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Douglas Kennedy in Conversation with Madeleine Keane BOOKED OUT

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Hutchinson Books present bestselling author Douglas Kennedy in conversation with Sunday Independent Literary Editor Madeleine Keane on Thursday 31 January at 6.30pm in Dublin City Library & Archive, Pearse St. He will talk about his writing career and in particular his latest book The Great Wide Open. This will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing. Books will be on sale at the event. Booking essential

Douglas Kennedy was born and raised in Manhattan and educated at Bowdoin College and Trinity College Dublin. He returned to Ireland in early 1977 and co-founded a theatre company, Dublin Stage One. Eighteen months later he was put in charge of the Abbey Theatre’s studio theatre, The Peacock. During his five-year tenure he began to write – selling his early radio plays to RTE and then to BBC Radio 4. He quit his post at The Abbey Theatre in 1983 to become a full-time writer. He has lived by his pen since then.

Kennedy was a columnist for the Irish Times and, in addition to four plays for BBC Radio 4, had a stage play, Send Lawyers Guns and Money, staged by The Peacock Theatre in 1984.

His first book, Beyond the Pyramids: Travels in Egypt was published in 1988, the same year he moved to London. Two further narrative travel books followed: In God’s Country: Travels in the Bible Belt USA (1989) and Chasing Mammon: Travels in Pursuit of Money (1992).

In 1994 Kennedy’s first novel, The Dead Heart, was published, followed by The Big Picture (1997) – which was an international sensation, published in twenty-two languages and has sold over three million copies. His subsequent acclaimed novels include: The Job (1998), The Pursuit of Happiness (2001), A Special Relationship (2004), State of the Union (2006), The Woman in the Fifth (2007), Temptation (2008), Leaving the World (2009), The Moment (2011), Five Days (2014), and The Heat of Betrayal (2016). He received a WH Smith Award for The Big Picture, the Prix Deaville for Temptation, and the first Grand Prix du Figaro (awarded by that celebrated French newspaper to honour his body of work). Over 15 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.

About The Book:

It’s the middle of the New York 1980s – that moment of Wall Street boom, of Ronald Reagan patriotism, of high times excess and the spectre that is AIDS. On the morning after Reagan’s massive second election landslide victory Alice Burns – a young ambitious book editor – is reading a manuscript about the morass that is family life. The observations resonate with Alice; she has just watched her own family implode and later that afternoon she must visit one of her brothers…in prison.

Flashback to 1971, fifteen-year old Alice is negotiating a disastrous family Thanksgiving at home in Connecticut and so begins a classic, yet highly original, coming-of-age story which follows Alice as she negotiates the bullying horrors of high school, the internecine nature of life in an elite small college, university years in Dublin at the height of the Troubles, and a tragedy that sends her back home into the pessimistic Carter Years and the start of the conservative shift in national sensibility.

An epic tale of heartbreak and self-discovery set against the broad-sweeping canvas of political and cultural change in the latter part of the 20th Century, The Great Wide Open is an addictive and compelling story of relationships, lies and the conflict and pain that only family can inflict. It is also the story of America and the history that has bought us to the culture wars we see in our politics today.

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