Critic, playwright, and novelist Joseph O'Connor has long been a literary star in his native Ireland. His historical fiction epic Star of the Sea chronicles the chaos aboard a leaky ship voyaging from Ireland to New York during the harsh winter of 1847, and was selected as a Summer 2003 pick in our Discover Great New Writers program.
Read the interview
Date of Birth:
September 20, 1963
Place of Birth:
B.A., University College, Dublin, 1984; M.A., 1986; University College, Oxford, 1987; M.A., University of Leeds, 1991
|Star of the Sea|
From our Editors: "Brimming with exquisitely rendered characters and historical detail, this captivating tale of mystery and murder combines equal parts literary novel, historical epic, and thriller to great effect. With this enthralling tale of a seafaring journey across the Atlantic, Irishman Joseph O'Connor splashes onto our shores, displaying his superior literary talents."
Read an excerpt
|Advice for Aspiring Authors|
|In our exclusive interview with O'Connor, we asked him what advice he'd give to wannabe writers. "I'm uneasy giving advice about writing (or anything else)," he admits, but, if I absolutely had to, if would be the following: Write, write, and keep on writing! Don't talk about it, just do it. Don't even think about it too much. Try to love it. Tell the story you'd like to read yourself. Flannery O'Connor once remarked: 'a certain grain of stupidity is a useful thing for a writer to have.' That's true, I think."|
|An Author's Inspiration||Favorite Writers & Reads|
|The Catcher in the Rye|
J. D. Salinger
In our interview, O'Connor recalls, "When I was seventeen my first girlfriend gave me a copy of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, and the gift of that novel changed my life.... It’s the book that made me want to be a writer myself. In ways, I sometimes think that everything I've ever written is an attempt to emulate the perfection it represents."
In our interview, O'Connor named Roddy Doyle's The Commitments as a favorite, calling it "a book that turned a key for the subsequent generation of Irish novelists." Check out our interview with O'Connor to learn more about his all-time favorite writers and reads, including:
|Photo by Joanne O'Brien||