Colin Bateman


Life
1962-; b. Bangor, Co. Down; ed. Bangor Grammar School; joined County Down Spectator, 1979; received Journalist’s Fellowship to Oxford University for reports from Uganda, 1990; satirical columnist and winner Northern Ireland Press Award; worked as deputy-ed. to 1996; issued Divorcing Jack (1994), a comic novel burlesquing Northern Irish terrorism and featuring Dan Starkey, a non-loyalist Protestant journalist in Northern Ireland; winner of Betty Trask award, 1994, and succcesfully filmed in 1998;
 
issued Cycle of Violence (1995), a thriller set in ‘Crosssmaheart’ and centring on the rape of a 13-year old girl which triggers a cycle of paramilitary killings and suicides; also Turbulent Priests (q.d.) and Shooting Sean (2001); Of Wee Sweet, Mice and Men (1996), deals with the career of a hopeless heavyweight boxer in New York; Empire State (1997), in which an Irish emigrant become a keeper at the building, kidnaps the President, combats racism, and ends up a hero; Wild Harry (2001), and screenplay of same;
 
issued Shooting Sean (2001), again with Sharkey, is set in Belfast, Dublin, Amsterdam and Cannes; issued Mohammed Maguire (2001); issues Chapter and Verse (2003); Driving Big Dave (2004), another Dan Starkey story, set in S. Florida; issued Belfast Confidential (2005), in which Dan Starkey takes over the magazine of the eponymous title; read at Many Voices Fest. of Literature, with John Connolly, Ballymoney Town Hall, Co. Antrim, 23 Feb. 2007; issued Mystery Man (2009), the tale of a wise-acre bookshop owner drawn into detective work by attractive Alison who finds himself up against a serial killer;
 
Bateman - now publishing under his surname only - settled to Ratoath, Co. Meath, and afterwards at Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin; scripted Murphy's Law, starring James Nesbitt; went on Facebook to report the temporary disappearance of his son Matthew in Belfast, June 2014.

See author website at http://colinbateman.com/
citing the children's titles...

The Day of the Jack Russell subtitled ‘Spooks, Crooks & A Puppy Dog's Tale’; A Prisoner of Brenda (Mystery Man 4) subtitled ‘Curses, Nurses and a Ticket to Bedlam’, and Running with the Reservoir Pups subtitled ‘Eddie the Gang with No Name’.

 
... and this on the Colin Bateman blog
It’s funny how time and memory play tricks on you – when I’m interviewed and asked about getting sacked from my own TV series, Murphy’s Law, I usually say that the reason I was removed was that my version of the character was quite light and funny, whereas the producers wanted to make it much darker. I just happened to stumble across this on YouTube, from my final Murphy’s Law episode – and they don’t come much darker than this!
Bateman blog - 27.06.2014 [online]

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Works
Fiction, Divorcing Jack (London: HarperCollins 1995), 288pp; Cycle of Violence (London: HarperCollins 1995), 267pp; Of Wee Sweetie, Mice and Men (London: HarperCollins 1996; rep. 2001), 333pp.; Empire State (London: HarperCollins 1997), 352pp.; Wild About Harry (London: HarperCollins 2001); Shooting Sean (London: HarperCollins 2001), 256pp.; Mohammed Maguire (London: HarperCollins 2001), 236pp. ; Chapter and Verse (London: Headline 2003), 352pp.; Driving Big Dave (London: Headline 2004), q.pp.; Belfast Confidential (London: Headline 2005), 416pp.; Mystery Man (London: Headline 2009), 412pp.

Screenplays, Divorcing Jack: Screenplay (HarperCollins 1998), 208pp.

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Criticism
Deirdre Molloy, review article and interview, Fortnight (March 1996), pp.33-34 [infra]; Gerry Smyth, The Novel and the Nation: Studies in the New Irish Fiction (London: Pluto Press 1997) [on Divorcing Jack], pp.123-25 [infra]; Ellen-Raïssa Jackson, ‘Gender, Violence and Hybridity: Reading the Postcolonial in Three Irish Novels’, Irish Studies Review, Vol. 7, No. 2 (August 1999), pp.221-31 [infra]. See also Fortnight, 308 (July-Aug. 1993).

Website: Hodder [Headline] have a Bateman website which posts synopsis of titles but no publication dates [link].

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Commentary
Deirdre Molloy
, interview article, Fortnight (March 1996), pp.33-34, records Bateman saying, ‘I’m just not intellectually-minded’, protesting that he never got beyond first chapter of The Third Policeman. He sent Divorcing Jack to Blackstaff in 1992 and received a refusal after six months. It was a runaway success when published in 1995, selling 50,000 by Dec. in UK; now purports to have finished a script called Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett.

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Gerry Smyth, The Novel and the Nation: Studies in the New Irish Fiction (London: Pluto Press 1997) [on Divorcing Jack], pp.123-25: ‘Colin Bateman manages to introduce a comic perspective into the thriller format to produce perhaps the first “comedy thriller” dealing with the “Troubles” [...]’ (p.123.) ‘The underlying message of the text would appear to be twofold. First, there has to be a space within the imagination of Northern Ireland for non-bigoted, politically sceptical, Protestant atheists. In this respect, Bateman's novel can be seen as part of the process whereby the Protestant Unionist tradition is attempting to break free of its image as a narrow reactionary culture and reveal itself instead as a complex and subtle modern identity. Secondly, the novel seems to insist that violence has by and large ceased to be a matter of ideology in Northern Ireland, and that like the gangster films and thrillers which are inscribed into the text at both formal and thematic levels, violence is now just a matter of business. These messages, moreover, are quite obviously linked, for if Divorcing Jack is innovative in its introduction of the techniques of postmodern thriller to the context of [125] Northern Ireland, it is entirely typical in its imagination of a world in which violence is endemic and change is impossible. [...]’ (pp.125-26]

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Ellen-Raïssa Jackson, ‘Gender, Violence and Hybridity: Reading the Postcolonial in Three Irish Novels’, Irish Studies Review, 7, 2 (August 1999), pp.221-31, remarks that ‘the underlying plot of Cycle of Violence undermines any notion of political conspiracy (by any party), pokes fun at the incompetence of the paramilitaries, and exposes the pervasive brutality of communities who accept their presence. Nevertheless, the plot mechanisms of the thriller genre demand a chain of causality supported by some form of mystery or psychological tension, and it is through the traditional chain of clues and coincidences that Bateman leads us to a vision of the cycle of violence which relate terrorism to child abuse.’

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