Wednesday 18 January 2017

Gene Kerrigan: A man of his word, who loved the story

Aengus Fanning had only one rule as editor and that was 'don't bore the reader', writes Gene Kerrigan

Published 22/01/2012 | 05:00

In his office one day he pointed to a shelf, at a novel by Colm Toibin, who by then had made the move from journalism into widely acclaimed fiction.

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Terrific writer, Aengus said, but he shook his head and claimed he didn't understand this urge to write books. You spend a year writing a novel, he said, and what -- maybe a few thousand people read it? How could that compare with writing in a Sunday newspaper that was read every week by a million people?

He was being mischievous, knowing I was writing a book at the time. Aengus Fanning's conversation -- maybe a quote from Kavanagh or an argument drawn from a history of European politics -- showed him to be more widely read than most of us. He once harboured thoughts of writing fiction. But at the centre of his working life there was a deep, consuming, uncomplicated love of newspapers.

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