McGahern's death prompts sharp rise in book sales

The sales of books by writer John McGahern have increased significantly since his death, it emerged today.

The sales of books by writer John McGahern have increased significantly since his death, it emerged today.

His recently published Memoir has shot back to number one in the Irish hardback non-fiction chart and bookstores have also received extra orders for his earlier books like The Dark and Amongst Women.

Easons book buyer Maria Dickinson said that the public response to his death had been unprecedented.

“I think a lot of people almost want to pay him the tribute of reading his books. Memoir has gone straight back to number one and we’ve had a lot of queries for The Dark,” she said.

The author’s publishers, Faber and Faber, have delivered around 10,000 copies of Memoir in the last two weeks to cope with the demand.

Ms Dickinson said that although interest in authors’ works often increased after their deaths, the sales of John McGahern’s books were far greater than expected.

“It certainly does tend to happen but not on this scale,” she said.

Another leading bookstore, Hughes and Hughes, said it had also experienced a significant increase in demand for all of McGahern’s books.

“We’ve seen a very noticeable increase in sales across the back-list, particularly for Amongst Women and That They May Face the Rising Sun. The Barracks is selling fast as well,” said its book buyer Colm Ennis.

He said he believed that all three books would go into the Irish Top five if more stocks were available.

“The publishers are doing their best to get stocks back into the country,” he said.

McGahern, 71, died of cancer in the Mater Hospital in Dublin on March 30. At his funeral in Co Leitrim, he was widely praised as one of Ireland’s greatest ever novelists for his evocative depictions of rural life.

His 1965 book The Dark was famously banned by the Censorship Board for its references to masturbation and clerical sexual abuse.

It also led to him losing his job as a teacher and he emigrated, spending time in London, Paris, Finland and the United States.

But he spent the final 33 years of his life with his wife Madeline on a farm in County Leitrim, where he wrote Amongst Women, which is considered to be his masterpiece.

He also finished work on Memoir, an account of his childhood and early life that topped the Irish charts when it was published last September.

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