Desmond Hogan

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Desmond Hogan
Born (1950-12-10) 10 December 1950 (age 68)
Alma materUniversity College Dublin (UCD)
GenreNovel, Play, Short Story, Travel Writing
Notable worksThe Ikon-Maker
Notable awardsRooney Prize for Irish Literature
John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

Desmond Hogan (born 10 December 1950) is an Irish writer and sex offender. Awarded the 1977 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and 1980 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, his oeuvre comprises novels, plays, short stories and travel writing.

The Cork Examiner said: "Like no other Irish writer just now, Hogan sets down what it's like to be a disturbed child of what seems a Godforsaken country in these troubled times."[1] The Irish Independent said he is "to be commended for the fidelity and affection he shows to the lonely and the downtrodden."[2] The Boston Globe said there "is something mannered in Hogan's prose, which is festooned with exotic imagery and scattered in sentence fragments."[3]

A contemporary of Bruce Chatwin, Ian McEwan, Peter Carey, Salman Rushdie and a close friend of Kazuo Ishiguro, he has since vanished off the literary scene.[1] In October 2009, he was placed on the sexual offenders list.[4]


Hogan was born in Ballinasloe in east County Galway. His father was a draper.[1] Educated locally at St. Grellan's Boys' National School and St. Joseph's College, Garbally Park, some of his earliest work was published in The Fountain, the Garbally college annual.

After leaving school, Hogan travelled to France, ending up in Paris just after the student riots of 1968.[1] He later studied at University College Dublin (UCD), where he received a BA in 1972 and an MA in 1973.

In 1971 he won the Hennessy Award. The Irish Writers' Co-operative, formed by writer Fred Johnston, Neil Jordan and playwright Peter Sheridan at a meeting in a Dublin restaurant, were to publish Hogan's The Ikon Maker, which was also the Co-op's first publication. While in Dublin, he worked as a street actor and had a number of plays – A Short Walk to the Sea, Sanctified Distances, and The Squat – produced in the Abbey Theatre and the Project Arts Centre. RTÉ and BBC Radio broadcast some of his plays, including Jimmy. He also published stories in small magazines such as Adam and the Transatlantic Review.

Later he moved to London, living in Tooting, Catford and Hounslow and then later as a lodger in the Hampstead home of Anthony Farrell, a young Irish publisher. Friends and acquaintances from this period included: writer Jaci Stephen, biographer Patrick Newley, Kazuo Ishiguro and his partner, Lorna.[1] Hogan also participated in poetry and literature readings held at Bernard Stone's Turrett Bookshop on Floral Street in Covent Garden.[citation needed]

His debut novel, The Ikon-Maker, was written in 1974 and published in 1976. It deals with a mother's unwilling recognition of her son's homosexuality.[1]

In 1977, he was the recipient of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, though this event remained undiscovered in America for several years until the Pittsburgh Press reported the revelation to its readers in 1981.[5] In 1978, he participated in the Santa Cruz Writers Conference. In the early 1980s, Hogan was represented by Deborah Rogers' literary agency, which also had Peter Carey, Bruce Chatwin, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie on its books.[1] In 1980, he won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for his Diamonds at the Bottom of the Sea collection of short stories. In 1981, he appeared in Granta.[1]

In 1989, Hogan left London and was a Hudson Strode Fellow at the University of Alabama. In 1991, Hogan was awarded a place on the DAAD (German Academic Exchange) Berlin Artists' Programme fellowship which enabled him to live in that city. It was in Berlin that he fell in love with Sammy, who has since died, with Hogan moving on to Prague, griefstricken, where he wrote his book Farewell to Prague.[1]

Hogan returned to Ireland in 1995, living in Clifden, County Galway.[1] For a period, he lived in an old caravan in County Limerick along North Kerry/West Limerick border. In 1997, he lectured in short fiction at the University of California, San Diego.

He was a judge in the 2005 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, worth €50,000.

Interested in history, painting, traveller culture, he has used a typewriter since he was a child and finds the modern transition to computers difficult.[6] Suspicious of the telephone, he prefers to communicate using postcards.[1]

Sexual assault[edit]

Hogan was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. The assault happened on November 11, 2006 in a house Hogan was renting. He was given a two-year suspended jail sentence, placed on the sex offenders register, and ordered not to have unsupervised contact with children. The judge, Carroll Moran, made the judgement that Hogan had a “moderate to low” level chance of re-offending. However, Hogan's parole officer, Nora Brassil, stated in an earlier hearing that Hogan saw the assault as “a mutual sexual incident/ relationship”. She was concerned that if Hogan did not see what he had done as wrong, he might re-offend.[7]


  • 1970s: Participated in readings in The Sarsfield Bar, Rutland Street. Limerick. Organised by John Liddy.
  • 26 July 1989: Galway Arts Centre, Galway Arts Festival.
  • 2002: Sean Dunne Literary festival
  • 21–22 September 2002: Annual International Frank O'Connor Festival of the Short Story
  • 8 July 2004. Dublin. Launch of Munster Literature Centre journal Southword
  • 2004: Galway County Library
  • 20 April 2005: Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway (along with Ronan Bennett)


Hogan features in a number of major anthologies of modern Irish literature.

William Trevor included him in The Oxford Book of Irish Stories and Colm Tóibín selected his story "Winter Swimmers" for The Penguin Book of Irish Writing.[1]

He appears in The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing.[8]

He appears in the anthology Best European Fiction 2012, edited by Aleksandar Hemon, with a preface by Nicole Krauss (Dalkey Archive Press).[9]

Another Irish writer Colum McCann, claims that Hogan, along with Benedict Kiely, is one of two Irish writers who have influenced him greatly.

Joyce Carol Oates, an American writer, much admires his story "Winter Swimmers".[1]

According to Robert McCrum, former Literary Editor of The Observer, Hogan is "one of Ireland's finest writers".[1]

Awards and honours[edit]

List of works[edit]


The Ikon Maker

  • Dublin, Co-Op Books, 1976
  • London: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, 1979, ISBN 0-904613-55-0
  • New York: Braziller, 1979, ISBN 0-8076-0929-3
  • London: Pulsiver, 1987, ISBN 0-948849-00-2 (PB)
  • London: Faber and Faber, 1993, ISBN 0-571-16768-3 (PB)

The Leaves on Grey

A Curious Street

A New Shirt

A Farewell to Prague

Short story collections

Diamonds at the Bottom of the Sea and Other Stories

Children of Lir: Stories from Ireland

Stories: the Diamonds at the Bottom of the Sea, Children of Lir

The Mourning Thief and Other Stories

  • London, Faber and Faber, 1987

Lebanon Lodge

  • London: Faber and Faber, 1988
  • London: Faber and Faber, 1989, ISBN 0-571-15313-5 (PB)

A Link With the River. Stories

Elysium: Stories

Lark's Eggs: New and Selected Stories

Old Swords and other stories

The House of Mourning and Other Stories

Travel writing

The Edge of the City: A Scrapbook 1976–91


A Short Walk to the Sea (1976)

  • staged by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin on 20 October 1976.
  • published with Paschal Finnan's The Swine and the Potswalloper, by Co-Op Books, Dublin in 1979.

Sanctified Distances (1976)

  • staged by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin on 9 December 1976.

The Squat (1976)

  • Performed at the Project Arts Centre's Festival, Dublin in 1976.

The Mourning Thief (TV)

  • his first television play.

The Ikon Maker (1980)

  • staged by Green Fields and Far Away Theatre Company, touring UK 1980.
Contributions and introductions in edited volumes, journals, magazines, etc.

in: Kevin Casey (ed.), Winter's Tales From Ireland 2, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1972, ISBN 0-7171-0592-X

"The Birth of Laughter", in Joseph Hone (ed), Irish Ghost Stories, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1977, ISBN 0-241-89680-0

"Southern Birds", in: Granta (1980) 3, ISBN 0-14-014577-X

in: T. J. Binding (ed.), Firebird 1: Writing Today, London: Penguin/Allen Lane, 1982.

"Alan's Novel", in: Robin Robertson (ed.), Firebird 3, London: Penguin, 1984, ISBN 0-14-006797-3

Introduction to Kate O'Brien's, Without my cloak, London: Virago, 1984, ISBN 0-86068-760-0 pbk (also Harmondsworth: Penguin 1987, ISBN 0-14-016155-4 and London: Virago, 2001, ISBN 0-86068-760-0)

"The Tipperary Fanale", in: Judy Cooke & Elizabeth Bunster (eds.), The Best of Fiction Magazine, London: J.M. Dent, 1986, pp. 236–249, ISBN 0-460-02464-7

"Guy "Micko" Delaney" (novelette), in: Robin Baird-Smith (ed.), Winter’s Tales, New Series: 4, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988, pp. 21–45, ISBN 0-312-02480-0

"The cold wind and the warm", in: Alberto Manguel & Craig Stephenson (eds), In another part of the forest : an anthology of gay short fiction, New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1994, ISBN 0-517-88156-X

David Marcus (ed.), Alternative Loves: Irish Gay and Lesbian Stories, Dublin: Martello Books, 1994, ISBN 1-86023-001-6

"Jimmy", in: David Leavitt & Mark Mitchell (eds.), The Penguin Book Of Gay Short Stories, New York: Viking, 1994, ISBN 0-670-85152-3 (republished in 2004, ISBN 0-14-101005-3)

"A Curious Street", in: Dermot Bolger (ed.), The Vintage Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction, New York: Vintage, 1995, ISBN 0-679-76546-8

"Afternoon", in: Steve MacDonagh (ed.), Brandon Book of Irish Short Stories, Dingle: Brandon, 1998, ISBN 0-86322-237-4

"A country dance", in: Colm Tóibín (ed.), The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction, London: Penguin, 1999, ISBN 0-14-029849-5 and ISBN 0-670-89108-8

"The bombs", in: John Somer and John J. Daly (eds.), Anchor Book of New Irish Writing: The New Gaelach Ficsean, Anchor, 2000, ISBN 0-385-49889-6

"Eine seltsame Straße", in: Dirck Linck (ed.), Sodom ist kein Vaterland. Literarische Streifzüge durch das schwule Europa, Berlin: Querverlag, 2001, pp. 175–182, ISBN 3-89656-066-2

"Airedale", in: William Trevor (ed.), The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002, ISBN 0-19-280193-7

Andrew O'Hagan and Colm Tóibín, New Writing 11, Picador 2002, ISBN 0-330-48597-0

"Barnacle Geese", in: Sebastian Barker (ed.), The London Magazine, June/July 2004, ISSN 0024-6085

"Iowa", in: Sebastian Barker (ed.), The London Magazine, February/March 2005, ISSN 0024-6085

"Rose of Lebanon", in: Rebecca Bengal (ed.), American Short Fiction, Issue 33, Winter 2006, ISSN 1051-4813

"Shelter", in: Sebastian Barker (ed.), The London Magazine, February/March 2005, ISSN 0024-6085

"The Hare's Purse", in: Stacey Swann, Rebecca Bengal, Jill Meyers (ed.), American Short Fiction, Issue 38, Summer 2007, ISSN 1051-4813

Further reading[edit]

  • Paul Deane, "The Great Chain of Irish Being Reconsidered: Desmond Hogan's A Curious Street", Notes on Modern Irish Literature, vol. 6, 1994, pp. 39–47.
  • Theo D’Haen, "Desmond Hogan and Ireland’s Postmodern Past", in Joris Duytschaever/Gert Lernout (eds.), History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Literature, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988, pp. 79–84.
  • Theo D’Haen, "Desmond Hogan and Ireland’s Postmodern Past", in Birgit Bramsback/Martin Croghan (eds.), Anglo-Irish and Irish Literature: Aspects of Language and Culture, Uppsala: Uppsala University, 1988, vol II, pp. 137–142.
  • Jerry Nolan, "Travelling With Desmond Hogan: Writing Beyond Ireland", ABEI Journal – The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies, Special Issue No. 5, June 2003.
  • Susan Rochette-Crawley, "'The Awkward Grace of a Legend:' Violence and Transfiguration in Desmond Hogan's The Children of Lir".


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n McCrum, Robert (14 November 2004). "The vanishing man". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 14 November 2004.
  2. ^ Boland, John (5 November 2005). "The who and which of Desmond Hogan". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 5 November 2005.
  3. ^ O'Connell, Shaun (11 October 1981). "Review: Children of Lir: Stories of Ireland, by Desmond Hogan". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 11 October 1981. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ "Writer gets suspended sentence for abuse of boy", retrieved from the Irish Times
  5. ^ McDonough, Tim (2 January 1981). "Irish Tales Have Rooney Angle". Pittsburgh Press. E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved 2 January 1981. Daniel Rooney, whose correct middle initial, by the way, is M, confirmed that his family annually awards a prize of $2,000 to an Irish writer. The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, he explained, has been given for the last seven years to a native of Ireland who must be under 40 years old and writing in either English or Irish. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Eastham, Benjamin; Testard, Jacques (6 April 2011). "Interview with Desmond Hogan". The White Review. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  7. ^ Roche, Barry. "Writer gets suspended sentence for abuse of boy". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  8. ^ Roberts, Diane (12 March 2000). "The Irish tongue speaks with contemporary voices". St. Petersburg Times. St Petersburg, Russia. Retrieved 12 March 2000. The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing is a great buffet of tasty fiction. It covers the past 30 years in short stories and includes work by John Banville, Aidan Mathews, Clare Boylan, Desmond Hogan and Neil Jordan, among others. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ Mackin, Laurence (21 April 2012). "A restless shuffle of postcards from Europe". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 21 April 2012. The reader can play guessing games and try to name the country or language of origin based purely on the prose, although the cliches rarely click into place. That said, the two Irish stories in this book, by Gabriel Rosenstock and Desmond Hogan, share a clipped, brusque pace and a certain measured brutality.

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