Alumni Spotlight

Tadhg Coakley - Author

13 Aug
Tadhg Coakley

Tadhg Coakley is a Mallow-born writer and the author of 'The First Sunday in September', his debut novel which is launched this week. The book tells the story of a fictional All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday when Clare play Cork. Award-winning author, Donal Ryan said about it: ‘the stories are vibrant and authentic, brimming with the intensity and the desire and the triumphs and failures that make sporting occasions such a sublime allegory for our human condition’. Tadhg is currently completing a contemporary literary crime novel set in Cork and has just begun a book of essays on sport. We talk to him about his time at UCC.

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation
MA in Creative Writing, graduated 2017

Best memory of University College Cork
Apart from the day of graduation, having a short story published in Quarryman, the UCC Literary Journal.

How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
Without the MA and the year of writing in UCC, I would not have written my book, let alone had it published. The course is rigorous but provides a safe space for any aspiring writer, whatever their genre or writing mode. The Faculty is supportive and the community of writing classmates is an essential tool for honing the craft. I began the book in one of the course modules and continued to develop it as part of my dissertation.

What is your advice to current UCC students?
Don’t worry about the end goal, just continue to work and to enjoy your time in college. Finish what you start, do the best you can, keep turning up, make and retain friends, get involved. These are the best years of your life. Keep working, keep moving forward – you’ll get there!

What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
The author and lecturer, Mary Morrissy, is Associate Director of Creative Writing in UCC and she had a massive influence on me. She taught me four fiction/prose related modules and it was in her Fiction Workshop module that my book began, as a single short story. Her support and mentoring was invaluable, as was that of my dissertation supervisor, Madeleine D’Arcy.

Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
As a much younger man in UCC many years ago I was heavily involved in the Hurling Club but this time around, unfortunately, I’m far too old for that. As an MA course work-placement, I worked on the UCC Quarryman journal which is produced by the excellent UCC English Society, and I would recommend that anybody who is interested in literature or writing join that society and actively support it.

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