John McGahern - Author

About the Author

John McGahern was born in Dublin in 1934 and brought up in the West of Ireland. He was a graduate of University College, Dublin. He worked as a Primary School teacher and held various academic posts at universities in Britain, Ireland and America. In the opinion of the Observer, John McGahern was 'Ireland's greatest living novelist'. He was the author of six highly acclaimed novels and four collections of short stories, and was the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship, the American-Irish Award, the Prix Etrangère Ecureuil and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Amongst Women, which won both the GPA and the Irish Times Award, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and made into a four-part BBC television series. His work has appeared in anthologies and has been translated into many languages. His last book, Memoir, was published in 2005.

 

Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on John McGahern...

I am part Irish, and there was much in Amongst Women that appealed to the bit of me that responds to that - the Irish Catholicism, the old patriarchal family structure and the closeness of family, the beauty and harshness of the countryside, and how an intimate story can be told that encompasses a sweeping political backdrop.

Featured books by John McGahern

Other books by John McGahern

The Rockingham Shoot and Other Dramatic Writings

The Rockingham Shoot and Other Dramatic Writings

Author: John McGahern Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/03/2018

Sinclair; The Sisters; Swallows; The Rockingham Shoot; The Power of Darkness John McGahern, the leading Irish novelist of his generation, wrote a substantial number of compelling scripts for radio and television. This volume brings together five of his produced works, at the heart of which sits the previously unpublished The Rockingham Shoot, a dark and powerful play for television that concerns a Nationalist teacher whose attempt to prevent his pupils beating at a pheasant shoot held in honour of the British Ambassador leads to a shockingly violent incident. Collectively, these dramatic works offer an evocative and often stark account of a deeply troubled and divided nation.

Amongst Women Faber Modern Classics

Amongst Women Faber Modern Classics

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/02/2016

John McGahern is widely considered to be one of Ireland's greatest writers, with fans including John Updike, Hilary Mantel, Colm Toibin and John Banville. Often hailed as his greatest work, Amongst Women is a poignant novel of family and togetherness. Once an officer in the Irish War for Independence, Moran is now a widower, eking out a living on a small farm where he raises his two sons and three daughters. Adrift from the structure and security of the military, he keeps control by binding his family close to him. But as his children grow older and seek independence, and as the passing years bring with them bewildering change, Moran struggles to find a balance between love and tyranny. 'A masterpiece . . . It is the sort of book which you can give anyone of any age and know that they will be changed by it.' Colm Toibin

Collected Stories

Collected Stories

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2014

This remarkable volume brings together all of John McGahern's short fiction, fully revised, in a definitive text. McGahern has long been recognized as a contemporary master of the short story; The Collected Stories confirms his reputation as Ireland's leading prose writer.

Love of the World Essays

Love of the World Essays

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2010

John McGahern did not spread himself thinly as a writer. Nearly all of his creative energy went into what was central for him: the great novels and stories that are now part of the canon of Irish and world literature. Yet he spoke out when he felt he had something worth saying and his non-fiction writings are of great interest to anyone who loves his work, and to all those interested in the recent history of Ireland. This book brings together all of McGahern's surviving essays, reviews and speeches. In them his canon of great writers - Tolstoy, Chekhov, James, Proust and Joyce - is cited many times, with deep and subtle appreciation. His discussions of Irish writers who influenced him are generous and brilliant - among them Michael McLaverty, Ernie O'Malley and Forrest Reid. His interventions on issues he felt strongly about - sectarianism, women's rights, the power of the church in Ireland - are lucid and far-sighted.

Love of the World Essays

Love of the World Essays

Author: John McGahern Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/10/2009

John McGahern did not spread himself thinly as a writer. Nearly all of his creative energy went into what was central for him: the great novels and stories that are now part of the canon of Irish and world literature. Yet he spoke out when he felt he had something worth saying and his non-fiction writings are of great interest to anyone who loves his work, and to all those interested in the recent history of Ireland. This book brings together all of McGahern's surviving essays, reviews and speeches. In them his canon of great writers - Tolstoy, Chekhov, James, Proust and Joyce - is cited many times, with deep and subtle appreciation. His discussions of Irish writers who influenced him are generous and brilliant - among them Michael McLaverty, Ernie O'Malley and Forrest Reid. His interventions on issues he felt strongly about - sectarianism, women's rights, the power of the church in Ireland - are lucid and far-sighted.

The Barracks

The Barracks

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2009

The first novel by John McGahern, originally published in 1963. Elizabeth Regan, after years of freedom - and loneliness - marries into the enclosed Irish village of her upbringing. The children are not her own; her husband is straining against his job in the police force; and her own life, threatened by illness, seems to be losing the last vestiges of its purpose. Moving between tragedy and savage comedy, desperation and joy, The Barracks is a novel of haunting power.

The Dark

The Dark

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2008

Set in rural Ireland, John McGahern's second novel is about adolescence and a guilty, yet uncontrollable sexuality that is contorted and twisted by both puritanical state religion and a strange, powerful and ambiguous relationship between son and widower father. Against a background evoked with quiet, undemonstrative mastery, McGahern explores with precision and tenderness a human situation, superficially very ordinary, but inwardly an agony of longing and despair.

The Barracks

The Barracks

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2008

Elizabeth Reegan, after years of freedom - and loneliness - marries into the enclosed Irish village of her upbringing. The children are not her own; her husband is straining to break free from the servile security of the police force; and her own life, threatened by illness, seems to be losing the last vestiges of its purpose. Moving between tragedy and savage comedy, desperation and joy, John McGahern's first novel is one of haunting power.

Creatures of the Earth New and Selected Stories

Creatures of the Earth New and Selected Stories

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/07/2007

McGahern's command of the short story places him among the finest practitioners of the form, in a lineage that runs from Chekhov through Joyce and the Anglo-American masters. When the collection was first published in 1992, the Sunday Times said 'there is a vivid pleasure to be had in the reading of these stories,' while for Cressida Connolly in the Evening Standard 'these wonderful stories are sad and true . . . McGahern is undoubtedly a great short story writer.' Many of the stories here are already classics: 'Gold Watch', 'High Ground' and 'Parachutes', among others. McGahern's spare, restrained yet powerfully lyrical language draws meaning from the most ordinary situations, and turns apparently undramatic encounters into profoundly haunting events: a man visits his embittered father with his new wife; an ageing priest remembers a funeral he had attended years before; a boy steals comics from a shop to escape the rain-bound melancholy of a seaside holiday; an ageing teacher, who has escaped a religious order, wastes his life in a rural backwater that he knows he will never leave.

That They May Face the Rising Sun

That They May Face the Rising Sun

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2006

That They May Face the Rising Sun was the last novel from John McGahern, one of Ireland's greatest novelists. Joe and Kate Ruttledge have come to Ireland from London in search of a different life. In passages of beauty and truth, the drama of a year in their lives and those of the memorable characters that move about them unfolds through the action, the rituals of work, religious observances and play. We are introduced, with deceptive simplicity, to a complete representation of existence - an enclosed world has been transformed into an Everywhere.

The Leavetaking

The Leavetaking

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2006

A day, crucial and cathartic, in the life of a young Catholic schoolteacher who has returned to Ireland after a year's sabbatical in London where he married an American divorcee. As a result he now faces certain dismissal by the school authorities. Moving from the earliest memories of both the man and the woman, the novel recreates their breaking of the shackles of guilt and duty into the acceptance of a fulfilling adult love.

Getting Through

Getting Through

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2006

Stories by one of the outstanding Irish writers of today, author of Nightlines, The Barracks, The Dark, The Leavetaking, The Pornographer, High Ground, Amongst Women (nominated for the Booker Prize in 1990) and That They May Face the Rising Sun.

The Pornographer

The Pornographer

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2006

Michael, a writer of pornographic fiction, creates an ideal world of sex through his two stock athletes, Colonel Grimshaw and Mavis Carmichael, while he bungles every phase of his entanglement with an older woman who has the misfortune to fall in love with him. But his insensitivity to this love is in direct contrast to the tenderness with which he attempts to make his aunt's slow death in hospital tolerable, while his employer, Maloney, failed poet and comic king of pornographers, comes gradually to preside over this broken world. Everywhere in this rich novel is the drama of opposites, but, above all, sex and death are never far from each other.

High Ground and Other Stories

High Ground and Other Stories

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/12/2006

The stories in High Ground are set in ordinary places, in the streets and suburbs and dancehalls of Dublin, the small towns and fields of the midlands, the big houses of the beleaguered Anglo-Irish in the aftermath of their ascendancy, the whole changing country propelled in a generation from the nineteenth into the late twentieth century.

Memoir

Memoir

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2006

This is the story of John McGahern's childhood, his mother's death, his father's anger and violence, and how, through his discovery of books, his dream of becoming a writer began. At the heart of Memoir is a son's unembarrassed tribute to his mother. His memory of walks with her through the narrow lanes to the country schools where she taught and his happiness as she named for him the wild flowers on the bank remained conscious and unconscious presences for the rest of his life. A classic family story, told with exceptional restraint and tenderness, Memoir cannot fail to move all those who read it.

Memoir

Memoir

Author: John McGahern Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/12/2005

The Power of Darkness

The Power of Darkness

Author: John McGahern Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2002

Paul King, an Irish landowner, is dying; his wife is half his age. He has not allowed his wealth to spread ease or comfort. When he dies, his handsome young workman Paul is urged by a cunning mother to move in on the vulnerable young widow. The Power of Darkness reflects a fallen world. The title is a description of the force that drives it; sexual ignorance and the old fear of famine lead to irrational greed, coupled with the need for redemption.

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