Archive for October, 2013


CAHERSIVEEN playwright Amy Conroy is to shortly take to the stage at Listowel Writers’ Week for her explosive play I heart Alice heart I.

The documentary-style show, now in its third year, tells the love story of two women named Alice.

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reaking Good: Broadway’s Golden Age Reborn on Cable

By  posted at 6:00 am on September 27, 2013 5


It is hardly news by now that Broadway theater has become a high-priced museum of its former self. This year’s Broadway season, which kicked off earlier this month, will feature a few new plays, including a limited run of Outside Mullingar from Pulitzer-winner John Patrick Shanley in January, but for the most part Broadway theaters will host the usual disheartening mix of jukebox musicals, retooled Disney movies, and revivals of hoary classics populated by downshifting movie stars.

For those who care about theater as an art form, it is this last category, the endless stream of revivals of classic American plays populated by movie stars, that really hurts. Sure, there are theaters off-Broadway and in other cities around the country that still commission and produce new plays, but the Broadway revivals, like the production of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie starring Cherry Jones that opened earlier this month, show that there was once a time when serious new plays found favor not just with a small, theater-loving elite, but with a broad cross-section of middle-class America.

My own grandparents, like many educated young people in the 1940s, loved culture and fine things, but they lived in an isolated mill town in Southern Virginia without good bookstores or restaurants, much less a vital theater scene. So, like thousands of their fellow Americans, once or twice a year, they hopped a train to New York to eat a few decent meals, shop at the department stores along Fifth Avenue, and “see the shows,” which for them meant Broadway. This was, for a generation of American provincials like my grandparents, the height of sophistication and an annual ritual that sustained New York theater for decades.

Now that golden age of serious, culturally ambitious drama is gone forever.

coverOr is it? Certainly, given the sky-high ticket prices and the emphasis on circus-like musicals catering to baby boomer nostalgia, the next generation of great American dramatists like Tennessee Williams or Lorraine Hansberry, whose 1959 classic A Raisin in the Sun is being revived this spring, won’t be returning to Broadway any time soon. But in fact we have a platform for serious, character-driven drama in this country, and it is more popular and broad-based than Broadway ever was. It’s called cable television.

The inexorable slide of quality theater from the cultural mainstream and the rise of cable TV as the defining dramatic art form of the 21st century is a prime example of technological “creative destruction” at work. The theater of Broadway’s Golden Age was indeed terrific stuff, but as a consumer product it was wildly inefficient. Because shows were live and unrecorded, they could be seen by a limited number of people, many of whom had to travel hundreds of miles to get to the theater. Successful Broadway shows spawned touring companies – as hit musicals still do to this day – but such tours are costly to run and audiences in the smaller cities inevitably get a watered-down version of the real thing, with lower quality actors and production values.

covercoverCable shows like Homeland or Breaking Bad, which airs its series finale this Sunday, are cheap and easily accessible to anyone with a subscription to cable or Netflix. More importantly, though, thanks to a complex set of market forces, all the incentives push cable channels to hire top-drawer actors and writers and allow them the artistic freedom to create compelling characters and story lines, much the way the best Broadway plays did half a century ago. This fragile cultural moment won’t last – more on that later – but for now it seems clear that if Tennessee Williams and Lorraine Hansberry were writing today they would be showrunners for a cable series, because that’s where the audience is.

covercoverYou can measure the Golden Age of American theater in many ways, but I would mark it from the 1944 debut of The Glass Menagerie to the opening night of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1962. There were, of course, serious American playwrights before then – Eugene O’Neill is the best-known, but there were plenty of others – but those writers always seemed slightly ahead of the popular culture of their time. Likewise, many great American plays have debuted since 1962, and a select few, like Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, became part of the wider national conversation.

coverBut for a short time after the Second World War, American commercial theater hit that elusive sweet spot where popularity meets ambitious social and artistic agendas. In his fascinating 1987 autobiography TimebendsArthur Miller speaks of this era as

a time when the audience was basically the same for musicals and light entertainment as for the ambitious stuff and had not yet been atomized…So the playwright’s challenge was to please not a small sensitized supporting clique but an audience representing, more or less, all of America.

Miller explains how this broad-based, yet culturally hungry audience shaped the work of the era’s two greatest writers, himself and Tennessee Williams. Both men were, to differing degrees, outsiders to American culture – Williams because he was unapologetically gay, Miller because he was a Jew with strong radical beliefs. In another era, Miller says, they might well have slanted their work to please a minority audience that already agreed with them, but suddenly in the postwar years there was a mainstream audience waiting to hear what they had to say, and being both great artists and profoundly ambitious men, they opened their work outward to a mass audience.

To do that, they didn’t preach to their audiences like Clifford Odets did in his political plays of the 1930s or bash the viewer over the head with a bleak vision the way O’Neill too often does in his plays. Instead, Miller and Williams created characters – indelible, psychologically complex protagonists like the struggling salesman Willy Loman riding on a smile and a shoeshine or the tragic, half-mad Blanche DuBois forever depending on the kindness of strangers. These characters had to be psychologically complex and indelibly drawn because that’s how you appeal to a heterogenous audience not already united by social background or political outlook: you get audiences to care deeply about a character, to see themselves in someone who may not be in any outward way like them. Once you’ve done that, an audience will follow you anywhere.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the movies that put an end to Broadway’s Golden Age. Hollywood’s own Golden Age, stretching from the advent of sound in the late 1920s to the late 1950s, roughly overlaps that of Broadway. No, it was TV that killed the Broadway of Miller’s era – that and probably the jet plane. At a time when the only viable home entertainment was radio and all but the stratospherically rich traveled by train, car, or boat, Broadway theater was part of a broader leisure industry that catered to Americans like my grandparents yearning for cultural experiences they couldn’t enjoy in their own hometowns.

covercoverBut once the desire for entertainment could be satisfied by a magic box in the living room and a desire for horizon-broadening travel could by satisfied by plane trips to Europe and beyond, Hollywood and Broadway had to adapt or die. They did so by splitting their audiences – “atomizing” them, in Miller’s terms – into high and low. After a decade of trial and error, Hollywood reinvented itself in the 1970s with ambitious, director-driven films like Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and money-spinning summer blockbusters like Jaws and Star Wars. Broadway did much the same thing, filling the bigger houses with crowd-pleasing musicals like Cats and A Chorus Line while supporting more adventurous, writer-driven work by the likes of David MametSam Shepard, and Wendy Wasserstein.

This worked for a time, thanks in large part to off-Broadway and the regional theater movement, which allowed playwrights to grow their careers at subscription-based resident theaters around the country and then bring their most popular work to New York for a money-making Broadway run. This system, low-paying and outside the mainstream as it was, still made for some pretty terrific theater. Shepard, sustained by a long-running affiliation with San Francisco’s Magic Theater, introduced audiences to his singularly bleak and funny Western vision, while August Wilson, who premiered most of his plays at the Seattle Repertory Theater, opened a window onto working-class black characters quite nearly invisible to the mainstream.

But while regional theater provided an audience for more adventurous fare, unlike in Arthur Miller’s day, it was no longer the same audience that went to see the big musicals. Mamet, Shepard, and Wilson, talented as they were, were no longer writing for “an audience representing, more or less, all of America,” but for the “small sensitized supporting clique” that Miller saw as an artistically narrowing force. And then, lo and behold, the free market worked its magic. As Broadway ticket prices escalated to pay for ever more lavish, spectacle-driven musicals, it became harder to persuade theatergoers, even the ones who like the more ambitious stuff, to risk several hundred dollars on a new play.

Enter Carrie Bradshaw and Tony Soprano. Gallons of ink have been spilled, and thousands of terabytes expended, trying to explain why audiences have become so obsessed with characters on modern cable shows, but as Adam Davidson demonstrates in a December 2012 New York Times “It’s the Economy” column, the answer has more to do with business models than any quirk of culture. When there were only three major networks, programming success depended on producing a great number of shows that were just incrementally better than what was on the two other networks, which inevitably led to the creation of a vast wasteland of expensively bland mediocrity.

But once cable blew up the TV dial, giving viewers hundreds of channels to choose from, programmers had to shift their strategy. Now, it wasn’t enough to be just a little better than the competition; now, your shows had to be a lot better. You didn’t have to come up with a huge number of great shows, just one or two at a time would do, but they had to be so good that viewers would become obsessed with the characters and story lines to the point that they would shun cable providers that didn’t carry the channels where those shows appeared.

covercoverIn other words, out of the morass of network TV, the very technology that ended Broadway theater’s Golden Age, came a sort of small-screen Broadway in which a few big talents – David Simon of The WireLena Dunham of GirlsVince Gilligan of Breaking Bad, and so on – have been given wide artistic latitude to create characters and stories audiences will care about. Because cable providers often operate as near-monopolies, the average cable bill has doubled in the past decade, and viewers pay close to $90 billion a year for cable service. That is a huge pot of money, and for many cable companies nearly half of their revenue is pure profit, so there is an enormous incentive to get the formula right.

But as Davidson points out in his Times column, this fragile model is already fraying at the seams. So far at least, cable subscribers aren’t canceling in large numbers, but as piracy becomes more pervasive, fewer younger people are signing up for cable in the first place. “When people in their 20s move out of their parents’ house or dorm room, they are less likely to get into the habit of paying for cable,” he writes. “If they get addicted to Breaking Bad, they’ll often download it free through file-sharing services like Bit Torrent or wait for it to come out on iTunes.” To make up for lost revenue, cable providers have to jack up rates, which drives more new viewers away, setting up a vicious spiral that, according to one industry expert Davidson spoke to, could cause the entire edifice to collapse as early as 2016.

What comes after that? The short answer is nobody knows. It could get seriously messy there for a while, leading millions of Breaking Bad and Mad Men obsessives to bore their children with talk of the Golden Age of Cable. But if this history teaches us anything, it is that there is always going to be a sizeable audience that cares about quality drama enough to pay real money for it. After all, in the 1940s, Broadway’s principal competition was local amateur productions and guys on their front porches telling funny stories – a sort of analog version of today’s BitTorrent downloads and YouTube cat videos. My grandfather, who told some pretty funny stories himself, was willing to plunk down serious money to take his family to New York for a few good meals and a chance to see the best writers and performers of his age. I have no idea what entertainment technology will look like when my future grandchildren begin to hunger for something more edifying than a quick joke or a funny story, but my bet is they will be able to find it if they are willing to pay for it.

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FREE Download of Transfer of Power and Kill Shot Preview
Monday, December 05, 2011

From December 22, 2011 through December 30, 2011 a FREE download of Transfer of Power will be available through Kindle, Nook, Apple and Kobo.  The FREE ebook will include an exclusive and extended free preview of Kill Shot.  Just search for Transfer of Power on any of the aformentioned eReaders to take advantage of this offer. (this offer does not extend to any print versions of Transfer of Power.)

signed Editions of Kill Shot Available
Friday, January 06, 2012

The following retailers will offer signed editions of Kill Shot.  Please contact the retailers with any specific questions.

ALABAMA BOOKSMITH:  205-870-4242
BARNES AND NOBLE in Edina, MN:  (952) 920-0633 
BARNES AND NOBLE in Roseville, MN:  (651) 639-9256 
DIANES BOOKS:  203-869-1515
LEMURIA BOOKSTORE:  800-366-7619
MURDER BY THE BOOK:  713-524-8597
MYSTERIOUS GALAXY:  858-268-4747
ONCE UPON A CRIME:   (612) 870-3785 
POISONED PEN:  480-947-297
VJ BOOKS:  503-750-5310

Vince’s Statement On The Kill Shot Book Tour
Monday, January 09, 2012

Dear Mitch Rapp fans,

I am sorry to announce that I will not be doing a book tour for the launch of Kill Shot. Post radiation my health has continued to improve, and I am feeling much better, but it is crucial that I conserve my energy and keep my immune system primed for the fight. I just had a very encouraging check up with my doctors and have started the next Rapp novel, which should be ready for publication this fall.

The novel brings Rapp back to the here and now. I’m excited to report that it’s off to a raging start. There’re a lot of bodies, some new bad guys and a couple of misguided, self-serving bureaucrats who are about to find out they’ve screwed with the wrong guy. We also lose someone in this book who we have grown to know and care about over the years.

I have already signed 2,500 copies of Kill Shot and we will announce in the next newsletter where you can purchase them (view list of retailers offering signed copies of Kill Shot). I will miss seeing all of you this time around.

Thank you for your support and keep the faith.

Vince Flynn

Vince’s Kill Shot eBook Statement
Friday, February 17, 2012

Dear Mitch Rapp Fans,

Thank you so much for your support over the first two weeks of publication. Because of you, Kill Shot will debut at #1 in all four possible categories on the New York Times Bestseller List in their February 26th issue. On top of that, we set the Simon and Schuster all-time record for most fiction ebooks sold in the first week of publication!

On the topic of the ebook edition, I would like to apologize for some of the confusion that occurred for those of you who read Kill Shot in the digital format. We thought readers would enjoy being able to read excerpts from all of my backlist, but as it turns out, we’ve heard otherwise from many of you.

All of this free material is counted as part of the book and has led readers to believe they still have 29% of the book left to read when in fact Kill Shot has just ended. Managing your expectations is something I take very seriously and I understand your frustration. If I was on a plane and I thought I was only two thirds of the way through a book and it abruptly ended I would be very disappointed.

We hear you and we will fix this. We are in the process of taking out the free sample chapters and should have this problem rectified shortly. I appreciate your patience on the matter and I apologize for any disappointment or frustration that it has caused.

Vince Flynn



Statement On Vince Flynn’s, “The Survivor”
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dear Readers,

First, let me thank you on behalf of everyone here at Simon & Schuster for all of your wonderful, heart-felt and heartwarming notes of condolence concerning Vince’s death last month. They will all be shared with his family and I know they will be touched.

I also want to keep you fully informed about the status of Vince’s unpublished work as he would most certainly want you to have this information.

The Survivor, Vince Flynn’s planned release this fall, is being postponed indefinitely. Vince had not yet completed the manuscript at the time of his passing last month. The reason it is “postponed indefinitely” as opposed to “canceled” is because it is too soon to know how much of the book was written or if Vince had plans or provisions in place in the event that he could not complete the book. As for Vince’s collaboration with Brian Haig, while it is still available for preorder, for the same reasons above, we ask for your patience concerning its publication.

We will absolutely keep you updated and again, many, many thanks for standing by Vince not only through the best parts of his life but through the hardest.

Emily Bestler
Senior Vice President, Editor-In-Chief
Emily Bestler Books, an imprint of
Atria Books at Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NEW YORK, JUNE 19, 2013-Vince Flynn, the bestselling author of the Mitch Rapp thriller series died early this morning after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 47.

The fifth of seven children, Vince Flynn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 6, 1966. He graduated from the Saint Thomas Academy in 1984, and the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics in 1988.

After college he went to work for Kraft General Foods where he was an account and sales marketing specialist.

In 1990 Vince Flynn left Kraft to accept an aviation candidate slot with the United States Marine Corps. However, one week before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program, due to several concussions and convulsive seizures he suffered as a child following a car accident. While trying to obtain a medical waiver for his condition, he started thinking about writing a book, an unusual choice for Flynn since he had been diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school and had struggled with reading and writing all his life.

Having been turned down by the Marine Corps, Flynn returned to the work force and took a job with United Properties, a commercial real estate company in the Twin Cities. During his spare time he worked on an idea he had for a book. After two years with United Properties he decided to devote himself full time to writing: he quit his job, moved to Colorado, and began working full time on what would eventually become his first novel, Term Limits.

While writing Term Limits, Flynn supported himself by bartending at night. After five years and more than sixty rejection letters, he decided to self-publish, which was not as common at that time as it is today. Term Limits went to number one in the Twin Cities area, and within a week Flynn had an agent and garnered a two-book deal with Emily Bestler of Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.

First Published by Pocket Books in 1997, Term Limits was a New York Times bestseller in paperback. Since then, his books became perennial bestsellers in hardcover, paperback, and electronic editions, and since the publication of Protect and Defend in 2007, have regularly been #1 New York Times bestsellers. Flynn’s novels have been praised for their extensive research and prescient warnings about the rise of Islamic Radical Fundamentalism and terrorism. His books have been read by current and former presidents, foreign heads of state, and intelligence professionals around the world, and are admired for their verisimilitude and imagination: one high-ranking CIA official told his staff, “I want you to read Flynn’s books and start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terror.”

Works by Flynn include American Assassin, Kill Shot, Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, Act of Treason, Extreme Measures, Pursuit of Honor, The Last Man and Term Limits (not part of the Mitch Rapp series).  Motion picture rights to Flynn’s character Mitch Rapp have been optioned by CBS Films with the intention of making a character-based, action-thriller movie franchise. 

“It has been our distinct honor to publish Vince Flynn for the entire length of his career,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc.  “As good as Vince was on the page – and he gave millions of readers countless hours of pleasure – he was even more engaging in person.   He had a truly unique ability to make everyone – from those of us at Simon & Schuster who were fortunate to be part of his publication, to booksellers and retailers around the nation, and most of all, his readers, with whom he had a very close relationship – feel as if we were on his team and sharing in his life and his success. Yes, we will miss the Mitch Rapp stories that are classic modern thrillers, but we will miss Vince even more.” 

Vince Flynn is survived by his wife Lysa Flynn, and three children.

Term Limits (1997) 
Transfer of Power (1999)
The Third Option (2000) 
Separation of Power (2001)
Executive Power (2003)
Memorial Day (2004) 
Consent to Kill (2005) 
Act of Treason (2006) 
Protect and Defend (2007) 
Extreme Measures (2008) 
Pursuit of Honor (2009) 
American Assassin (2010) 
Kill Shot (2012) 
The Last Man (2012)

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin, Ireland, on September 20, 1963. His parents, John O’Connor and Marie O’Grady, took an interest in fiction, poetry, theatre and music. Joseph’s father was born in Francis Street, in one of the oldest parts of Dublin city, the Liberties. Several of the stories and songs of that independently-minded place have appeared in Joseph’s fiction and other writings.As a child and as a teenager, Joseph was fond of reading. His father had a passion for opera and Victorian poetry and his mother admired the work of Oscar Wilde and Kate O’Brien. The house was full of books of many kinds; favourites included Brendan Behan, Flannery O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Liam O’Flaherty, Kingsley Amis, Yeats, James Plunkett, Patrick Kavanagh, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Graham Greene, Maupassant, old Penguins, the fairytales and folklore of Sinead de Valera, and the inexpensive editions of new Irish fiction then published by Poolbeg Press. Encountering JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and John McGahern’s collection of short stories Getting Through, both of which books he read when he was about seventeen, made him wish to be a novelist himself.

Joe attended University College Dublin from 1981 to 1986, where he studied Literature and History and wrote for student publications, also working part-time as a journalist, reviewer and researcher for Magill magazine and The Sunday Tribune. Following the death of his mother in 1985 he took five months away from the university, during which he went to Nicaragua, reporting on the aftermath of the Sandinista revolution for various publications in Dublin. On his return to UCD he completed an MA in Anglo Irish Literature, writing a major thesis on the work of the 1930s Irish poet and activist Charles Donnelly for which he was awarded a First Class Honours. He spent a year as a postgraduate at Oxford University before moving to South-East London, where he lived for the remainder of the 1980s. For a time he worked as a fundraiser for the British Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, occasionally writing for the magazine City Limits and other London publications. He submitted many short stories to literary magazines, all of which were rejected.

In 1989, his first short story ‘Last of the Mohicans’ was published by Ciaran Carty, editor of the Dublin Sunday Tribune’s New Irish Writing page. A second story, ‘Ailsa’, was published some months subsequently. O’Connor won that year’s Sunday Tribune/Hennessy First Fiction and New Irish Writer of the Year Awards, which were judged by the poet Brendan Kennelly and the novelist Piers Paul Read. He continued working on his debut novel, actually his third or fourth attempt at a first novel. He won the Time Out Magazine Travel Writing Prize in 1990 for an article about being arrested and briefly imprisoned in Nicaragua.

His first novel Cowboys and Indians was published in 1991 by Sinclair-Stevenson, London, and was followed, later the same year, by a collection of short stories, True Believers. Cowboys and Indians received warm reviews, became a number one bestseller in Ireland and was nominated in the First Novel category for the Whitbread Prize. He returned to college, receiving an MA in screenwriting from the Northern School of Film and Television, Leeds Metropolitan University. His second novel, Desperadoes, drew on his experiences in revolutionary Nicaragua and was widely acclaimed. It was followed by The Salesman, a contemporary psychological thriller, and Inishowen, a love story set in Donegal, New York and Dublin. The feature film, Ailsa, for which he wrote the script (based on his short story of that name in the collection True Believers) was directed by Paddy Breathnach in 1992, winning several awards, including the San Sebastian Festival Prize. Breathnach has also directed two shorter films written by Joseph O’Connor, A Stone of the Heart (Cork Film Festival Prize) and The Long Way Home. A script of Joseph’s won the Miramax Ireland Screenwriting Award in 1995 but was never produced. He has several other film scripts that have never been produced and he would like to win prizes for all of them.

In 1994, he was asked by The Sunday Tribune to cover the adventures of the Irish soccer fans at that year’s World Cup in America. His extended diary of the trip was the centrepiece of the collection The Secret World of the Irish Male, a surprise perennial bestseller in Ireland. Edited and compiled by the novelist Dermot Bolger, it was described by one critic as ‘the most apoplectically funny book of the year’. It has been also published in Italian and French. Perhaps it gained something in translation.

In 1995, he wrote the stage play Red Roses and Petrol, which played to capacity houses for several months at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin, before transferring to the Tricycle Theatre in London, and then back to Dublin, where it played a successful run at the Tivoli Theatre, Francis Street, indeed directly across the street from where his father had been born. Red Roses and Petrol, directed by Jim Culleton for Pigsback Theatre Company, won the In Dublin Award for Best New Irish Play. His other stage plays include The Weeping of Angels for the Gate Theatre, Dublin, starring Brenda Fricker, and True Believers and Handel’s Crossing for Fishamble.

In 2002, his novel Star of the Sea was published. A story set on a famine ship journeying from Liverpool, via Cobh in County Cork, to New York, it was a major departure from almost all of Joe’s previous writing. The novel uses ballads, letters and diary entries to tell its story and was influenced by Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Wuthering Heights, as well as by the novels of Toni Morrison and Peter Carey, and by music. More than a year after its publication it was chosen by television producer Amanda Ross as part of the first ‘Richard and Judy Book Club’ selection. Enthusiastically reviewed on the programme by musician Bob Geldof and literary critic Bonnie Greer, the novel reached number one in the British bestseller lists and continued selling strongly for many months. It became the highest selling literary novel in Britain that year and has by now been published in almost forty languages. Star of the Sea has sold more than a million copies and has won prizes and accolades around the world, including France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, the Irish Post Award for Fiction (UK), the Sunday Tribune/ Hennessy ‘Hall of Fame’ Award, the Neilsen Bookscan Golden Book Award, an American Library Association citation, inclusion on the New York Public Library’s prestigious annual list of ’25 Books to Remember’ and the Prix Litteraire Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year.

His subsequent novel, Redemption Falls, develops the multi-voiced narrative approach he had begun with Star of the Sea. Acclaimed by The Guardian as ‘a major work of modern fiction from an astonishingly accomplished writer’ and by Ireland’s Sunday Tribune as ‘a masterpiece’, the novel follows a number of the children of the Star of the Sea generation through the American Civil War and its aftermath. It was nominated for the Impac Literary Award and France’s Prix Femina and has been translated into many languages.

His latest novel, Ghost Light, (June 2010) is a poignantly beautiful love story moving from London in the 1950s to Ireland in the Edwardian era and theatrical New York in the 1910s. Its heroine, Molly Allgood, is based loosely on a real person: the Abbey Theatre actress who was for some years the lover and muse of the great Irish playwright John Synge. A shorter novel than Desperadoes, Star of the Sea or Redemption Falls, it follows Molly as she walks through London on a blustery day in 1952 on her way to a job at the BBC. Packed with music and memories, balladry and yearning, it extends the themes that have been present in Joe’s writing from the start – love, endurance, emigration, family, the joy sometimes found in the trivial event – and offers itself as an uplifting homage to the act of storytelling itself, the belief that the show must be played with courage to the close. It received rave reviews, was shortlisted for the Hughes and Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award 2011 and was chosen as a ‘Book of the Year’ by Colm Toibin (Daily Telegraph), Roddy Doyle (The Guardian), Charles Boardman (The Guardian), Tom Sutcliffe (The Independent), Peter Carey (Sky Books, Peter Kemp (The Sunday Times), Emma Donoghue (Sunday Business Post), Niall Crowley (The Irish Times), John Boland (Irish Independent) and Eamon McCann (The Belfast Telegraph). Other ‘Books of the Year’ mentions included the The Daily Mail, the Sunday Express, the Glasgow Herald, The Irish Sunday Times, Ireland AM (Kate Thompson) and Image magazine.

Joseph is married to playwright, screenwriter and novelist, Anne-Marie Casey. They have two sons. He and his family have lived in London and Dublin, and from time to time in Manhattan, where he 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. He broadcasts a popular weekly radio-diary on RTE One’s ‘Drivetime’ news theatre show, a link to which may be found in the MEDIA section of this website. He has given public readings all over Ireland and in many other countries, and in recent months has sometimes appeared with the musician and filmmaker Philip King in a programme combining literature and traditional music of various kinds. He has also given many spoken word performances with musicians and singers, including Camille O’Sullivan, Paul Brady, Glenn Hansard, Andy Irvine, Eimear Quinn, Sam Amidon, Caomhín Ó Raghallaigh, Thomas Bartlett, Scullion, and The Chieftains. The dance show, HEARTBEAT OF HOME, for which he is narrative and lyrics writer, premiered in Dublin in September 2013.

Joseph recently published Where Have You Been?, a new collection of his short stories (with a novella). Unusually for a collection of short fiction it was shortlisted for the Eason’s Irish Novel of the Year Award and is being published in several European languages including Italian, French and Dutch. The book was highly acclaimed by many critics and listed by Peter Kemp, chief fiction reviewer of the Sunday Times, as one of the best books of 2012.

In 2011 he was elected a member of Aosdana, a body established by the Arts Council in 1981 to honour Irish writers and artists whose work is deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the arts. His novel Ghost Light was chosen as Dublin’s ‘One City One Book’ novel for 2011. In December 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin. He is the winner of the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature, 2012.


A CD collection of 16 of the best of Joe’s recordings for RTE One’s ‘Drivetime’ programme. Frequently acclaimed and long-awaited, Joe’s diaries are among the most downloaded podcasts at RTE and are admired all over Ireland and abroad. Now, for the first time on CD, RTE is making available a selection. Wry, funny, touching, and powerful, the collection amounts to more than an hour of award-winning radio from an author called by the Le Monde ‘The most exciting writer of his generation.’
‘Unmissable radio’ The Irish Times Magazine.

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