Niall Williams

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Niall Williams
Born 1958
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Author
Nationality Irish
Spouse Christine Breen
Children 2
Relatives Joseph Breen, brother-in-law

Niall Williams is an Irish author. He was born in Dublin in 1958.[1] He studied English and French literature at University College Dublin before graduating with a Master's degree in Modern American Literature.[1] He moved to New York in 1980 where he married Christine Breen, also a novelist, whom he had met while she was a Master's student also at UCD, and took his first job opening boxes of books in Fox and Sutherland's bookshop in Mount Kisco. He later worked as a copywriter for Avon Books in New York City before leaving America with Chris in 1985 to attempt to make a life as a writer.

His first four books were co-written with Christine and tell of their life together in Kiltumper in west Clare.[1] In 1991 Niall's first play 'The Murphy Initiative' was staged at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin.[1] His second play, 'A Little Like Paradise' was produced on the Peacock stage of The Abbey Theatre in 1995. His third play, 'The Way You Look Tonight,' was produced by Galway's Druid Theatre Company in 1999.[1]

Niall's first novel was Four Letters of Love. Published in 1997, it went on to become an international bestseller and has been published in over twenty countries.[1] His second novel, As it is in Heaven was published in 1999 and was long listed for the Irish Times International Dublin Literary Award.[2] His third novel, The Fall of Light was published in Britain and Ireland, France, Italy and America. His fourth novel, Only Say The Word, was published in 2005 in several countries and his fifth novel, Boy in the World was published in 2007. Boy in the World is dedicated to Joseph, Niall's son. He wrote chapters and sent them to Joseph who was away at boarding school. Niall continued the story in the sequel, Boy and Man. Niall's seventh novel is entitled John. A story about the apostle John who reportedly lived 100 years. The novel explores John's life during the many long years while awaiting Jesus's return. His most recent novel is History of the Rain, which has been long listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. He is at work on several screenplays, including one on his novel Four Letters of Love.[1]

He currently lives in west Clare with his wife and two children. He worked as a mentor for MFA students of Carlow University in Pittsburgh. He was also the writer-in-residence for Co. Sligo, for the previous two years.


  • Four Letters Of Love (1997)[3]
  • As It Is In Heaven (1999)[4]
  • The Fall of Light (2001)[5]
  • Only Say the Word (2005)[6]
  • The Unrequited (2006)
  • Boy in the World (2007)[7]
  • Boy and Man (2008)[8]
  • John (2009)
  • History of the Rain (2014)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Niall Williams - Biography". Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "100 Books chosen for Literary Award". The Irish Times. 10 October 1998. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Miracles Happen". The New York Times. 9 November 1997. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Novel of the week". New Statesman. 5 July 1999. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Sweeney, Eamonn (13 October 2001). "Gaelic revival". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  6. ^ O'€™Neill, Sean; Hamilton, Fiona (16 January 2005). "Fiction: Only Say the Word by Niall Williams". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 30 April 2011.  C1 control character in |last1= at position 3 (help)
  7. ^ "Into the mystic". Irish Independent. 3 March 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "In a realm of higher purpose". The Irish Times. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 

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