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Roddy Doyle

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Belinda Moller (m. 1989)


Roddy Doyle

Working-class Dublin

Man Booker Prize

Roddy Doyle 968fullroddydoylejpg

8 May 1958 (age 66) Dublin, Ireland (

Novelist, dramatist, short story writer, screenwriter, teacher

Alma mater
University College Dublin (UCD)

Notable works
The Barrytown Trilogy, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, The Woman Who Walked into Doors, The Giggler Treatment, A Star Called Henry

Movies and TV shows
The Commitments, The Van, The Snapper, Family, New Boy, When Brendan Met Trudy

Rory Doyle, Ita Bolger Doyle

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, The Commitments, The Guts, A Star Called Henry, The Woman Who Wal

Similar People
Alan Parker, Stephen Frears, Ian La Frenais, Nick Hornby, Joseph O'Connor

Novelist roddy doyle revives jimmy rabbitte

Roddy Doyle (born 8 May 1958) is an Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter. He is the author of eleven novels for adults, eight books for children, seven plays and screenplays, and dozens of short stories. Several of his books have been made into films, beginning with The Commitments in 1991. Doyle's work is set primarily in Ireland, especially working-class Dublin, and is notable for its heavy use of dialogue written in slang and Irish English dialect. Doyle was awarded the Booker Prize in 1993 for his novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.


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Roddy doyle interview

Personal life and history

Roddy Doyle Roddy Doyle Broadsheetie

Doyle was born in Dublin and grew up in Kilbarrack, in a middle-class family. His mother, Ita Bolger Doyle, was a first cousin of the short story writer Maeve Brennan. Doyle graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Dublin. He spent several years as an English and geography teacher before becoming a full-time writer in 1993. His personal notes and work books reside at the National Library of Ireland.

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In addition to teaching, Doyle, along with Seán Love, established a creative writing centre, "Fighting Words", which opened in Dublin in January 2009. It was inspired by a visit to his friend Dave Eggers' 826 Valencia project in San Francisco. He has also engaged in local causes, including signing a petition supporting journalist Suzanne Breen, who faced gaol for refusing to divulge her sources in court, and joining a protest against an attempt by Dublin City Council to construct 9 ft-high barriers which would interfere with one of his favourite views.

Roddy Doyle Joe Wiebe Roddy Doyle

In 1987 Doyle married Belinder Moller, granddaughter of former Irish President Erskine Hamilton Childers. They have three children; Rory, Jack and Kate.

Doyle is an atheist.


Doyle's writing is marked by heavy use of dialogue between characters, with little description or exposition. His work is largely set in Ireland, with a focus on the lives of working-class Dubliners. Themes range from domestic and personal concerns to larger questions of Irish history.

Novels for adults

Doyle's first three novels, The Commitments (1987), The Snapper (1990) and The Van (1991) comprise The Barrytown Trilogy, a trilogy centred on the Rabbitte family. All three novels were made into successful films.

The Commitments is about a group of Dublin teenagers, led by Jimmy Rabbitte Jr., who decide to form a soul band in the tradition of Wilson Pickett. The novel was made into a film in 1991. The Snapper, made into a film in 1993, focuses on Jimmy's sister, Sharon, who becomes pregnant. She is determined to have the child but refuses to reveal the father's identity to her family. In The Van, which was shortlisted for the 1991 Booker Prize and made into a film in 1996, Jimmy Sr. is laid off, as is his friend Bimbo; the two buy a used fish and chips van and they go into business for themselves.

In 1993, Doyle published Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, winner of the 1993 Man Booker Prize, which showed the world as described, understood and misunderstood by a ten-year-old Dubliner living in 1968.

Doyle's next novel dealt with darker themes. The Woman Who Walked into Doors, published in 1996, is the story of a battered wife, narrated by the victim Paula Spencer; despite her husband's increasingly violent behaviour, she defends him, using the classic excuse "I walked into a door" to explain her bruises. Ten years later, the protagonist returned in Paula Spencer, published in 2006.

Doyle's most recent trilogy of adult novels is The Last Roundup series, which follows the adventures of protagonist Henry Smart through several decades. A Star Called Henry (published 1999) is the first book in the series, and tells the story of Henry Smart, an IRA volunteer and 1916 Easter Rebellion fighter, from his birth in Dublin to his adulthood when he becomes a father. Oh, Play That Thing! (2004) continues Henry's story in 1924 America, beginning in the Lower East Side of New York City, where he catches the attention of local mobsters by hiring kids to carry his sandwich boards. He also goes to Chicago where he becomes a business partner with Louis Armstrong. The title is taken from a phrase that is shouted in one of Armstrong's songs, "Dippermouth Blues". In the final novel in the trilogy, The Dead Republic (published 2010), Henry collaborates on writing the script for a Hollywood film. He returns to Ireland and is offered work as the caretaker in a school, when circumstances lead to him re-establishing his link with the IRA.

Doyle's most recent books are the novella Two Pints (2012); The Guts (2013), which continues the story of the Rabbitte family from the Barrytown Trilogy, focusing on a 48-year-old Jimmy Rabbite and his diagnosis of bowel cancer and Two More Pints (2014).

Novels for children

Doyle has also written many novels for children, including the "Rover Adventures" series, which includes The Giggler Treatment (2000), Rover Saves Christmas (2001), and The Meanwhile Adventures (2004).

Other children's books include Wilderness (2007), Her Mother's Face (2008), and A Greyhound of a Girl (2011).

Plays, screenplays, short stories and non-fiction

Doyle is also a prolific dramatist, composing four plays and two screenplays. His plays with the Passion Machine Theatre company include Brownbread (1987) and War (1989), directed by Paul Mercier with set and costume design by Anne Gately. designed by Later plays include The Woman Who Walked into Doors (2003); and a rewrite of The Playboy of the Western World (2007) with Bisi Adigun.

Screenplays include the television screenplay for Family (1994), which was a BBC/RTÉ serial and the forerunner of the 1996 novel The Woman Who Walked into Doors. Doyle also authored When Brendan Met Trudy (2000), which is a romance about a timid schoolteacher (Brendan) and a spunky thief (Trudy).

Doyle has written many short stories, several of which have been published in The New Yorker; they have also been compiled in two collections. The Deportees and Other Stories was published in 2007, while the collection Bullfighting was published in 2011. Doyle's story "New Boy" was adapted into a 2008 Academy Award-nominated short film directed by Steph Green.

Rory and Ita (2002) is a work of non-fiction about Doyle's parents, based on interviews with them.

The Commitments was adapted by Doyle for a manager stage show which began in the West End in 2013.

Awards and honours

  • Royal Society of Literature Fellow
  • 1991 Man Booker Prize shortlist for The Van
  • 1991 BAFTA Award (Best Adapted Screenplay) for The Commitments
  • 1993 Man Booker Prize for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
  • 2009 Irish PEN Award
  • 2011 French Literary Award ("Prix Littéraire des Jeunes Européens") for The Snapper
  • 2013 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards (Novel of the Year) for The Guts
  • 2015 Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from University of Dundee
  • In the television series Father Ted, the character Father Dougal Maguire's unusual sudden use of (mild) profanities is blamed on his having "been reading those Roddy Doyle books again."


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