Joseph O'Connor

Agent: Isobel Dixon

Biography: Joseph O'Connor was born in Dublin. His books include the novels COWBOYS AND INDIANS (Whitbread Prize shortlist), DESPERADOES, THE SALESMAN and most recently, SHADOWPLAY. He has also published biography, short stories and has written several successful plays. He is the inaugural Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.

GHOST LIGHT was chosen as Dublin's 'One City, One Book' for April 2011, designed to encourage everyone in the city to read the same book.

STAR OF THE SEA received international acclaim. A number one bestseller in Britain and Ireland, it won the Prix Littéraire Européen Madeleine Zepter for European Novel of the Year, the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune 'Hall of Fame' Award, Italy's Premio Giuseppe Acerbi for New Literature, France's Prix Millepages for Foreign Fiction, and was included on the New York Public Library's prestigious annual 'Books to Remember' list, for works deemed by a panel of critics to be of literary excellence. It was a 'New York Times Notable Book of the Year', runner-up in the readers' poll for 'Best Read of 2004' on British television's Richard and Judy Book Club, and nominated for the International IMPAC Literary Award. Published in dozens of languages, it was the highest selling novel of 2004 in the UK.

‘As I read, I found myself going more and more slowly, because I didn’t want to miss a single sentence. I found myself calling friends and reading passages aloud to them over the phone. This is a rare experience indeed. It is a rare and wonderful book.’ - Michael Cunningham, author of THE HOURS

'A brilliant novel.' - Joseph O'Neill, author of NETHERLAND

'O'Connor writes with such passion, such precision, such beautiful sentences, with such an ear for language.' - Bob Geldof

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SHADOWPLAY  Literary fiction, 320 pages Harvill Secker, June 2019  1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.   Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager’s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.   This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.

SHADOWPLAY

Literary fiction, 320 pages
Harvill Secker, June 2019

1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.

Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager’s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.

This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.

GHOST LIGHT  Literary fiction, 246 pages Harvill Secker, June 2010  Two intertwined love stories, told through a narrative that moves between London and Ireland in the 1910's and 1950's. The doomed love affair between playwright J M Synge and his lover, the actress Molly Allgood is remembered by a now old, poor Molly.

GHOST LIGHT

Literary fiction, 246 pages
Harvill Secker, June 2010

Two intertwined love stories, told through a narrative that moves between London and Ireland in the 1910's and 1950's. The doomed love affair between playwright J M Synge and his lover, the actress Molly Allgood is remembered by a now old, poor Molly.

REDEMPTION FALLS  Literary fiction, 464 pages, Vintage, May 2008  1865. The American Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the famine ship Star of the Seadocked at New York, the daughter of two of her passengers sets out from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a walk across a devastated America. Eliza Duane Mooney is searching for her younger brother she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary.  It's a walk that will have consequences for many seemingly unconnected survivors: a love-struck cartographer, a haunted Latina poetess, rebel guerrilla Cole McLaurenson, runaway slave Elizabeth Longstreet and the mercurial revolutionary James Con O'Keeffe, who commanded a brigade of Irish immigrants in the Union Army and is now Governor of a western wilderness where nothing is as it seems.

REDEMPTION FALLS

Literary fiction, 464 pages, Vintage, May 2008

1865. The American Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the famine ship Star of the Seadocked at New York, the daughter of two of her passengers sets out from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a walk across a devastated America. Eliza Duane Mooney is searching for her younger brother she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary.

It's a walk that will have consequences for many seemingly unconnected survivors: a love-struck cartographer, a haunted Latina poetess, rebel guerrilla Cole McLaurenson, runaway slave Elizabeth Longstreet and the mercurial revolutionary James Con O'Keeffe, who commanded a brigade of Irish immigrants in the Union Army and is now Governor of a western wilderness where nothing is as it seems.

STAR OF THE SEA  Literary fiction, 432 pages Vintage, January 2004  1847, from Ireland torn by injustice and natural disaster, Star of the Sea sets sail for New York. On board are hundreds of fleeing refugees, some brimming with optimism, many desperate, all braving the Atlantic in search of a new home. But a camouflaged killer is stalking the decks, hungry for the vengeance that will bring absolution. A novel as urgently contemporary as it is historically revealing, it builds with the pace of a thriller to an unforgettable conclusion.

STAR OF THE SEA

Literary fiction, 432 pages
Vintage, January 2004

1847, from Ireland torn by injustice and natural disaster, Star of the Sea sets sail for New York. On board are hundreds of fleeing refugees, some brimming with optimism, many desperate, all braving the Atlantic in search of a new home. But a camouflaged killer is stalking the decks, hungry for the vengeance that will bring absolution. A novel as urgently contemporary as it is historically revealing, it builds with the pace of a thriller to an unforgettable conclusion.