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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > October 2017 > THE COMMITMENT

THE COMMITMENT

Channel your memories, work hard, but be kind to yourself, Booker-winning Irish novelist Roddy Doyle tells Tina Jackson

Who writes the lives, hopes, dreams, sorrows and failures of ordinary people with greater insight, empathy and humanity than Roddy Doyle? The Booker Prize-winning Dublin writer broke new ground with his much-loved first novel, 1987’s The Commitments and he’s still doing it. His new novel Smile, out this month, is his eleventh. In it, his middle-aged character Victor looks back over formative events in his life. It’s as profound, funny, sad and shocking as anything Roddy has ever written.

‘These things bubble away, but maybe four years ago I was listening to the radio and there was a homeless man, and he sounded, if not elderly, as if he had decades under his belt,’ describes Roddy. ‘He said he looked at people walking past him and they seemed as if they knew where they were going – it was like a secret they knew and he didn’t. It struck me as a brilliant description of a sensation we must all feel at some time. I decided that the next book I was writing, one of the characters was going to say that. That gave me my ending and I didn’t have a clue how I’d get there.’

When we meet Victor, he’s in Donnelly’s pub, trying to get his life together and make friends after a divorce. A man in the pub introduces himself as an old schoolmate. Victor dislikes him instantly, and the memories he stirs up – of his treatment by one of the Christian Brothers who taught him – even more.

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About Writing Magazine

Competition supplement! Over 230 writing competitions to enter up to June 2018, and more than £430,000 in writing prizes! Win! Your book published by Lulu. Write your way around the world - how far writing competitions can take you. Star interview - The Commitment: Roddy Doyle on thirty years at the top of his game. The latest opportunities to get published and see your name in print.

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