Whilst at UCD Karl wrote for university papers, and afterwards he did some freelance journalism for The Guardian and the Irish Times.
“My articles were often about Dublin. I wanted to write something from a new perspective reflecting the city a bit more.”
In 2002, studying modernism and the University of East Anglia.
“That’s where I began thinking about writing. Mixing with the creative writers, the seminars on criticism stuck with me. I was influenced by narrative non-fiction published in the New Yorker.”
Karl worked in various jobs, teaching as part of his PhD, and working as a researcher at South Dublin library. He started working on the book in 2010, and the following year sent a proposal to publishers and agents.
“I had no response, so I sent a section to Brendan Barrington, an editor at Penguin Ireland who also edits the Dublin Review. I wrote several articles for the Dublin Review, then Brendan asked for a book proposal.”
Who Is Karl Whitney?
Date of Birth: 25th July 1978 in Tallaght.
Education: Rockbrook, Rathfarnham, then Ashfield College. UCD English and History. University of East Anglia, Masters in Modernism, UCD PhD.
Home: Sunderland, near Newcastle.
Family: Parents Tom and May, brother Warren, girlfriend, Laura.
The Day Job: Writing; and teaching An Introduction to Literature at Sunderland University.
Interests: film. Cinema, cycling, running.
Favourite Writers: Flann O’Brien; and influences include John McFee, Ian Frazier, Mike Davis, and Erik Hazam.
Second Book: I’m thinking of one, trying to discern if its to be based single place or more travel based.
Top Writing Tip: Be persistent, and keep it to yourself in the early stages. Early criticism may not be useful. It can put you off. Believe in what you’re doing, becoming good takes time.
Web: www.karlwhitney.com Twitter: @karlwhitney
Hidden City. Adventures and Explorations in Dublin. Penguin Ireland: €21.44. Kindle: €8.82.
Travelling around Dublin by bus, tram, bicycle and on foot, Karl seeks out secret places and untold stories. He follows Joyce – searching for all his addresses; he looks at deprived areas, at the suburbs and he goes underground in the Liberties. The reader journeys with him, seeing Dublin’s heritage in a new way.
The Verdict: An inspirational book; one to use as a guide, savour and reread
Interviewed by Sue Leonard
Published in The Irish Examiner on 13th November 2014