John Maher

John Maher lives in a small Irish village halfway between the  Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. 

His first home was in the workhouse outside the town where he now lives. In the pantry of the old dispensary where he lived with his parents, British Tommies, during the War of Independence, had inscribed their names and regimental affiliations. It is this sort of mundane reality set against major events that interests him as a writer. Little lives upended by larger events. Along the way, living in London and Dublin, he has been a teacher, lectured in Middle Eastern Studies (Dublin and London), published five novels and a collection of short stories.

His novel, The Luck Penny (2007), based on the historical figure of the Irish Assyriologist Dr Edward Hincks  and set between Victorian London, post-famine Ireland and an imagined, orientalist Middle East, draws on his own studies and experiences and was shortlisted for debut novel on BBC Radio 5. His doctoral thesis (SOAS), was published as Reactive Nationalism in the Irish, Israeli and Palestinian Novel (2012). He has taught in King’s College, London, as guest lecturer and visiting research fellow.

In Ireland, he has won the Francis McManus Radio short story award with RTE and the PJ O’Connor Radio Play Award. Along with a number of bursaries, he has also won the Arts Council of Ireland’s highest award, the Lar Cassidy Memorial Award. He has had residencies at a number of U.S. artists' colonies, including the prestigious McDowell Colony, in New Hampshire.