Kevin Maher

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Photograph: Rose Maher

Books

Books

Kevin Maher was born and brought up in Dublin, moving to London in 1994 to begin a career in journalism.  He wrote for Guardian, the Observer and Time Out and was film editor of the Face until 2002, and before joining The Times where for the last seven years he has been a feature writer, critic and columnist.

He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children. The Fields is Kevin's first novel and was shortlisted for the 2014 Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. You can hear him talking a little about it here

His second novel, LAST NIGHT ON EARTH, was published in April 2015.

 

Praise for LAST NIGHT ON EARTH:

“As Last Night races to it conclusion, the story unfolds like an action film with the beating heart of an intellectual rom-com … …. told with tight, witty prose and deeply felt emotion.” Times

Father Ted as imagined by Quentin Tarantino.” Sunday Independent

‘It continues to amaze approximately no one here that’s (Maher’s) follow up- Last Night on Earth, is as wondrous as the first…Maher writes with an exuberance and inventiveness that makes his characters joyous things to behold…the novel is as delightful and challenging as it is heart wrenching and honest.’ Esquire

“The story unfolds like an action film with the beating heart of an intellectual rom-com. Jay’s journey from young man to proper grown-up is told with tight, witty prose and deeply felt emotion.” Melissa Katsoulis, The Times, Pick of the Paperbacks

"Rowdy, compelling … Maher writes most powerfully when he is depicting the big emotions, love in particular – romantic love, filial love, parental love, the love between friends" Guardian

Last Night on Earth… presents relationships in the delicate space between a laugh and a cry… Its narrative crackles with abrupt changes in voice, form, perspective and tense… Paternal love pulses through the pages, and the heartache of trying for a baby and of being a parent as well as loving (and losing) a parent are underscored by detail and wit.” Financial Times

“Revealing and heartfelt … Last Night on Earth thrums with energy … Very funny, unafraid of its emotional core.” Irish Times

‘If all of this seems fearsomely complicated, don’t worry: Maher handles his myriad ingredients with an impressive lightness of touch. Last Night on Earth is an old-fashioned, plot-heavy sort of book, the kind of novel that speeds by in a rush of incident and vividly-rendered characters. You look up and a hundred pages have gone by, almost without you having noticed….Last Night on Earth is a big, warm-hearted book, funny and touching…bursting with anecdotes, gossip, flashbacks, bedtime stories, confessions, jokes, and allusions to movies and philosophers: entertainment, in other words. This is very impressive work from a writer to watch.’ Sunday Business Post

‘[E]xtremely funny… intensely moving…. witty and compelling…’ Daily Express

 

Praise for THE FIELDS:

“Fresh, beguiling and laugh-out-loud funny on every page.” Guardian

"A joy to read." Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life

“I absolutely loved The Fields by Kevin Maher. It's very funny, very moving and spot-on in its depiction of growing up in Dublin in 1984” John Boyne, bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

“Rich in period detail, Kevin Maher’s debut novel captures the spirit of the changing times in Ireland, and convincingly conveys all the exuberance, uncertainty and angst of being a teenage boy; it’s funny and heart-warming... Maher is an engaging writer and this is a hugely enjoyable - and promising - debut.” Daily Mail

“The adrenaline-fuelled Irish prose shifts constantly between the funny and the heartbreaking, the ferocious and the tender — often in the same paragraph — without ever undermining the emotional impact of the central couple’s tangled love story. At times, in fact, the result is not unlike a winningly unhinged version of David Nicholls’s One Day.” James Walton, Spectator

“Funny, moving, compelling and hugely original coming of age story... Don’t miss this brilliant debut from a remarkable new voice” Red

“Brilliantly captures both the humour and awkwardness of teenage years... The character of Jim is the novel’s biggest strength and his dry humour and vivid social commentary... shines through the novel.” The Skinny

‘All the energy and fun of Roddy Doyle’s early novels.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Funny, inventive debut from one of the Times’ own.' The Times

Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2015

Little, Brown

Jay adores his small daughter, Bonnie, and nothing matters more to him than being a good father. But Bonnie's traumatic birth puts an unbearable strain on his marriage with Shauna and the couple eventually separate. Struggling to cope with the separation from three-year-old Bonnie, Jay thinks constantly of his own mother who he hasn't seen since he fled Ireland a decade before.

Resolved to move forward, Jay finds himself a flat-share with two eccentric Kenyan businessmen, snags a role working on a documentary about the Millennium Dome (through 'Dublin Darren', an old laboring contact), and is utterly rigid in his commitment to Bonnie time.

Indeed, things might have even begun to look up were it not for the arrival of an old 'friend' from home. 'The Clappers' is six foot tall, four foot wide, built like several Guinness barrels strapped together, and is all, all woman. She means well, and she means to make everything right for Jay. But inevitably, she makes it wrong.

A helter-skelter dash to Ireland results in some brutal revelations on behalf of Jay's mother, and an inevitable return to London culminates in a midnight epiphany in the shadow of Tony Blair, The Queen, and Auld Lang Syne. Can Jay be a good father to Bonnie? Or is it too late?

2013

Little, Brown

Dublin, 1984: Ireland is a divided country, the Parish Priest remains a figure of immense authority and Jim Finnegan is thirteen years old, the youngest in a family of five sisters. Life in Jim's world consists of dealing with the helter-skelter intensity of his rumbustious family, taking breakneck bike rides with his best friend, and quietly coveting the local girls from afar. But after a drunken yet delicate rendition of 'The Fields of Athenry' at the Donohues' raucous annual party, Jim captures both the attention of the beautiful Saidhbh Donohue and the unwanted desires of the devious and dangerous Father Luke O'Culigeen.

Bounced between his growing love for Saidhbh and his need to avoid the dreaded O'Culigeen, Jim's life starts to unravel. He and Saidhbh take a ferry for a clandestine trip to London that has dark and difficult repercussions, forcing Jim to look for the solution to all his problems in some very unusual places.

The Fields is an unforgettable story of an extraordinary character: Jim's voice leaps off the page and straight into the reader's heart, as he grapples with his unfairly interrupted adolescence. Lyrical, funny, profoundly original and endlessly inventive, it is a brilliant debut from a remarkable new voice.