Steve MacDonogh

Life
1949- ; b. 3 Sept., in Dublin; son of Jack MacDonogh, a Church of Ireland curate and teacher, and Barbara (née Sullivan); ed. Marlborough College, Wiltshire; York Univ.; contrib. to Cosmos; visited New York in the 1960s; fnd. ed. Cosmos at York University; settled in Dublin; set up Irish Writers’ Co-Op Press with Neil Jordan, Des Hogan, and others, 1976; est. Brandon Books, Dingle with Bernie Goggin, 1984; published Jonathan Bloch and Patrick Fitzgerald, British Intelligence and Covert Action (1982);
 
publ. Joan Miller’s One-Girls War (1986) and threated with prosecution in House of Commons; settled suit arising from the ‘Kerry Babies’ trials brought by three gardaí for 100,000; published Gerry Adams in 1987; as president of Clé he developed an Irish presence at the Irish Book Publishers’ Association; long-running best-seller success with Alice Taylor, Home Through the Fields (1988); lost high-court case against RTÉ concerning advertisements for work of Gerry Adams; established Mount Eagle, c.1997;
 
published works by new novelists incl. Robert Welch; issued autobiography Open Book: One Publisher’s War (1999); wrote Barack Obama: The Road for Moneygall (Brandon 2010), a study of Obama’s Irish descent from Falmouth Kearney, a Protestant immigrant to America of 1850 (aetat. 1850), in the footsteps of his uncle Thomas Kearney; d. suddenly, 17 Nov. 2010; survived by his wife Meryem and their daughter Lilya; there was an Irish Times obituary, 27 Nov. 2010. DIL

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Works
Poems, York Poems (York: Cosmos Publications 1972), 24pp.; My Tribe (Dublin: Beaver Row 1982), 56pp.; By Dingle Bay and Blasket Sound (Dingle: Brandon 1991), [illus. Tomaisin O Ciobhain), 77pp.

Miscellaneous, Green and Gold: The Wrenboys of Dingle (Dingle: Brandon 1983), 93pp. ; A Visitor’s Guide to the Dingle Peninsula (Dingle: Brandon 1985), [photo. Pat Langan and Steve MacDonogh, maps by Paula Nolan), 104pp.; The Dingle Peninsula: History, Folklore, Archaeology (Dingle: Brandon 1993; rep. 2000), [photo. Steve MacDonogh, maps by Jack Roberts and Justin May], 256pp.; Open Book: One Publisher’s War (Brandon 1999), 255pp.; How Free Are You? (Dingle: Brandon 2002).

Autobiography, Open Book: One Publisher’s War (Dingle: Brandon 1999), 255pp.

Edited works, ed., [in assoc. with Article 19], The Rushdie Letters: Freedom to Speak, Freedom to Write (Dingle: Brandon 1993), 189pp.; ed., The Brandon Book of Irish Short Stories (Dingle: Brandon 1998), 284pp.

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Commentary
[Shirley Kelly,] interview, Books Ireland (Sept. 1999), pp.207-08: b. Dublin; son of Church of Ireland curate and teacher; ed. English public school; visited New York in hippie days and met Alan Ginsberg, Bukowski, Janice Joplin, et al.; launched Cosmos as a student at York University; translated Octavio Paz at 19; worked as antiquarian bookseller; settled in Dublin; set up Co-op Press with Neil Jordan and Des Hogan, and others; broke up in 1982; est. Brandon Books in Dingle joint-capitalised with Bernie Goggin, the town postmaster; published Jonathan Bloch and Patrick Fitzgerald, British Intelligence and Covert Action (1982); defended entitlement to publish Joan Miller, One Girl’s War: Personal Exploits in MI5’s Most Secretion Station (1986); forced to settle for 100,000 when two gardaí sought defamation damages for their supposed part in Kerry babies case as narrated from standpoint of Joanna Hayes, 1984; published Gerry Adams in 1987; enjoyed long-running best-seller success with Alice Taylor, Home Through the Fields (1988); RTÉ refused to carry advertisements for Adams’s The Street (1992) as breach of Sect. 31; MacDonogh lost the ensuing case in high court; established Mount Eagle independently, c.1997; absorbed Brandon by agreement with Goggin, the latter retiring. [… &c.]

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Quotations
One man’s war: Writing of his experiences with Joan Miller’s One-Girls War, in Books Ireland (Feb. 1987), MacDonogh recounts receiving call from House of Commons informing him that Sir Michael Havers, Att.-Gen. had announced in the House that ‘legal action was under consideration’; speaks of having sought legal advice ‘of the highest calibre’ prior to publication, and concurrent difficulties in circulation of J. B. Keane’s The Bodran Makers; engaged Senior Counsel Hugh O’Flaherty; High Court ruling in favour of the book’s publication, 2 Dec.; reprinted 8,000; High court in London upheld injunction, constraining distribution, 18 Dec. (BI, p.13.)

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Small is ...: ‘I am a small player in the world of publishing, a minute player in the world of business and public life. The large players seek to reduce us all to the level of atomised individual consumers, for the more effective operation of the market. This market they claim to possess the attributes of nature, yet it is an unnatural prison for the human spirit. It is for this reason that the role of independents - whether they be termed mavericks, “alternatives”, rebels or revolutionaries - is important in asserting the primacy of th ehuman title.’ (Auoted Eoin McVey, review of Open Book: One Publisher’s War, in The Irish Times, 20 Nov. 1999; with remarks: the ‘trivia’ deriving from the ‘Dear Diary’ format gets in the way; ‘MacDonogh is a man of many accomplishments, but this book is not one of them.’)

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Wren boys: ‘It is an occasion full of ambiguity: a group of strawboys moving down the street, faces, identities hidden behind high conical headgear, can convey a sense of menace, of vague terror even; and this is not to say that they are not also just neighbours dressed up for the day, for the entertainment, for the crack’ (Green and Gold: The Wrenboys of Dingle, Brandon: Dingle, 1983, p. 89.)

Fairy lore: ‘Primarily the fairies were a central feature of folklore, and their legendary associations were of little importance. Belief in them constituted a means of coping with the unknown, with powerful and dangerous forces beyond control or understanding. Crop failure, blight and death or disease in humans and livestock: people living at a subsistence level were threatened by the inexplicable and attempted by magical means to ward off evil consequences.’ (The Dingle Peninsula, Dingle: Brandon 2000, p.51.)

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