Diarmuid Ó Conghaile

An economist, Diarmuid has always had literary leanings.

He started writing in his teens, has an unpublished novel, and studied Kafka in Berlin, having won a scholarship. He met his wife there.

Diarmuid has worked as an economist for 20 years, for the European Commission, various government departments, and for commercial state-owned companies. “I was surprised by Ireland’s economic success. At the time of The Commitments, it was almost a mark of being Irish to fail. I wanted to set the novel during the boom time, but it’s not about the Celtic Tiger. It’s character driven. It was the character of Alexander who interested me. He was in my earlier, unpublished book, but he evolved.”

Who is Diarmuid Ó Conghaile ?

* Date/place of birth: March 1967/Dublin.

* Education: Malahide Community School. Trinity College Dublin: Economics. Masters in Economics.

* Home: Malahide.

* Family: Wife, Anastasia, children Corey, 10, and Beatrice, 7.

* The Day Job: An economist at Dublin Airport.

* Interests: “I love the outdoors. I love sailing, horse riding, skiing, and walking in the hills. I also love spending time with the kids.”

* Favourite Writers: Martin Amis; Mikhail Bulgakov; Philip Roth; Edith Pearlman; Samuel Beckett; Hans Fallada.

* Second Novel: A follow-on novel, set in Dublin.

* Top Writing Tip: Read the sentences aloud. If you can’t, it means the rhythm isn’t there.

* Web: www.facebook.com/diarmuidauthor

* Twitter: @diarmuidauthor

THE DEBUT

Being Alexander; New Island, €14.99; Kindle, €7.24

On the surface, Alexander Vespucci has a conventional enough life. An economist, he lives with his girlfriend, sees his friends, and relates well to his family. Inside, though, Alexander feels he is coming adrift. Is something wrong with him? “Alexander is a drifter. He is self-aware, almost to the point of paralysis. I wanted to write about the big difference between the interior of life, and what we own up to and convey to others.”

The Verdict: A fresh, original debut with a hero to savour. There are echoes of Donleavy at his best.

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