The Letters of John McGahern

Letters by John McGahern

Professor Frank Shovlin has been granted unique access to Irish writer John McGahern’s correspondence and was appointed editor of the Faber Letters in May 2015. Already the author of two books on varying aspects of Irish literary culture and several essays on McGahern, his new book, Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style, will be published by Liverpool University Press in 2016.

The Project

This project will see Frank transcribing, collecting and annotating thousands of letters sent by John McGahern from the late 1950s up to his death in 2006.

As well as casting new light on John McGahern’s artistic choices, his reading and his circles of friends, both cultural and personal, the project will act as a literary history of Ireland over the later decades of the twentieth century and will allow readers to learn more about famous literary figures such as Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, Tom Kilroy and the forces that drove them to become the great Irish writers of the period.

In commemoration of McGahern’s death in 2006, Frank was a recent contributor to an RTÉ Radio show on McGahern.

About John McGahern

John McGahern (1934-2006) came to the fore as a writer of exceptional promise in the early 1960s. His second novel, The Dark (1965), became the last great cause celebre of Irish censorship culture as it was banned for obscenity and contributed to McGahern being dismissed from his job as a teacher in a Catholic boys’ school. Undeterred, McGahern went on over the following four decades to produce a body of work which in its quality is unparalleled by any Irish fiction writer of the post-war generations.