AUTHORS MADE OF WRITE STUFF; Irish Writers Have Turned a New Leaf with Stories of the Land of the Celtic Tiger. but They Remain Wary of the Modern Country That Inspires Them

Sunday Mirror (London, England), June 27, 1999 | Go to article overview

AUTHORS MADE OF WRITE STUFF; Irish Writers Have Turned a New Leaf with Stories of the Land of the Celtic Tiger. but They Remain Wary of the Modern Country That Inspires Them


IRISH writers are more popular now than ever before.

But the Ireland that inspired writers like WB Yeats, James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh and Brian Moore has been overtaken by the Celtic Tiger and the fall of the Catholic Church.

Contemporary Irish novels about drugs, poverty, the Troubles in Northern Ireland and romance continually top the bestseller list.

Colin Bateman grabbed the attention of Hollywood directors who turned his novel, Divorcing Jack, into a blockbuster movie.

Brendan Graham is also swamped with offers from the movie world since his novel The Whitest Flower hit the shelves last year, and Neville Thompson turned the grinding poverty and scourge of heroin addiction he saw in a Dublin housing estate into a gritty debut best-seller.

Here Ireland's new breed of writers reveal the Ireland which inspired them to put pen to paper.

COLIN

BATEMAN

BORN in Bangor, Co Down, Colin Bateman is still shocked by his own success.

His career started with a toy typewriter and a vague job promise.

Today, the author has two films - Divorcing Jack and Crossmaheart - under his belt and more ready to roll.

"From Co Down to Cannes - it's a bit crazy," he admitted.

In his writer's den in Co Meath's Ratoath, he has found inspiration for his new book.

"My house is right beside Fairyhouse Horseracing Course so my next book is based around the horsey high-society life," he said.

"I never read fiction when I am writing a novel because it's too easy to copy another author's style or pick up ideas.

"Once I get a solid idea in my head and a good storyline the words just flow. I have to be sure that there is nothing flimsy about the plot and then I'm confident I will grab my readers attention.

"I also need to be able to read something that will grab my attention and keep me interested in the story. Even when I pick up a high brow book with the intention of reading it - I end up going back to the best-seller list.

"I don't really get that much time to read books anymore but I like to read about life today because it's easier to identify with."

Despite his achievements Colin insists he is one of the laziest people in the world.

"I'm basically a really lazy person but at the moment I'm really busy so I can't spend my days in bed anymore. I have deadlines to meet and people to see so I can't afford to slack off."

Colin has enjoyed his move to Dublin from Down.

"I love to wander around the city where nobody knows me, everyone recognises me back home so it's nice to be anonymous for a change.

"There's a fantastic buzz in Dublin at the moment and I'm enjoying life here a lot."

Colin uses the same tragic character Dan - a washed-out journalist who constantly gets himself into hot water - in all his novels.

"I'm very fond of Dan - we're good friends. At the moment I'm just typing away in front of my computer every day and I love creating a new world."

His novel, Empire State, starring Brendan Gleeson, will be ready to hit the TV screens as an independent film for Scala and BBC productions by the summer.

"It's set to come out early next year but by the looks of things my novel won't be ready until the year 2003," he said with a grin.

"I'm seeing a different side to Ireland now that I am living in Dublin and I have to say I like it but we have to be sure we handle our wealth with grace.

"We can't let down the old and the poor for a few flash cars and big houses. Life has changed dramatically in the last century but I don't find it difficult to be inspired by the changing times."

TINA

REILLY

Mother-of-two Tina Reilly has already made it in the literary world in the teenage market. But her new novel, Flipside, is her first break into adult literature.

Tina's highly acclaimed teen novels Livewire, Fastcar and Freefall were written under her married name Martina Murphy. …

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