RODDY DOYLE Biography - Writers


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Roddy Doyle was born in 1958. He attended St. Fintan's Christian Brothers School     
in Sutton and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and continued his education at       
University College, Dublin. He worked for fourteen years as an English and           
Geography teacher at Greendale Community School, in Kilbarrack, North Dublin.       
Since 1993 he has been dedicated to writing full-time. He is married to Belinda     
and has two sons, Rory and Jack.                                                     
"Roddy Doyle achieved widespread recognition when his novel The Commitments (1987)   
was made into a motion picture in 1991. Doyle's novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won     
the Booker Prize, Britain's highest literary award in 1993. This novel               
established Doyle as a leading comic writer, earning comparisons to Irish           
humorists such as Sean O'Casey and Brendan Behan" (Encarta). Roddy Doyle is         
intensely private. Those who know him describe the man as modest and unassuming.     
He goes to great lengths to protect his privacy and has stated a preference for     
the quiet family life. He hopes that his celebrity will not alienate him from       
his relationship with the North Dublin suburbs that have provided the               
inspiration for his body of work.                                                   
He is a modest writer and always has time to help out his writer friends             
whenever he can--whether with advice or publications. He has been a book lover       
from a very young age and still holds a strong passion for books and reading.       
His outlook on writing is, "If writers want to write, they want to write, and       
they should be left alone, I am no mentor and I don't think I'd be doing anyone     
any favours if I said,--come on, lets do it this way--we'll leave the cloning to     
the sheep" (Cullen).                                                                 
Roddy Doyle writes rowdy novels, rooted in working-class experience. "Doyle's       
early novels rely very heavily on pure scene, in which dialogue rather than         
inner thoughts dominates" (Keen). His first three novels, known as the Barrytown     
trilogy, focused on the Rabbittes, a family of eight whose lives are a mixture       
of "high comedy, depressing poverty and domestic chaos" (Turbide). As Keen notes,   
"The Booker Prize-winning novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha explores with remarkable       
subtlety the development of a small boy's interiority and empathy, as he             
simultaneously masters language and discovers a new understanding of pain." The     
novel is the most commercially successful Booker winner to date and is now           
available in nineteen languages. Any translator would have a daunting job with       
Doyle's work, though. Written almost entirely in dialogue, his books are full of     
"hilarious slang, colloquialisms, vulgarisms and cursing that is so vibrant and     
charged that it is almost musical" (Turbide). In the past, Doyle's raw portrayal     
of working-class Ireland has received as much censure as praise in his native       
country. "I've been criticized for the bad language in my books--that I've given     
a bad image of the country," said Doyle. "There's always a subtle pressure to       
present a good image, and it's always somebody else's definition of what is good"   
(Turbide). The author's own view is that his job is simply to describe things       
and people as they really are. In Doyle's world, the lives are tough, and the       
language is rough, but beauty and tenderness survive amid the bleakness.