Celebrate the career of one of Ireland’s best-loved writers, as he discusses his work in an intimate and entertaining evening in conversation with guest interviewers at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, this coming weekend.
Roddy Doyle’s writing is immediately recognisable for his rich humour, unique use of dialogue and contemporary references. His ability to write in the slang of working-class Dublin reinvented the modern Irish novel as an authentic, popular medium which portrays the experiences of everyday Irish life. He can take difficult social and historical issues, such as domestic abuse, alcoholism, unmarried pregnancy and life-threatening illness, and present them in a concise, accessible and even humorous form.
He has even managed to persuade quite a few people that “Mustang Sally” is a traditional Irish song.
Roddy became a teacher in Dublin in 1980, before leaving to write full-time in 1993. His first three novels, “The Commitments” (1987), “The Snapper” (1990) and “The Van” (1991), narrate the adventures of the never-say-die Rabbitte family, residents of Barrytown, a poor housing estate in north Dublin. The bleakness of life in an Irish slum is tempered with familial love and understanding in Doyle’s comic, celebratory depiction of the community.
All three novels were made into successful films (for which he wrote the scripts); Roddy won a BAFTA Award for “The Commitments” – the story of a group of Dublin teenagers, led by Jimmy Rabbitte Jr., who decide to form a soul band.
Doyle also wrote the Channel 4 series, “The Family”, which was televised in the UK in 1995. He won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1993 for his novel “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha”, the tale of a 10-year-old Irish boy. “The Woman Who Walked Into Doors” (1996) is the tragic story of Paula Spencer, alcoholic and mother of four children, locked in an abusive marriage. Doyle revisits Spencer’s life in his 2006 novel “Paula Spencer”.
Doyle’s distinctively Irish settings, style, mood, and phrasing have made him a favourite fiction writer in his own country as well as overseas.
Of the tour he said: “Over the years, what I’ve always enjoyed most about book events is the conversation, and the unpredictability of the questions. I recently saw a list of the work I’ve produced in the 33 years since “The Commitments” was published. It’s a long list; there’ll be plenty to talk about.”
Roddy Doyle is at the Apex, on Sunday, March 15, at 7.30pm. Contact The Apex Box Office on 01284 758000 or visit www.theapex.co.uk for more information or to book.