Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle

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Roddy Doyle is an amazing writer and is seen by his friends as a studious-looking and down-to-earth kind of guy. He is one of the new breed of young Irish artists who came of age in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
     Roddy Doyle was born in May of 1958 in the northern Dublin suburb of Kilbarrack, Ireland. From Roddy Doyle’s point of view, he seemed to have had a happy childhood, especially when he told an interviewer, “ There are memories of my own childhood, running through a field and seeing pheasants fly up, balls of dust under the kitchen table, and my parents happily married.” He also said talking about his childhood that “The place was mine, and the time was mine.” He was raised in a middle-class family, quite different from the gritty, working-class characters in his books. He attended St. Fintan’s Christian Brothers School in Sutton and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. He continued his education at University College, Dublin, where he achieved a Bachelors degree in English and geography. He undertook teacher training at Greendale Community School, in Kilbarrack, and after getting certified, he became a member of that school’s faculty. He taught fourteen years at Greendale, where he was known to his students as “Punk” Doyle because of the earring and the Doc Martens boots he wore. Doyle is currently married to Belinda Doyle and has two sons, Rory and Jack Doyle. Since 1993, Doyle has been dedicated to writing full time.
     Doyle’s first novel came in the 1980’s. The novel was titled Your Granny’s a Hunger Striker; Doyle said it was “brilliant,” but after that it went completely downhill. Later in the 80’s, approximately 1986, he published the first successful novel of his writing career. The name of it was The Commitments, which, with the help of a friend, he published himself under the “King Farouk” imprint, and sold himself. One copy of his book landed at William Heinemann, a London-based publishing house. Heinemann enjoyed the book so much he decided to publish it himself in 1987. Two years later, Random House published the book in the United States. This was Doyle’s big start. After his success he wrote two more novels, The Snapper, and The Van. The Van was such a well written novel that it was a finalist for the 1991 Booker Prize Award. Finally in 1993, success struck again.

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Doyle was awarded the Booker Prize, Britain’s highest literary award, for his fourth novel entitled Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha. Almost without exception, critics hailed Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha as a brilliantly realized work of fiction. On announcing Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha had won the Booker Prize as the British novel of 1993, the chairman of the judging committee called the novel “funny, humane, and sad.” Eamonn Wall called it “profound, disturbing, and beautifully crafted.” “ In Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha there is a lot of humor, and I think it’s there so I can kick the legs out from under the reader later on in the book,” Doyle told Kim Cambpell. “ Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha has been my most popular book by a long distance, and I was one of those quite convinced that it would not have a hell of a lot of appeal outside of Ireland,” Doyle said during an interview with Karen Sbrockey. When asked by Karen Sbrockey if Doyle was the first Irish person to get the Booker prize and if it was strange, Doyle answered modestly, “ Yes, and it was just pure luck that I won it.” During the interview with Karen Sbrockey, Doyle was asked many questions about his post-writing career, and here are some of the questions and answers. He was asked if ,“In his formative years were music and movies and television more of an influence than reading?” Doyle answered “ No, I wouldn’t say that at all. I went to the movies a lot but I always had a book in me pocket.” When asked if his parents had encouraged him to write, he answered “ Not activley encouraged, but the house was always full of books. I was encouraged to go to university if I wanted.” Karen Sbrockey also asked if he had had any formal writing training, and Doyle answered “ Certainly at the time there was no such thing as a formal writing training course in Ireland.” Karen Sbrockey asked “ Now that you have written five novels, what have you learned about writing?” Doyle answered back puzzled, “ Umm, what have I learned about writing?. I don’t know, I’ll have to answer I don’t know.”
Roddy Doyle describes himself as one of the guys, and a soccer fanatic. He is said to be studious-looking and down-to-earth with both feet on the ground. “He still acts rather like a teacher…” John Rockwell observed.
According to Mary Jordon, “ His favorite authors are American: Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Conner, and Anne Tyler,” writers who, in Doyle’s words, are “ more intrested in the characters than their own cleverness.”
     Truly Roddy Doyle is one of the great Irish writers, one of the new breed of writers who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s.
www.roddydoyle.com
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