Joseph O'Connor

Joseph Victor O'Connor is an Irish novelist. His 2002 historical novel Star of the Sea was an international number one bestseller. Before success as an author, he was a journalist with the Sunday Tribune newspaper and Esquire magazine.[1] He is a regular contributor to Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) and a member of the Irish artists' association Aosdána.[2]

Joseph O'Connor
O'Connor introducing the Czech translation of one of his books in 2008
O'Connor introducing the Czech translation of one of his books in 2008
Born (1963-09-20) 20 September 1963 (age 57)
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
OccupationNovelist, journalist
Notable worksCowboys and Indians (1991)

Early lifeEdit

Eldest of five children and brother of singer Sinéad O'Connor, he is from the Glenageary area of south Dublin.[3][4] His parents are Sean O'Connor, a structural engineer later turned barrister, and Marie O'Connor.

Educated at Blackrock College, O'Connor graduated from University College Dublin with an M.A. in Anglo-Irish Literature. He did post-graduate work at Oxford University and received a second M.A. from Leeds Metropolitan University's Northern School of Film and Television in screenwriting. In the late 1980s, he worked for the British Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign; his second novel, Desperadoes, drew on his experiences in revolutionary Nicaragua.[5]


O'Connor's novel Cowboys and Indians (1991) was on the shortlist for the Whitbread Prize.

On 10 February 1985 his mother was killed in a car accident.[6] He had the mother of the character Sweeney in The Salesman (1998) die in such a manner.

In 2002, he wrote the novel Star of the Sea, which The Economist listed as one of the top books of 2003. His 2010 novel, Ghost Light is loosely based on the life of the actress Maire O'Neill, born Mary "Molly" Allgood, and her relationship with the Irish playwright John Millington Synge. It was published by Harvill Secker of London in 2010.[7]

O'Connor has been a Research Fellow at the New York Public Library and Visiting Professor of Creative Writing/Writer in Residence at Baruch College, the City University of New York.[5]

In 2014, he was announced as the inaugural Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick, where he teaches on the MA in Creative Writing.[8]

He was a regular contributor to Drivetime, an evening news and current affairs programme on RTÉ Radio 1.[9]

O'Connor's latest book, Shadowplay, published in 2019, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Costa book prize in the Novel category.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

O'Connor is married to the television and film writer Anne-Marie Casey. They have two sons. He and his family have lived in London and Dublin, and from time to time in Manhattan during his work in New York City.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Cowboys and Indians (1991)
  • True Believers (Short Stories)
  • Even the Olives are Bleeding: The Life and Times of Charles Donnelly (1993)
  • Desperadoes (1993)
  • The Secret World of the Irish Male (1994)
  • The Irish Male at Home and Abroad (1996)
  • Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America (1996)
  • The Salesman (1998)
  • Inishowen (2000)
  • The Comedian (2000)
  • The Last of the Irish Males (2001)
  • Star of the Sea (2002)[11]
  • Redemption Falls (2007)
  • Ghost Light (2010)
  • Where Have You Been? (2012)
  • The Thrill of it All (2014)
  • Shadowplay (2019)

Stage playsEdit

Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ "Read Ireland – Featured Authors". Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  2. ^ "O'Connor one of five new Aosdána members". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust.
  3. ^ "Glenageary roots". Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  4. ^ Ciarán Byrne (27 February 2010). "The late Eugene Lambert – neighbour and artist from south Dublin". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b "About Joseph O'Connor". 20 September 1963. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  6. ^ O'Connor, Brendan (17 June 2007). "Sinead's love of her 'devil' mum". Irish Independent. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor". Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Joseph O'Connor appointed to chair in creative writing at University of Limerick". Irish Times. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Reasons to be cheerful: Joe O'Connor sees good in the recession". 20 July 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Review of "Star of the Sea"". Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  12. ^ "Walter Scott historical fiction shortlist announced". BBC news. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  13. ^ "O'Connor to receive Irish PEN Award". RTÉ Ten. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  14. ^ "Shadowplay: Eason Novel of the Year 2019 – Winner". irishbookawards. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.

External linksEdit