Television


About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Eoin Colfer - Author Interview

Friday, 16 October 2009

Eoin Colfer's 6th novel in the ever-more increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, was published by Penguin on Monday 12th October 09, the 30th anniversary of publication of the first book in the late, great Douglas Adams' phenomenally successful series.

Published by Michael Joseph in trade paperback on 12th October and costs €14.99

Eoin Colfer
The much loved writer and former teacher Eoin Colfer was born in Wexford in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father (a primary school teacher, historian and artist of note) and mother (a drama teacher). He first developed an interest in writing in primary school with gripping Viking stories inspired by history he was learning in school at the time!

After leaving school he got his degree from Dublin university and qualified as a primary school teacher, returning to work in Wexford. He married in 1991 and he and his wife Jackie spent about 4 years between 1992 and 1996 working in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. His first books Benny and Babe and Benny and Omar were published in the late 1990s, based on his experiences in Tunisia; they have since been translated into many languages. Then in 2001 his first fantasy novel Artemis Fowl turned Colfer into an international publishing success and allowed him to earn enough to give up teaching and concentrate fully on writing and other projects like film scripts with Jim Sheridan and a song with Eleanor McEvoy.

He says, "I will keep writing until people stop reading or I run out of ideas. Hopefully neither of these will happen anytime soon. He lives in Ireland with Jackie and two sons. Eoin still works from his shed in the back garden.

Eoin Colfer's 6th novel in the ever-more increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, was published by Penguin on Monday 12th October 09, the 30th anniversary of publication of the first book in the late, great Douglas Adams' phenomenally successful series.

Douglas' final book in the Hitchhiker's series ended (as it began) with the complete destruction of Earth. Everyone is dead, which doesn't leave much of an opening for Eoin to start the sixth book in the series. So how does Eoin bring the eternal pessimist Arthur Dent, his alien best friend Ford Prefect and the two headed Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox back from the dead? You'll just have to read the book to find out.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The story of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and the two headed Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox began life as a BBC Radio series in 1978 before moving to print in 1979 and the TV screen in 1981. And with that a cult was born. Now 30 years after the first book and 8 years after Adams' death at the age of 49, people still get excited at the thought of towels, the number 42 and Pan Galactic Gargleblasters!


Eoin Colfer Interview
How did this book come about?
Eoin and Douglas Adams' agents were having lunch and thought about a sequel and that he would be the man to write it.

You are already internationally successful and a much loved author of your own Artemis Fowl series, why did you agree to take on the new Hitchhiker book? Were you reluctant to take on such a challenge? Yes as it is like the Holy Grail for books, but when Adams' wife said she wanted him to write it he agreed.

How can you explain the huge appeal of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?
It is the unusual mix of humour, sci fi and fantasy that broke the ground. Colfer and Adams have that unusual mix in common.

Was it a daunting prospect to begin a sequel when the last book ended with everyone on Earth dead?
Douglas' final book in the Hitchhiker's series ended (as it began) with the complete destruction of Earth. Everyone is dead, which doesn't leave much of an opening for Eoin to start the sixth book in the series. So how does Eoin bring the eternal pessimist Arthur Dent, his alien best friend Ford Prefect and the two headed Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox back from the dead? You'll just have to read the book to find out.

What has been the reaction to your book? Initially a lot of resistance to anyone messing with Douglas Adams creations, but others who said they will defer their resistance to when they read it! So he was fine initially when writing it, far away from the hard core fans, but now more daunted, especially now that it is on bookshelves. Best advice in the words of the Guide is "Don't panic" as Colfer is a big Adams fan and read them from his teen years. He loved the mix of fantasy and comedy.

Who is your favourite character?
Eoin has to bring the eternal pessimist Arthur Dent, his alien best friend Ford Prefect and the two headed Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox back from the dead. He tampered with one of the most beloved characters the 2 headed Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox by chopping off his 2nd head!


Prices / Stockists /Relevant Information
And Another Thing. by Eoin Colfer - Published by Michael Joseph in trade paperback 12th October 2009 priced at €14.99
And Another Thing, music single, The Blizzards, Island Record, October 2009
www.lostweekend.ie - for the Number 42 Hitchhiker special Egg chairs - €15,000

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, courtesy of Walt Disney


The 30th anniversary of Hitchhiker's and the publication of Eoin's new book is a major cultural event and will be celebrated across the world in a whole manner of ways and in different mediums:

Hitchcon'09 Sunday 11th October Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. London's Southbank Centre and Penguin Books have joined forces to create Hitchcon'09: a day of celebration, spectacle and delight voyaging deep into the Hitchhiker's Universe on Sunday 11th October. Hitchhiker and Eoin Colfer fans alike will had the first chance to see, hear and buy And Another Thing.... Hundreds of people gathered at London's South Bank yesterday dressed in differing hues of dressing gown and carrying towels to mark the resurrection of a fondly remembered sci-fi classic. Kicking off at 12pm with The Douglas Adams chat show - a panel of Hitchhiker experts and friends of Douglas Adams discussing the great man and his work - special guests included Clive Anderson, Andrew Sachs, Dirk Maggs and Harry Shearer. At 3pm Eoin Colfer was introduced by Ireland's multi-platinum selling band The Blizzards, playing their single inspired by And Another Thing... followed by Eoin giving an exclusive reading from And Another Thing... and taking questions from the audience. To round the day off at 4.30pm - HITCHHIKER'S LIVE ON STAGE! Simon Jones as Arthur Dent plus the original Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Marvin The Paranoid Android and Trillian appeared in person.

Eoin returns to Dublin on the 16th October and will be signing copies of his book in Easons, O'Connell St on Saturday, 17th at 12 noon

Ireland's multi-platinum selling band The Blizzards have recorded a single also called And Another Thing. inspired by Eoin's book to be released through Island records in October '09.

Eoin Colfer says, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has always had a musical element, from Joby Talbot's iconic score for the Hitchhiker's film to the many bands who have been inspired by the books - Radiohead and Coldplay to name a few. Douglas Adams even jammed with Pink Floyd. I wanted to keep this musical affiliation going so Penguin put out feelers to see if any contemporary acts were Hitchhiker's fans. Quite a few were apparently, but when the list came back I read no further than the first name which was The Blizzards, one of Ireland's biggest bands. Within nano-seconds it seemed Niall Breslin, The Blizzard's singer/songwriter, and I were around a table being all esoteric about lyrics and stuff. The song And Another Thing. is going to be amazing and I am delighted to be associated with it.'

Niall Breslin, lead vocalist for The Blizzards, says, 'To be involved with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy phenomenon is such an honour for us as a band. We have been massive fans for years and are delighted the Hitchhikers tradition is being continued by such an amazingly creative writer like Eoin Colfer. The quirkiness and oddities so prevalent in Hitchhikers and Eoin's style, have a symmetry with The Blizzards' sound. When I finally hunted Eoin down to get the lowdown on what actually happens in the book, our parallel universes connected on an artistic level and we even drafted him in to play percussion on a spaceage china tea set.'

Irish interior design practice Lost Weekend have teamed up with Eoin and renowned Danish furniture designer, Fritz Hansen, to create 42 (the number 42 being, according to Adams, the answer to all the questions in the universe) exclusive And Another Thing . . . Egg chairs. Why an Egg chair? The iconic Egg chair designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958 and manufactured by Fritz Hansen, features in And Another Thing. The 42 individually numbered chairs will feature a unique embroidered exploding earth on the back, hand finished to add to their exclusivity. The front of the chair features a stunning white optical leather seat cushion. Interior design practice Lost Weekend will showcase and sell the chairs from their design store in Wexford, Ireland, Eoin Colfer's hometown. Eoin Colfer will be taking to the road to promote And Another Thing . . . in October 2009. A fleet of Egg chairs will be hitching a ride on his tour bus so if you'd like to see Eoin plus Egg chair at bookshop signings and literary festivals across the UK, US and Canada keep an eye out for further information on www.6of3.com. The And Another Thing.Egg Chair will retail at 15,000 Euros per chair including taxes and delivery, available from Lost Weekend. Visit www.lostweekend.ie.

The Number One Hitchhiker Fan Competition.
Penguin are searching for the biggest Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan in this or any nearby parallel universe to mark the publication of And Another Thing.We're not just talking about someone who can stick their thumb out and get a ride to Basingstoke. We're talking about someone who can cadge a lift off a passing flying saucer . All fans have to do is to prove that they are the greatest Hitchhiker fan on video in no more than 42 seconds, post it on YouTube and tag the video with the words 'sixofthree' and 'AAT comp' and then drop us an email at partsix@uk.penguingroup.com. The video that is deemed by Penguin to demonstrate in the funniest or cleverest way how much of a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan the creator is will be chosen as the winner and showered in exclusive prizes.

www.6of3.com - Penguin launches its official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy And Another Thing. website in September 09.

Eoin will be touring the UK, Ireland, US and Canada signing copies of his books and entertaining fans from 11th to 30th October 09. For further information go to www.6of3.com.

And Another Thing . . . is a publishing event of electro proportions. Don't miss out.


Notes to Editors:

About Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started life as a radio series in 1978 and subsequently became five best-selling novels, the first being published in paperback by Pan Books on 12th October 1979. It was an instant hit, reaching number one in the bestseller charts two weeks after publication and went on to be translated into over 35 languages. Bigger than Dr Who, Star Trek, Battle Star Galactica and Monty Python, by 2000 it had sold over 14 million copies worldwide. It was also remade as a Bafta-winning TV series, dramatized for the West End stage and made in to a film starring Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, John Malkowich and many more. It combines science fiction with comedy and inspired a whole new genre of Science Fiction humour, Red Dwarf being just one example. Hitchhiker's has become a part of the cultural Zeitgeist with phrases such as 'life, don't talk to me about life' and 'life, the universe and everything' a part of our common vernacular. Actor and writer, Sanjeev Baskhar, recently noted on Desert Island Discs that he was a huge fan of Hitchhiker's hence the reason for giving his hit TV chat show the name The Kumars at No. 42. The No.42 being, according to Adams, the answer to all the questions of the universe. Douglas was always unhappy with the bleak ending of the fifth book, Mostly Harmless, and always intended to write a sixth book before his untimely death in 2001.

About Eoin Colfer:
Eoin Colfer has introduced a new generation of readers to the absurdities of life, the universe and everything through his bestselling Artemis Fowl series, in which a teenage criminal mastermind wreaks havoc in this world, the next and any others that happen to be nearby. The Sunday Times has said, 'Colfer has the ability to make you laugh twice over: first in sheer subversive joy at the inventiveness of the writing, and again at the energy of the humour.' Eoin has been a fan of Hitchhiker since his schooldays and said, 'Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world. It is a gift from the gods. So, thank you Thor and Odin.'

- Jacket images and author photographs are available from Cliona Lewis at Penguin Books.

- Pan Macmillan are publishing brand new 30th anniversary editions of the entire Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, with new introductions and additional content, in September 2009.

Eoin Colfer
Archive
Go