the lowest stretch of the Poddle, used to moor ships; this pool was fully infilled during the early 18th century, as the city grew. The Dubhlinn lay where the Castle Garden is now located, opposite the Chester Beatty Library within Dublin Castle. Táin Bó Cuailgne refers to Dublind rissa ratter Áth Cliath, meaning "Dublin, called Ath Cliath". Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 10th century and, despite a number of attacks by the native Irish, it remained under Viking control until the Norman invasion of Ireland was launched from Wales in 1169.
It was upon the death of Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn in early 1166 that Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, King of Connacht, proceeded to Dublin and was inaugurated King of Ireland without opposition. According to some historians, part of the city's early economic growth is attributed to a trade in slaves. Slavery in Ireland and Dublin reached its pinnacle in the 10th centuries. Prisoners from slave raids and kidnappings, which captured men and children, brought revenue to the Gaelic Irish Sea raiders, as well as to the Vikings who had initiated the practice; the victims came from Wales, England and beyond. The King of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, after his exile by Ruaidhrí, enlisted the help of Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke, to conquer Dublin. Following Mac Murrough's death, Strongbow declared himself King of Leinster after gaining control of the city. In response to Strongbow's successful invasion, King Henry II of England affirmed his ultimate sovereignty by mou
History of the Jews in Ireland
The history of the Jews in Ireland extends back nearly a thousand years. Although the Jewish community has always been small in numbers, it is well established and has been well-accepted into Irish life. Jews in Ireland have enjoyed a relative tolerance, absent elsewhere in Europe; the earliest reference to the Jews in Ireland was in the year 1079. The Annals of Inisfallen record "Five Jews came from over sea with gifts to Toirdelbach, they were sent back again over sea", they were merchants from Normandy. No further reference is found until the 1169 Norman invasion of Ireland launched by Strongbow in defiance of a prohibition by Henry II of England. Strongbow seems to have been assisted financially by a Jewish moneylender, for under the date of 1170 the following record occurs: "Josce Jew of Gloucester owes 100 shillings for an amerciament for the moneys which he lent to those who against the king's prohibition went over to Ireland". By 1232, there was a Jewish community in Ireland, as a grant of 28 July 1232 by King Henry III to Peter de Rivel gives him the office of Treasurer and Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, the king's ports and coast, "the custody of the King's Judaism in Ireland".
This grant contains the additional instruction that "all Jews in Ireland shall be intentive and respondent to Peter as their keeper in all things touching the king". The Jews of this period resided in or near Dublin. In the Dublin White Book of 1241, there is a grant of land containing various prohibitions against its sale or disposition by the grantee. Part of the prohibition reads "vel in Judaismo ponere"; the last mention of Jews in the "Calendar of Documents Relating to Ireland" appears about 1286. After the 1290 Edict of Expulsion of Jews from England, Jews living in the English Pale around Dublin may have had to leave English jurisdiction, although there is no evidence for this, it would not have been difficult for Jews to defy the 1290 Edict by moving beyond English settlement into the Gaelic Irish areas that England did not control. Jews were living in Ireland long before Oliver Cromwell in 1657 revoked the English Edict of Expulsion. A permanent settlement of Jews was established in the late fifteenth century.
Following their expulsion from Portugal in 1497, some of these Sephardic Jews settled on Ireland's south coast. One of them, William Annyas, was elected mayor of Youghal, County Cork, in 1555. Francis Annyas, was a three-time Mayor of Youghal in 1569, 1576 and 1581. Ireland's first synagogue was founded in 1660 near Dublin Castle. A plot of land was acquired in 1718 as a burial ground, called Ballybough Cemetery, it was the first Jewish cemetery, it is situated in the Fairview district of Dublin. In December 1714, the Irish philosopher John Toland issued a pamphlet entitled Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1746 a bill was introduced in the Irish House of Commons "for naturalising persons professing the Jewish religion in Ireland"; this was the first reference to Jews in the House of Commons up to this time. Another was introduced in the following year, agreed to without amendment and presented to the Lord Lieutenant to be transmitted to England but it never received the royal assent.
These Irish bills, had one important result. This led to the organisation of the Board of Deputies, an important body which has continued in existence to the present time. Jews were expressly excepted from the benefit of the Irish Naturalisation Act of 1783; the exceptions in the Naturalisation Act of 1783 were abolished in 1846. The Irish Marriage Act of 1844 expressly made provision for marriages according to Jewish rites. Daniel O'Connell is best known for the campaign for Catholic Emancipation. In 1846, at his insistence, the British law "De Judaismo", which prescribed a special dress for Jews, was repealed. O’Connell said: "Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution of the Jews". During the Great Famine, in which 1 million Irish people died, many Jews helped to organize and gave generously towards Famine relief. A Dublin newspaper, commenting in 1850, pointed out that Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his family had...contributed during the Irish famine of 1847... a sum far beyond the joint contributions of the Devonshires, Herefords, Lansdownes and Herberts, who annually drew so many times that amount from their Irish estates.
In 1874, Lewis Wormser Harris was elected to Dublin Corporation as Alderman for South Dock Ward. Two years he was elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin, but died 1 August 1876 before he took office. There was an increase in Jewish immigration to Ireland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871, the Jewish population of Ireland was 258. Most of the immigration up to this time had come from Germany. A group who settled in Waterford were Welsh, whose families came from Central Europe. In the wake of the Russian pogroms there was increased immigration from Eastern Europe. By 1901, there were an estimated 3,771 Jews in Ireland, over half of them residing in Dublin. By 1904, the total Jewish population had reached an estimated 4,800. New synagogues and schools were established to cater
Colm Tóibín is an Irish novelist, short story writer, playwright, journalist and poet. Tóibín is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Liverpool in 2017. Hailed as a champion of minorities as he collected the 2011 Irish PEN Award, that same year he was named by The Observer one of "Britain's Top 300 Intellectuals" despite being Irish. Tóibín was born in 1955 in County Wexford, in the southeast of Ireland. Tóibín's parents were Michael Tóibín, he is the second youngest of five children. His grandfather, Patrick Tobin, was a member of the IRA. Patrick Tobin took part in the 1916 Rebellion in Enniscorthy and was subsequently interned in Frongoch in Wales. Tóibín's father was a teacher, involved in the Fianna Fáil party in Enniscorthy. Tóibín grew up in a home where there was, he said, "a great deal of silence". Unable to read until the age of nine, he was overcome by a stammer.
He received his secondary education at St Peter's College, where he was a boarder between 1970 and 1972. He spoke of finding some of the priests attractive. In July 1972, aged 17, he had a summer job as a barman in the Grand Hotel in Tramore, County Waterford, working from six in the evening to two in the morning, he spent his days on the beach, reading The Essential Hemingway, the copy of which he still professes to have, its "pages stained with seawater". The book developed in him a fascination with Spain, led to a wish to visit that country, gave him "an idea of prose as something glamorous and shaped, the idea of character in fiction as something oddly mysterious, worthy of sympathy and admiration, but elusive, and more than anything, the sheer pleasure of the sentences and their rhythms, the amount of emotion living in what was not said, what was between the words and the sentences."He progressed to University College Dublin, graduating in 1975. After graduation, he left for Barcelona. Tóibín's first novel, 1990's The South, was inspired by his time in Barcelona, as was, more directly, his non-fiction Homage to Barcelona.
Having returned to Ireland in 1978, he began to study for a master's degree. However, he did not submit his thesis and left academia, at least for a career in journalism; the early 1980s were an bright period in Irish journalism, the heyday of the monthly news magazine Magill. Tóibín became the magazine's editor in 1982, remained in the position until 1985, he left due to a dispute with Magill's managing director. The South was followed by The Story of the Night and The Blackwater Lightship, his fifth novel, The Master, is a fictional account of portions in the life of author Henry James. He is the author of other non-fiction books: Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border, The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe. Tóibín has written two short story collections, his first and Sons, which as the name suggests explores the relationship between mothers and their sons, was published in 2006, was reviewed favourably. His second, broader collection, The Empty Family, was published in 2010, was shortlisted for the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.
Tóibín's play, Beauty in a Broken Place, was staged in Dublin in August 2004. He has continued to work as a journalist, both in Ireland and abroad, writing for the London Review of Books among other publications, he has achieved a reputation as a literary critic: he has edited a book on Paul Durcan, The Kilfenora Teaboy, The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction. He has written a collection of essays, Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodóvar, a study on Lady Gregory, Lady Gregory's Toothbrush. Tóibín sent a photograph of Borges to Don DeLillo, who described it as "the face of Borges against a dark background—Borges fierce, his nostrils gaping, his skin stretched taut, his mouth amazingly vivid. DeLillo seeks inspiration from it. In 2011, The Times Literary Supplement published his poem "Cush Gap, 2007". 2012 brought the publication of The Testament of Mary. In 2014, he released his first full-length novel since Brooklyn, a portrait of a widowed mother of four in Wexford struggling through a period of grief, entitled Nora Webster.
In 2015, ahead of the Marriage Equality referendum, Tóibín delivered a talk titled "The Embrace of Love: Being Gay in Ireland Now" in Trinity Hall, featuring Roger Casement's diaries, the work of Oscar Wilde, John Broderick and Kate O'Brien, Senator David Norris's 1980s High Court battles. In the same year, he released On Elizabeth Bishop, a critical study which made The Guardian's Best Books of 2015 list twice. Tóibín has said, he does not view himself as storyteller. He has said, "Ending a novel is like putting a child to sleep – it can't be done abruptly."Tóibín works in the most extreme, austere conditions. He sits on a uncomfortable chair which causes him pain; when working on a first draft he covers only the right-hand side of the page.
International Standard Book Number
The International Standard Book Number is a numeric commercial book identifier, intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency. An ISBN is assigned to each variation of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN; the ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country; the initial ISBN identification format was devised in 1967, based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. Published books sometimes appear without an ISBN; the International ISBN agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative.
Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number, identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number covers musical scores; the Standard Book Numbering code is a 9-digit commercial book identifier system created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, for the booksellers and stationers WHSmith and others in 1965. The ISBN identification format was conceived in 1967 in the United Kingdom by David Whitaker and in 1968 in the United States by Emery Koltay; the 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. The United Kingdom continued to use the 9-digit SBN code until 1974. ISO has appointed the International ISBN Agency as the registration authority for ISBN worldwide and the ISBN Standard is developed under the control of ISO Technical Committee 46/Subcommittee 9 TC 46/SC 9; the ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978.
An SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prefixing the digit "0". For example, the second edition of Mr. J. G. Reeder Returns, published by Hodder in 1965, has "SBN 340 01381 8" – 340 indicating the publisher, 01381 their serial number, 8 being the check digit; this can be converted to ISBN 0-340-01381-8. Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format, compatible with "Bookland" European Article Number EAN-13s. An ISBN is assigned to each variation of a book. For example, an ebook, a paperback, a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN; the ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. An International Standard Book Number consists of 4 parts or 5 parts: for a 13-digit ISBN, a prefix element – a GS1 prefix: so far 978 or 979 have been made available by GS1, the registration group element, the registrant element, the publication element, a checksum character or check digit. A 13-digit ISBN can be separated into its parts, when this is done it is customary to separate the parts with hyphens or spaces.
Separating the parts of a 10-digit ISBN is done with either hyphens or spaces. Figuring out how to separate a given ISBN is complicated, because most of the parts do not use a fixed number of digits. ISBN is most used among others special identifiers to describe references in Wikipedia and can help to find the same sources with different description in various language versions. ISBN issuance is country-specific, in that ISBNs are issued by the ISBN registration agency, responsible for that country or territory regardless of the publication language; the ranges of ISBNs assigned to any particular country are based on the publishing profile of the country concerned, so the ranges will vary depending on the number of books and the number and size of publishers that are active. Some ISBN registration agencies are based in national libraries or within ministries of culture and thus may receive direct funding from government to support their services. In other cases, the ISBN registration service is provided by organisations such as bibliographic data providers that are not government funded.
A full directory of ISBN agencies is available on the International ISBN Agency website. Partial listing: Australia: the commercial library services agency Thorpe-Bowker.
John McGahern is regarded as one of the most important Irish writers of the latter half of the twentieth century. Known for the detailed dissection of Irish life found in works such as The Barracks, The Dark and Amongst Women, The Observer hailed him as "the greatest living Irish novelist" before his death in 2006 and in its obituary the Guardian described him as'arguably the most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett'. Born in Knockanroe about half a mile from Ballinamore, County Leitrim, John McGahern was the eldest child of seven. Raised alongside his six young siblings on a small farm in Knockanroe, McGahern's mother ran the farm whilst maintaining a job as a primary school teacher in the local school, his father, a Garda sergeant, lived in the Garda barracks at Cootehall in County Roscommon, somewhat sizeable distant away from his family at the time. McGahern's mother subsequently died of cancer in 1944, when the young John McGahern was ten years old resulting in the unrooting of the McGahern children to their new home with their father in the aforementioned Garda barracks, Cootehall.
In the years following on from his mother's death, McGahern completed his primary schooling in the local primary school, won a scholarship to the Presentation Brothers secondary school in Carrick-on-Shannon. Having travelled daily to complete his second level education, McGahern continued to accumulate academic accolades by winning the county scholarship in his Leaving Certificate enabling him to continue his education to third level. Following on from his second level success, McGahern was offered a place at St Patrick's College of Education in Drumcondra where he trained to be a teacher. Upon graduation from third level education, McGahern began his career as a primary schoolteacher at Scoil Eoin Báiste primary school in Clontarf where, for a period, he taught the eminent academic Declan Kiberd, where he taught before returning to third level education in University College Dublin where he graduated in 1957, he was dismissed from Scoil Eoin Báiste on the order of the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid.
He was first published by the London literary and arts review, X magazine, which published in 1961 an extract from his first – abandoned – novel, The End or Beginning of Love. McGahern married his first wife, Finnish-born Annikki Laaksi, in 1965 and in the same year published his second novel, The Dark, banned by the Irish Censorship Board for its alleged pornographic content along with its implied sexual abuse by the protagonist's father. Due to the controversy, stirred by the book's publication McGahern was dismissed from his teaching post and forced to move to England where he worked in a variety of jobs before returning to Ireland to live and work on a small farm near Fenagh in County Leitrim, he died from cancer in the Mater Hospital in Dublin on 30 March 2006, aged 71. He is buried in St Patrick's Church Aughawillan alongside his mother. McGahern's six novels draw inspiration from some personal life experience detail the trials of developing an individual sense of self in Ireland of the mid-twentieth century.
His first published novel, The Barracks chronicles the life of the barrack's Garda sergeant's second wife, Elizabeth Reegan, in the decline of health due to cancer. The Barracks was adapted for the stage in 1969 by Hugh Leonard, his second book, The Dark tracks the progression of a young boy as he moves through the education system in rural Ireland. The main character, young Mahoney, while maintaining his academic prowess experiences a strained relationship with his father, old Mahoney – who beats him and the other children – as well as indecision about what to do with his life after secondary school. Young Mahoney's attitude towards his father evolves over the vast timespan covered within the novel from fear and hatred towards greater acceptance. Note: "The Barracks" and "The Dark" came from McGahern's re-writing of his first, novel, The End or Beginning of Love; the next novel, The Leavetaking introduces the reader to Patrick Moran, a young schoolteacher in Dublin. The novel is set during his last day in the school.
He will be formally fired that night for having married a divorced non-Catholic woman during a leave of absence year. The novel is divided into two parts: both of which are flashbacks. Part 1 covers the teacher's childhood up to the moment of his mother's death. Like McGahern himself, Patrick had promised his mother that he would become a priest and as he is unable or unwilling to do so instead becomes a schoolteacher. Part 2 flashes back to how he came to meet his wife, how the church authorities fire him, his ultimate dismissal by the church authorities, the formal authority within Irish schools at the time; the book is a close reflection on McGahern's own experiences of being dismissed from his teaching post in the early 1960s for much the same reasons as Patrick Moran as well as the scandal caused by his second book, The Dark, with many sexual references. The Pornographer details the life of the novel's protagonist who writes pornography for a living is now living in Dublin, he begins a sexual relationship with a young woman called Josephine and when Josephine subsequently becomes pregnant, the "pornographer" voices his contempt towards the birth of the baby, indeed his relationship with the child's mother.
The novel again covers the subject of death by cancer – the writer's aunt in this case is dying in hospital – as well as visits to rural Ireland. His fifth and McGahern's best known novel is Amongst Women which marks a return to the Roscommon/Leitrim setti