Wednesday 16 October 2019

Kennelly and daughter to work on official biography

PROJECT: Brendan Kennelly and his daughter Doodle
PROJECT: Brendan Kennelly and his daughter Doodle


Brendan Kennelly and his daughter, Doodle, are to collaborate on an official biography of the world-famous poet.

The joint project comes in the wake of the controversial book about him, Behind The Smile by Sandrine Brisset, which Brendan described recently as being personally hurtful to both him and Doodle.

The book will be written by Doodle with her 77-year-old father's assistance. They will start on the new book next month in Kerry, Brendan's birthplace.

"I'll have to throw myself around in the sea in Ballybunion to shock my childhood memories back", he said.

"I'm delighted with this new project between my daughter and I," added the retired Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College .

"I'm confident that I am the person who knows him better than anyone," Doodle said. "It does seem right that the definitive, official and authorised biography about my father be written by the woman who knows him best.

"And while I am unsure of myself on many, many levels," she said, referring to her well-documented problems with depression (for which she is on medication) and past trauma (she has revealed that she was raped three times in her teens), "there is the one thing I am absolutely confident of: knowing him better than anyone, because he tells me so, every night on the phone."

The 42-year-old mother of three – Meg, 22, Hannah, 16, and Grace 13 – said she was looking forward to spending time in Kerry with her father and her extended family, especially her aunt Ann McAuliffe.

"I've been speaking to my aunt in Kerry and other family and friends. Everyone is so supportive and excited about this.

"It's been suggested many times over the years, by both people who know us and those who don't," she said.

"But I've always shied away from it, especially since I started writing my own memoir. But now that my memoir is nearing completion and ready to be sent off, and given the stress of the last few months it feels like only good and positivity could come from such a project"

Doodle added that the new book means that she'll get to spend more time "with my beautiful father. I will have an opportunity to learn about him, what he was like as a child, a teenager, a young adult.

"As an adult myself, I'll be offered the unique gift of insight into the man who has done such a wonderful job in being my father."

Irish Independent

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