Writer William Trevor discusses the use of Irish patterns of speech in his work.
Although he lives in Devon, William Trevor's work is very much influenced by his Irish roots with many of the characters he writes about using Irish turns of phrase. As such, echoes of Ireland permeate his work. He describes the way the Irish decorate a phrase or make it slightly funnier than a more down to earth English person would.
I take Irish patterns of speech and put them into the mouths of men and women who were born, say in Surrey and this sounds, perhaps, eccentric and odd.
William Trevor feels quite at home in Devon where he sees similarities with Ireland and the people of Wexford or Cork.
Born William Trevor Cox to a Protestant family in Mitchelstown, County Cork, Trevor's family also lived in places like Youghal, Skibbereen, and Enniscorthy. He took a degree in history at Trinity College Dublin in 1950, after which he moved to England. By this time, he was working as a sculptor and it wasn't until the 1960s that he took up writing seriously. His stories are so often set in England that he is regularly thought of as an English writer. However, he sees distinctively Irish patterns in his writings, patterns of speech which seem curious when put in English mouths, but which he deliberately uses as distancing devices.
The way in which people speak is an Irish way.
His first novel, 'The Old Boys', won the Hawthornden Prize in 1964. Since then, he has published six novels and three collections of short stories and received several coveted awards.
This episode of 'Writer in Profile' was broadcast on 24 October 1976. The presenter is Jack White. This was the final episode of the series.
‘Writer in Profile’ was a weekly television interview with a well-known Irish writer. The series was produced by James Plunkett and mainly presented by Augustine Martin. Anthony Cronin was the first writer interviewed, on 9 August 1976.