An academic child who loved music and reading, Kevin wanted to be a doctor. He loved the science of it, but when, after studying it for three years, the training became more practical, he realised that it wasn’t for him.
“I went travelling for a while and kept a diary of all the places and things that I saw, and after that, I never stopped writing.”
Returning home to the Inishowen Peninsula, he opened a supermarket with his brother.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, and have never felt comfortable anywhere else,” he says. “This made me think of the different ways places exert a pull and a push on people.”
Penny Baps explores this, and examines the fact that a cut off place, like a peninsular is now connected by the internet.
“I’m interested in looking at climate action, and on how to be good in the world right now.”
Kevin wrote a first draft, and then he applied for the Stinging Fly Summer school.
“That week with Mia Gallagher was amazing,” he says. “And Mia later introduced me to my agent, Becky Walsh.”
Who is Kevin Doherty?
Date of birth: 1989 in Inishowen.
Education: Carndonagh Community School; Queens, Belfast. Medicine, but dropped out after three years and got a science degree.
Home: Inishowen Peninsular
Family: Two older sisters and two younger brothers. “We’re all very close.”
The Day Job: Co manager and co-owner of supermarket.
In Another Life: “If I’d stuck at my course, I’d be a doctor now – but that feels strange.”
Favourite Writers: Tolstoy; Beckett; John McGahern; Brian Friel.
Second Novel: “I’m at the thinking stage.”
Top Tip: “Decide what you want the reader to feel, and work towards making them feel it.”
The Debut: Penny Baps. JM Originals: €10.44 Kindle: €9.97
Brothers Cahir and Dan, growing up on the Inishowen Peninsular, have always been a team. But Dan is planning to leave, and the thought frightens Cahir. But he has a plan to do something good, and, in secret, he starts to plant and tend trees.
“I wanted to show how small things can bring about great human emotion and become little tragedies in people’s lives.”
The Verdict: A funny, quirky character, Cahir will win readers’ hearts.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 12th June.
© Sue J Leonard. 2020