Musical Voices & Stories: Richard Balls in conversation with Anne Flaherty

2nd March 2022, 7pm


Featuring a Novel, a Memoir and a Biography

This 3-part series of interviews in which the worlds of music and literature intersect has been specially produced for ICC Digital. The highly successful singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke will discuss his recent novel The Pawnbroker’s Reward which is set during the Famine;  the renowned fiddler Martin Hayes will discuss his memoir, Shared Notes: A Musical Journey;  Richard Balls will discuss his  biography of Shane McGowan, A Furious Devotion: The Life of Shane McGowan.

Richard Balls, A Furious Devotion: The Life of Shane McGowan (Omnibus Press, 2021)

The complete and extraordinary story of Shane McGowan, the Pogues’ notorious frontman, legendary drinker and Irish musical icon has never been told until now. A Furious Devotion: The Life of Shane MacGowan vividly recounts the experiences that shaped one of the greatest songwriters of his generation: the formative trips to his mother’s homestead in Tipperary, the explosion of punk which changed his life and the drink and drugs that nearly ended it.

As well as exclusive interviews with Shane himself, author Richard Balls has secured contributions from his wife and family, and people who have never spoken publicly about Shane before: close associates, former girlfriends and the English teacher who first spotted his literary gift. Nick Cave, Aidan Gillen, Cillian Murphy, Christy Moore, Sinead O’Connor and Dermot O’Leary are on the roll call of those paying tribute to the gifted songwriter and poet. This frank and extensive biography also includes many previously unseen personal photographs.

Richard Balls was a newspaper journalist for twenty years, almost half of which he spent in Ireland. He is an established writer and rock biographer, whose previous books are Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll: The Life of Ian Dury (2011) and Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story, (2014).

Interviewer: Anne Flaherty

A journalist born in London and growing up in County Clare, Anne has worked for The Irish Press in Dublin and The Irish Times in Belfast as well as reporting from Africa and Asia. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and holds an MA in Anglo-Irish Writing from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in Children’s Literature from the University of Surrey.