Documentary on One

JG Farrell: 149 Days in the Life Of

The story of the 2 time Booker prize winning author JG Farrell who tragically drowned while fishing in West Cork in 1979.

JG Farrell: 149 Days in the Life Of

JG Farrell - the booker prize winning author moved to Kilcrohane, Sheep's Head Peninsula in West Cork in March 1979 but only lived there for 149 days before he tragically died.

He was only 44 years of age.

"Had he not sadly died, so young." remarked Salman Rushdie in 2008, " there is no question that he would today be one of the major novelists of the English language. The three different novels that he did leave, are all in their different way extraordinary. "

James Gordon Farrell was born in Liverpool of Irish descent - he gained international literary recognition for his 'empire trilogy' dealing with fall of the British empire. (Troubles, The Siege of Krishnapur and the Singapore Grip.) 'The Siege of Krishnapur' won the booker prize in 1973 and 'Troubles' in early 2010 won the 'lost' booker prize - awarded to works that missed out on consideration due a rule change in 1970. If the rules had not been changed - Farrell would have been the first author to win the prize twice.

In March 1979, JG Farrell moved from London to Kilcrohane, an hours drive from Bantry in West Cork. He bought a house which he began to renovate. Over this time, he got to know and became friends with some of the locals in Sheep's Head Peninsula. Friends visited from London and despite a postal strike, petrol rationing and the lack of a telephone, Farrell took to life in rural Ireland. He was happy.

On August 11th 1979, JG Farrell tragically drowned while fishing on rocks, as a storm erupted at sea. His body was recovered four weeks later the other side of the bay.

JG Farrell: 149 Days in the Life Of - using interviews of neighbours, family and friends - tells the story of those 149 days in the life of JG Farrell.

Produced by Ciaran Cassidy.

Extracts taken from 'JG Farrell: In his Own Words. Selected letters and Diaries.' edited by Lavinia Greacen published by Cork University Press.

First broadcast 18th December 2010 @ 6pm.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

Documentary maker: Ciaran Cassidy

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