SHADOWPLAY front cover.jpg

Joseph O’Connor’s extraordinary novel SHADOWPLAY has been shortlisted for the Eason Novel of the Year Award and the RTÉ Radio One Listeners’ Choice Award at the 2019 An Post Irish Book Awards. The An Post Irish Book Awards celebrate and promote Irish writing to a wide range of readers. Winners will be announced on 20 November in The Convention Centre Dublin.

See more on the shortlists here:

Readers can vote here:

Harvill Secker published SHADOWPLAY in the UK and Canada in June 2019: it was described as a ‘literary highlight of 2019’ by The Sunday Times and has received rapturous reviews. W.F. Howes published audio in the UK and Dreamscape will publish the US audio edition. Europa will publish in the US in May 2020. Rights have been sold in eight translation markets so far: China (Shanghai Elegant People), Croatia (Fraktura), France (Editions Rivages), Hungary (Helikon), Italy (Guanda), Serbia (Carobna Knjiga), Sweden (Natur Och Kultur) and Turkey (Sia Kitap). A film deal is under negotiation with a major producer.

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.

SHADOWPLAY 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.

And just in time for Halloween, here’s a shortened version of Joseph O’Connor’s introduction to the new Vintage edition of Bram Stoker’s classic:

Photo credit: Vintage Books

Photo credit: Vintage Books

Vintage have also just released beautiful new editions of O’Connor’s historical novels GHOST LIGHT (a haunting novel of love and memory, set in the Irish theatre world), STAR OF THE SEA (his ground-breaking bestseller about the Irish Famine) and REDEMPTION FALLS (another masterpiece which continues the story of some of the characters on board The Star of the Sea, and shines light on the role of the Irish on both sides of the Civil War).

See more on these, including book club guide here:

Praise for Joseph O’Connor and SHADOWPLAY:
‘There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O’Connor is a wonder, and SHADOWPLAY is a triumph.’ – Peter Carey

‘As much as this is a hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly – at times, agonisingly – a story of transience, loss and true loyalty.’ – Sadie Jones, The Guardian

‘Joseph O’Connor is a very great artist and storyteller. The quotient of enjoyment in his extraordinary new novel is stupendous.’ – Sebastian Barry

‘Wonderful. The writing is beautiful.’ – Derek Jacobi

‘A hugely entertaining and atmospheric novel, one can almost smell the greasepaint.’ – Deborah Moggach

‘Seriously fascinating’ – Colm Tóibín, The Observer

‘A virtuoso act of literary ventriloquism. SHADOWPLAY is funny, smart, tender, wise and written with inch-perfect precision.’ – Colum McCann

‘A great writer performing Olympian literary storytelling.’ — Bob Geldof

 About the Author
Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. His books include nine novels: COWBOYS AND INDIANS (Whitbread Prize shortlist), DESPERADOES, THE SALESMAN, INISHOWEN, STAR OF THE SEA (American Library Association Award, Irish Post Award for Fiction, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European novel of the year), REDEMPTION FALLS, GHOST LIGHT (Dublin One City One Book Novel 2011), THE THRILL OF IT ALL and SHADOWPLAY. His work has been published in forty languages. He received the 2012 Irish PEN Award for outstanding achievement in literature and in 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.

Visit Joseph O’Connor’s website

THE THRILL OF IT ALL by Joseph O’Connor nominated for Irish Book Awards' Novel of the Year

Joseph O’Connor’s ‘incredibly moving piece of work,’ THE THRILL OF IT ALL, has been shortlisted for The Eason Novel of the Year 2014, in the Irish Book Awards. The other nominees for the Novel of the Year are ACADEMY STREET by Mary Costello, A HISTORY OF LONELINESS by John Boyne, FROM OUT OF THE CITY by John Kelly, NORA WEBSTER by Colm Tóibin and THE BONE CLOCKS by David Mitchell. The winner is selected by popular vote, here, and will be awarded on 26 November.

O’Connor is also on the longlist for the first ever Laureate for Irish Fiction. Alongside 33 other authors, Joseph O’Connor is being considered for the three year position which carries a €150,000 bursary and will see the Laureate teach at University College, Dublin and New York University. Other nominees include Booker prize winners John Banville and Roddy Doyle, and last year’s Bailey’s Women's Prize winner Eimear McBride.

THE THRILL OF IT ALL narrates the life-cycle of a band, The Ships, from a first friendship between two students at Luton College in the early 1980s, to their rise on the global stage and beyond. In essence, it’s the tale of four people trapped in the dysfunctional family of a band by the whirlpool of their addiction to music. 

Joe’s novels have won prizes including the American Library Association Award, the Irish Poet Award for Fiction, and the Prix Millepages. In 2012 Joe was awarded the Irish PEN Award for outstanding achievement in literature. 

THE THRILL OF IT ALL was recently Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, and was nominated for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize. It is out now in paperback from Harvill Secker.



‘Paragraph after paragraph of brilliance.’ – Guardian

‘What makes this novel such a compulsive read is its extraordinary emotional intensity... an incredibly moving piece of work.' - Irish Sunday Independent

‘O'Connor brilliantly evokes the 1980s...and superbly evokes the struggles of a naive and yet determined band to survive on the road… Don't just buy the book: petition the publishers to release the soundtrack.' – Mail On Sunday Five Star Review