A lifelong, avid reader, Tadhg never thought that he could be a writer. After university he worked as a librarian and environmental researcher, starting in Cork City Library, then transferring to Cork Institute of Technology.
“I wrote a novel in the early nineties; it’s sitting in a drawer, but I didn’t write seriously until I signed up for an MIA in Creative writing three years ago, after I’d taken early retirement.”
He’d been working on a crime novel at the time, but in Dublin, he started writing short stories. Many have been published. Then he wrote a story which evolved into the debut.
“The first I wrote was about a father watching the son he had given up for adoption. Then I knew I wanted to write one from the point of view of the son, and of his birth mother. It all took shape from there.”
The First Sunday in September was selected for the Mercier Press Fiction Prize last year, for subsequent publication.
Who is Tadhg Coakley.
Date of birth: 28th May, 1961 in Mallow.
Education: St Colman’s college, Fermoy. University College, Cork. English. University College Dublin, MIA in Creative Writing.
Home: Cork city.
Family: Wife Ciara, and lots of brothers and sisters. “We’re very close.”
The Day Job: Part time as an environmental researcher.
In Another Life: “I’d have been a teacher. It’s in the family. I think I would have enjoyed it.”
Favourite Writers: Elizabeth Strout; John McGahern. Donal Ryan. Anne Enright. Richard Ford.
Second Novel: “I’ve finished the crime novel; and I’d like to write a book of essays on sport.”
Top Tip: “Sit down and write. And stick with it, because it does get better. I write a first draft, and usually have to cut, cut, cut. I’m okay with that.”
Website: www.tadhgcoakley.com Twitter: @tadhgcoakley
The Debut: The First Sunday in September. Mercier Press: €14.99. Kindle: €12.82
It’s the day of the All-Ireland Hurling final. This impacts on all the characters in this novel in stories. There’s Sean, the victorious Cork Captain, Cillian, his losing Clare counterpart. There’s Sean’s birth parents, and there are various spectators, from the hungover Clare supporter to the pregnant English woman hoping to snare her man.
The Verdict: Clever and assured. Packs an emotional punch.
Published in 4th August in the Irish Examiner
© Sue Leonard. 2018