Born in Dublin in 1959, the poet, playwright and novelist Dermot Bolger has also worked as a factory hand, library assistant and publisher.
In 2012 he published his ninth poetry collection, The Venice Suite: A Voyage Through Loss, which commemorated his late wife, Bernie, who died in 2010. He also published his first ever novella, The Fall of Ireland; saw his 1994 stage adaptation of James Joyce�s Ulysses staged in Scotland and Ireland; his latest play, Tea Chests and Dreams, staged in Dublin and received the award for Commentator of the Year of the National Newspapers of Ireland Awards. Also in that year his 2010 young adult novel, New Town Soul was published in German as �Wo Die Verlorenen Seelen Wohnen� and the extensively revised and �renewed� version of his 1993 novel A Second Life was published in French as �Une Seconde Vie� and shortlisted for Le Grand Prix des Lectrices de ELLE.
His many plays include, The Lament for Arthur Cleary (premiered by Wet Paint at the Project Art Centre, Dublin) which received The Samuel Beckett Award for best Debut Play performed in Britain and An Edinburgh Fringe First Award; Blinded by the Light (The Peacock Theatre, Dublin); In High Germany (The Gate Theatre, Dublin & RTE television); The Holy Ground (Gate Theatre, Dublin, which also received an Edinburgh Fringe First); April Bright (The Peacock Theatre, Dublin); The Passion of Jerome (The Peacock Theatre, Dublin). Many of these plays were published by Penguin Books (as A Dublin Quartet) and by Methuen (as Plays 1).
In more recent time Bolger has been involved in a series of plays which were both set in and performed in the Dublin working class suburb of Ballymun, which – as part of its regeneration from a 1960s high rise tower complex into a modern suburb – has the innovative Axis Arts and Community Resource Centre at its hub. The first part of his Ballymun Trilogy, From These Green Heights, received the Irish Times/ESB Prize for Best New Irish Play of 2004. The second part, The Townlands of Brazil, toured to the National Theatre of Poland and the third and final part – The Consequences of Lightning – premiered in 2008. In 2010 his three Ballymun plays were published in a single volume as The Ballymun Trilogy (New Island).
In association with the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper in Flanders and as a writing commission under South Dublin County Council’s In Conext 3 Per Cent for Art Scheme, Axis also staged Bolger’s re-imaging of the life and death of the poet Francis Ledwidge in the play Walking the Road. Ray Yeates � the director of Bolger�s previous Axis plays � took to the stage to become an actor again in the part of Eoin (which he had previously played in New York twenty years before) for Bolger�s 2010 play, The Parting Glass, which was a follow up to In High Germany twenty years on and which has successfully turned in Ireland, the US and Europe.
In 1994 Bolger adapted the novel Ulysses by James Joyce for the stage under the title A Dublin Bloom and this text was revised and reproduced in 2012.
Bolger devised the best-selling collaborative novels, Finbar’s Hotel and Ladies Night at Finbar’s Hotel, which have been published in a dozen countries. These novels were set in a fictional Dublin hotel and each contained seven chapters written by seven different leading Irish writers, although the secret of who write each chapter was never revealed. Finbar’s Hotel had chapters written by Bolger himself, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton, Jennifer Johnston, Joseph O’Connor and Colm Toibin. Ladies Night at Finbar’s Hotel had chapters written by Meave Binchy, Clare Boylan, Emma Donoghue, Anne Haverty, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Kate O’Riordan and Deirdre Purcell.
He has edited many anthologies, including The Picador Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction.
At the age of eighteen Dermot Bolger established The Raven Arts Press, which was one of Ireland’s most innovative publishing houses, releasing debut novels by the likes of Patrick McCabe and Eoin McNamee; debut poetry collections by poets like Sara Berkeley, Matthew Sweeney, Philip Casey, Rosita Boland, Richard Kearney and Michael O’Loughlin; first books by writers like Colm Toibin, Fintan O’Toole, Katie Donovan, Kathryn Holmquist and Ferdia MacAnna; memoirs about hidden aspects of Ireland like The God Squad by Paddy Doyle and Song for a Poor Boy by Patrick Galvin, the first English language translations of such Irish language poets as Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Michael Davitt; and major books by such writers as Sebastian Barry, Anthony Cronin, Paul Durcan, Francis Stuart and Michael Hartnett. In 1992 Dermot Bolger closed down Raven Arts Press and was involved in co-founding a major new Irish publishing, New Island.
He is no longer involved in day to day publishing matters and unfortunately due to time pressures he is not in a position to read or to comment on unsolicited manuscripts or poems sent to him c/o this website.
Bolger has been The Writer Fellow in Trinity College, Dublin, Playwright in Association with the Abbey Theatre and Writer in Residence in Farmleigh House, Dublin. He is a regular reviewer and freelance contributor to various Irish newspapers, including The Irish Times, The Sunday Business Post, The Irish Independent, The Irish Daily Mail and The Sunday Independent and also writes occasional features for foreign newspapers and magazines.
Bolger is a regular reviewer and free lance contributor to various Irish newspapers, including The Irish Times, The Sunday Business Post, The Irish Independent, The Irish Daily Mail and The Sunday Independent and also writes occasional features for foreign newspapers and magazines.
He makes himself available for a limited number of readings and talks each year in Ireland and abroad.
His radio plays for BBC Radio 4 include Hunger Again, The Kerlogue, The Night Manager and The Fortunestown Kid and, for RTE Radio, Moving in and the radio version of his own novel, The Woman’s Daughter, which was broadcast in seven countries and won the Worldplay Award for best script.
For a detailed bibliography click here
For a checklist of Raven Arts Press books click here
To contact Dermot Bolger click here