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Roddy Doyle Has Spoken About What It's Like To Write Roy Keane's Autobiography

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Roddy Doyle was announced backed in January as the surprise choice to ghostwrite Roy Keane's second autobiography, 'The Second Half'.

The author of The Commitments, The Snapper and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha was on Radio One with Sean O'Rourke this morning to talk about his new children's book, 'Brilliant'. Before they got into that though, the two discussed the Roy Keane project which Doyle revealed is due for delivery to the publishers in a month's time.

It's coming along well. I can't talk much about it, I don't want to really, it's not superstition but I hate talking about things that haven't quite been written yet. I am up against a fierce deadline but that to me is kind of refreshing cause it's the first time I've ever worked in this way before. I'd always paddled my own canoe. I've never been contractually obliged to do anything for anybody, I've always been you know, very independent.

So I started working, I think late January was the first time we met and we've been charging through it ever since. I have to hand it in next month. So yeah it is a pretty intense deadline. It's going very well, I'm enjoying it. It's a seven day week though.

Doyle says that it all came about when he got an email from a publisher.

I can only talk about how it came about from my point of view. I got an email, an invitation from a publisher asking would I be interested in writing a book with Roy Keane.

I gave it some thought as to 'did I want to do it?', 'would I be any good at it?', you know reasonable questions. The fact that I wasn't a sports journalist, 'was that an advantage?' The fact that I wasn't a Manchester United supporter, 'would that be an advantage?'

So I gave it some thought and said yeah I would be interested. I don't know why my name was thrown into the bucket.


He then opened up a little bit on their writing process.

We meet very regularly and we go through stuff for about four hour sessions. We go back over things again and again. And again.

I think the spark in the book will be in the going back over things. We go through passages and chapters line by line and I make changes. It's very much the two of us working together.

Doyle also said that it will be a traditional ghostwritten autobiography.

Oh yeah. It will be in that traditional sense or that literal sense it will be ghostwritten in so far as my hope would be that myself as a presence would be non-existent, that I won't be there at all.

When asked by O'Rourke if there would be some big reveal in the book, Doyle responded by saying that wasn't really what he was interested in.

It wouldn't be why I'd sit down and write the book to be honest with you. It's not what I'd be interested in finding. I'm much more interested in the personality really and the events, the events carry the personality I think. I find I'm interested in the personality.

Finally, Sean O'Rourke broached the question of whether the two had become friends during the process. Keane's ghostwriter was a little vague.


I enjoy the sessions is as much as I'd say. I enjoy them.

Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE


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