About John Maher

I was a workhouse waif.’

Well, not quite…

John Maher was born in Ireland and, as a child, lived between small town Ireland, London and Dublin. His first home was in Donaghmore Workhouse (opened in 1853, just after the Famine and converted into a co-op and creamery many years later), where his father had a shop. He lives in his late mother’s, grandmother’s and great grandmother’s town, a few miles from the same workhouse. From here, when he is flush, he travels to Dublin and further afield. He is a published and prizewinning author. Among other prizes, he has won the (first) Francis McManus short Story Award (R.T.E National Radio, Ireland) and the P.J. O’Connor Radio Play Award (R.T.E National Radio, Ireland). He was awarded the Marianne Pallotti Fellowship to the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, California and the Arts Council of Ireland’s largest single literary award, the Lar Memorial Cassidy Award. He is a MacDowell NH Colony Fellow.

His novel The Luck Penny was shortlisted for Book of the Month, on Simon Mayo’s B.B.C. Radio Five. He has won several Arts Council of Ireland bursaries for work in progress. His stories have been broadcast on R.T.E. and B.B.C.

A former teacher and lecturer in Near Eastern Languages at University College Dublin and guest lecturer/visiting research fellow in King’s College London, his doctoral thesis, Slouching Towards Jerusalem: Reactive Nationalism in the Irish, Israeli and Palestinian Novel, 1985-2005 (SOAS University of London) was published in Autumn 2011.

His novel, A Short History of Darkness (2014), is set between a small Irish town and a Druze village in the Western Galilee. His novel, When the Sun Bursts, centres around the story of a mother ‘kidnapping back’ her own adopted child and the story of a Zeppelin commander coming to bomb Dublin, during the 1916 Rising. Much of his writing concerns smaller’ personal tragedies set against greater political ones and those caught in between the two realities.

His thriller, The Collector, is set in contemporary Ireland and is the first in the Lucy O’Hara (detective/forensic linguist) series. The follow up, Bill Frostie Must Die, will be published in 2024.

His forthcoming memoir/travel diary, The Vow (AKA We Are Who We Meet), which details a month-long journey through Turkey, in thanksgiving for surviving ill health a few years earlier, will be published in 2024. It references his multilingual interests and the realisation that ‘the destination isn’t always the one printed on the travel ticket’.

Çatalhöyük, Anatolia