Professor Joseph O'Connor is the author of eight novels: Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea, Redemption Falls, Ghost Light and The Thrill of it All, as well as two collections of short stories, True Believers and Where Have You Been?, and a number of bestselling works of non-fiction.
He has also written radio diaries, film scripts and stage-plays including the multiple award-winning Red Roses and Petrol and an acclaimed adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel My Cousin Rachel.
With composer Brian Byrne he wrote the songs for the dance show Heartbeat of Home (2013). His live stage show with Philip King, Whole World Round, has been presented all over Ireland, in London, and at New York's Lincoln Center, featuring many celebrated musicians as special guests, including Paul Brady, Camille O'Sullivan, Glen Hansard, Eimear Quinn and Martin Hayes. He has also worked with The Chieftains, Jack L and Scullion.
His novel Star of the Sea was an international bestseller, selling more than a million copies and being published in 38 languages. It won France's Prix Millepages, Italy's Premio Acerbi, the Irish Post Award for Fiction, the Neilsen Bookscan Golden Book Award, an American Library Association Award, the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Hall of Fame Award, and the Prix Litteraire Zepter for European Novel of the Year. His novel Ghost Light was chosen as Dublin's One City Book novel for 2011.
In 2009 he was the Harman Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Baruch College, City University of New York.
In December 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin. He received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature in 2012. His novel The Thrill of it All was published in May 2014 by Harvill Secker.
In 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at University of Limerick.
He was guest of honour at the launch of the 2014 One Campus One Book initiative as his most recent novel The Thrill of it All was announced as chosen book for the academic year 2014/2015
How I Write interview
One Campus, One Book 2014/2015 launch, October 1, 2014
Professor Joseph O’Connor was guest of honour at the launch of the 2014 One Campus One Book initiative as his most recent novel The Thrill of it All was announced as chosen book for the academic year 2014/2015.
Professor O'Connor read a few short extracts from the book and members of the audience were also offered the chance to ask Professor O'Connor about his writing process.
How I Write interview
The final event for UL One Camus One Book 2014/15 was a How I Write, Ireland interview.
Professor Sarah Moore conducted a public interview with Professor Joseph O'Connor, in which he discussed his writing processes and habits.
A Q&A session followed the interview, in which the audience could ask Professor O'Connor questions about his writing process.
November 13, 2014
Professor O’Connor was joined by two other award-winning authors, Christine Dwyer Hickey and Colin Barrett, for the second UL One Campus, One Book event.
The event was organised in conjunction with the Limerick City of Culture Visiting Writer Series 2014 and Campus Life Services, UL.
A large audience from across the UL campus and beyond gathered in the Millstream Common room to hear these distinguished authors read excerpts from their latest work. Dr Tina O’Toole from the Department of English, UL, chaired the evening and moderated a lively question and answer session between the audience and the writers.
Caroline Graham of the Limerick City of Culture Visiting Writing Series commented: “We are delighted to bring writers of this calibre to Limerick audiences. Both Joseph O’Connor and Christine Dwyer Hickey have been recently nominated for the Laureate in Irish Fiction, while Colin Barrett has this year won both the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Rooney Prize for Fiction”.
Press release: UL Launches Annual UL One Campus, One Book with Author Joseph O'Connor
Award-winning Irish Author and Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick Professor Joseph O’Connor was guest of honour at the launch of the 2014 One Campus One Book initiative as his most recent novel The Thrill of it All was announced as chosen book for the academic year 2014/2015.
UL One Campus, One Book is a University of Limerick initiative, led by the Regional Writing Centre and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, encouraging all members of the campus community, students and staff, to read the same book and talk to one another about that book during the academic year.
The Thrill of it All by Professor Joseph O’Connor was published in May 2014 and was nominated for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic novel of the year 2014.
Speaking at the event Professor O’Connor said "I'm delighted and truly honoured for my novel to have been chosen as UL's One Campus One Book. It's a book about young students who happen to meet in the early weeks of college and embark together on a great adventure. Since I've just started at UL myself, and since my students and new colleagues are the greatest thing about being here, it's particularly touching and meaningful to me that The Thrill of it All has been honoured in this way."
The event, which was officially launched by Professor Paul McCutcheon, Vice President Academic and Registrar, is the first of a number of campus events involving the book which will take place over the course of the year.
Professor McCutcheon said: “the promotion of reading and effective writing is central to UL’s strategic commitment to delivering a broader curriculum for UL students, enhancing graduate attributes and competencies and increasing their capacity to adapt and respond to the challenges they face in their professional careers.”
The inaugural 2013/2014‘One Campus One Book’ was Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, winner of the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year 2012 and the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year.
Reviews of The Thrill of it All have described the novel as:
“Intoxicating….a love letter to rock ‘n’ roll…incredibly moving” (Sunday Independent).
“Occasionally, you read a sentence that you know couldn’t be bettered: Joseph O’Connor’s new novel is jam-packed with such sentences, paragraph after paragraph of brilliance.” (Guardian).