John Grogan: Marley, memoir, and a great two weeks at Trinity
Over the past fortnight we have been delighted to have the American writer John Grogan in residence in the School of English and the Oscar Wilde Centre. John has contributed to the MPhils in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature, and an undergraduate module in Creative Writing. He has also given his time generously to public engagement and individual meetings with students, sharing his expertise in journalism and narrative non-fiction. With the latter, he draws especially on his work as a memoirist, in the international bestseller Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog (2005), and The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir (2008).
On Wednesday 3 October, he took part in a public interview with Deirdre Madden, director of the MPhil in Creative Writing. An audience of nearly 200 people came to Trinity for this event and heard John speak at length about Marley and Me, the principles which underpin his practice as a journalist and memoirist, and the different processes of adaptation which surround that book – first, his own process of turning real-life experience into narrative non-fiction, and secondly, his experience seeing his book adapted for the screen into the hit film Marley & Me (2008), which we screened for colleagues and students last week.
It has been an honour for us to work with and learn from John during his time in Dublin, and we are very pleased to have a rich record of his visit in the extensive media interest it garnered. John appeared twice on RTE radio, for interviews with Sean Rocks on Arena [https://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9_21437224_1526_24-09-2018] and Ray D’Arcy [https://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/rteradiowebpage.html#!rii=b9_21440137_19148_01-10-2018]. He spoke about his work on Ireland AM (Virgin TV), in an interview with the Sunday Business Post [https://www.businesspost.ie/magazine/a-dogs-life-426367], and with Norma Burke for the arts programme on the community radio station Near FM [http://nearfm.ie/podcast/?p=28746]. Finally, Trinity student journalists have also been covering John’s visit: Mairéad McCarthy reviewed his interview for Trinity News [trinitynews.ie/life/2018/10/marley-john-grogan-and-me/], and there are further pieces to follow in the TN2 magazine, University Times, and the School of English’s own publication, the Quill.