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Documentary on One

Just As There Are Parentheses Within Sentences, There Are Parentheses Within Our Lives

A look at the life and career of the reclusive Desmond Hogan - an enigma amongst Irish writers.

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4.9/5 (9 ratings)

Documentary maker: Peter Woods

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Just As There Are Parentheses Within Sentences, There Are Parentheses Within Our Lives

First published at the age of 17 he was critically praised from the outset. He won a Hennessy Award and, with Niall Jordan, founded the Irish Writers Coop, which published his first novel, The Ikon Maker (1976).

He moved to England where his reputation went from strength to strength. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Hogan was central to any discussion about Irish writing. But then he began to fade from public view and the story amongst some was that he had disappeared altogether.

This month The Lilliput Press publishes his collected stories - Larks Eggs, New and Selected Stories - and this documentary is a rare opportunity to hear him speak.


Hogan is notoriously reclusive and communication with him has to be conducted by post. He disputes whether he has disappeared and does not see himself as a writer in anything resembling a community of writers.

Much of his life has been spent in transit between one place and another - as if his life were a pilgrimage, in search of some ideal. The ideal is that of a lost world - an amalgam of his parents' memories, his own memories, the southern states of the United States and Eastern Europe, before the wall was torn down.


There is a sense in which Hogan has come to resemble one of his own characters - the characters he would prefer to have doing the talking for him. This is a programme about an important but largely forgotten writer who exists on the periphery of modern Ireland.

Produced by Peter Woods

First Broadcast September 2005

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

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