The 4thcoming series is all about introducing you to our authors. If you’ve ever wondered what your favourite 4th Estate author is currently reading, listening to or what their writing ritual is, then we’ve got all those answers for you. Darragh Martin’s latest novel Future Popes of Ireland is a big-hearted, funny and sad novel about the messiness of love, family and belief.
Name: Darragh Martin.
Occupation: Writer. I also work part-time to teach creative writing to teenagers (with First Story) and to support a creative writing program for survivors of torture at Freedom from Torture.
What you’re reading: The last few books that I’ve loved have been Home Fire (Kamila Shamsie), Conversations with Friends (Sally Rooney) and Exit West (Mohsin Hamid.)
What you’re listening to: I often use music to enter the world that I’m trying to write. So for Future Popes of Ireland, there was a fair bit of Nirvana listening for the 90s sections. Currently, I’m writing something that’s partly set in the noughties, so I’m on a bit of a Bloc Party groove.
What you’re watching: A mixture of documentaries about climate change and reality television about drag queens or baking.
Favourite word(s): Queer. Solidarity. Flibbertigibbet.
Favourite song: Cornershop’s ‘6am Jullander Shere’ usually makes me smile. The closing sequence of Pride – featuring ‘There is Power in a Union’ – usually makes me weep. Robyn’s ‘Dancing on My Own’ always gets me to a karaoke mic.
Living person you most admire: Chelsea Manning.
The trait you most deplore in yourself: Scatterbrainedness.
The trait you most deplore in others: Apathy.
The book you wish you’d written: I’m fairly in awe of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.
The book everyone should read:
Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho’s fragments.
Writing ritual: I try and write for an hour a day. Some days I do a lot more. Many days I fail to even think about writing for a minute. Importantly, I keep a diary to chart all this failure, and it definitely gives the impression of progress.
If you could change one thing about the world: People would be more important than profits.
Think of something beautiful: The great old oak and its neighbours in Bruce Castle Park.
The most memorable sentence you’ve ever read: Many of the stage directions from Suzan Lori-Park’s 365 Days/365 Plays are pretty memorable, but I have a special fondness for ‘The sound of wind or whales forever.’
If you weren’t writing: I’d be teaching. Happily, I get to do both at the moment.
Who would play the main characters in a film adaptation of your book?
She’s already played the Iron Lady, so maybe Meryl Streep could give Granny Doyle a go? In fact, Meryl Streep could probably do all the parts in a one-woman tour-de-force; I’m sure she’d make a great Pope. Otherwise, while we’re dreaming, there’s lots of fantastic young Irish actors who’d be brilliant for all the Future Popes in waiting – Saoirse Ronan, Robert Sheehan, Ronan Raftery, Saoirse Jackson…
Best place to write? Public libraries. Keep them funded.
Future Popes of Ireland is out on 23rd August.