Professor Joseph O’Connor is the author of eight novels: Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea, Redemption Falls, Ghost Light and The Thrill of it All, as well as two collections of short stories, True Believers and Where Have You Been?, and a number of bestselling works of non-fiction. He has also written radio diaries, film scripts and stage-plays including the multiple award-winning Red Roses and Petrol and an acclaimed adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel My Cousin Rachel.
With composer Brian Byrne he wrote the songs for the dance show Heartbeat of Home (2013). His live stage show with Philip King, Whole World Round, has been presented all over Ireland, in London, and at New York’s Lincoln Center, featuring many celebrated musicians as special guests, including Paul Brady, Camille O’Sullivan, Glen Hansard, Eimear Quinn and Martin Hayes. He has also worked with The Chieftains, Jack L and Scullion.
His novel Star of the Sea was an international bestseller, selling more than a million copies and being published in 38 languages. It won France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, the Irish Post Award for Fiction, the Neilsen Bookscan Golden Book Award, an American Library Association Award, the Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Hall of Fame Award, and the Prix Litteraire Zepter for European Novel of the Year. His novel Ghost Light was chosen as Dublin’s One City Book novel for 2011.
In 2009 he was the Harman Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Baruch College, City University of New York.
In December 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin. He received the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature in 2012. His novel The Thrill of it All was published in May 2014 by Harvill Secker.
In 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.