Q & A with Joseph O'Connor, writer

Do you believe in God?
“Is the Pope an ex-Hitler Youth member?” 


Would you have liked to be a rock star, like your sister [Sinéad]?
Having toured for a few years on bass with The Who, I kind of got weary of the road, so no.

Which of your books has earned you the most money?
A thing called The Da Vinci Code, an early pseudonymous work. 

Which of your books do you think is the best?
All writers think their current book is narrowly their best. Almost as good as their next one will be.  

Should all writers ensure they have had an unhappy childhood?
If they didn't actually have one, they should see if they can borrow one from a friend.  

Do you rejoice in Fianna Fáil's return to power?
I'm practically weeping with blissful gratitude. 

Did you think of becoming an engineer or a lawyer, as your Dad did?
I admire and love my father but I haven't his analytical skills.  

Which other Irish writer do you most admire?

Your favourite book ever?
The Rough Guide to the Interior of Michael McDowell's Mind.

Your favourite piece of music?
Muddy Waters's ‘Got My Mojo Workin (But It Just Don't Work on You)', Jussi Bjorling and Richard Merrill singing Bizet's ‘Au Fond du Temple Saint', or the Pearl Fishers ‘Duet', and anything sung by the great Sean Keane, the Caruso of Irish traditional singing.  

Your favourite poem?
John Donne's ‘The Good Morrow', John Milton's ‘Sonnet XXIII' (Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint) and Elizabeth Bishop's ‘The Art of Losing'.

Do you believe in God?
Is the Pope an ex-Hitler Youth member?  

For which party or candidate did you vote in the recent election?
A policeman wouldn't ask me that. Unless he was from Donegal. 

Which period of your life has been happiest and why?
Now. Just ‘cos.

Your favourite advertisement?
The Angelus.

Your favourite website?  www.raptureready.com
Do you exercise and, if so, why?
Yes. Because I don't want to die while the Progressive Democrats still exist.

Did you inhale the whacky-backy?

Do you fancy Princess Anne and, if not why not?
Someone once told me in confidence that she's actually won medals for riding.

Were you ever a member of Opus Dei and if not, why not?
I've been a member for many years, recently rising to the rank of Imperial Leather.

“Fianna Fail...”
“...is an anagram of ‘If anal, I fan'.”

Joseph O'Connor's novel Redemption Falls is published by Harvill Secker