Hall Center For The Humanities


credit: Lisa Ackerman
Joseph O'Neill
Critically Acclaimed Novelist and Author of Netherland

"An Evening with Joseph O'Neill"
Humanities Lecture Series

Tue., Nov. 16, 2010, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Location: Woodruff Auditorium

*Co-sponsored by Kansas Public Radio.

Joseph O'Neill has been compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow and V. S. Naipaul. His most recent novel, Netherland (2008), was described by Dwight Garner in The New York Review of Books as "the wittiest, angriest, most exacting and most desolate work of fiction we've yet had about life in New York and London after the World Trade Center fell."

Born in Cork, Ireland of an Irish father and a Turkish mother, raised in the Netherlands, educated in England, and now residing in Manhattan, O'Neill brings his rich international perspective to bear on the relationship between two immigrants in post-9/11 New York City. A Dutch banker and a Trinidadian small business owner bond over their shared loneliness, being outsiders, and the sport of cricket. As O'Neill explains in an interview with Tom Leonard of The Telegraph, the place of cricket in the novel is anything but incidental. Both characters wanted Americans "to grapple with the alien, namely cricket."

Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books describes the novel as "a 'meditation' on identities both personal and national, immigrant relations, terror, anxiety, the attack of futility on the human consciousness . . . In other words, it's the post September 11 novel we hoped for." Netherland won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was a New York Times Top Ten Book of 2008. Harpo Films, part of Oprah Winfrey's media empire, has purchased the film rights and Sam Mendes is down to direct.

O'Neill writes regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and is the author of two previous novels, This Is the Life (1991) and The Breezes (1996). He is also an accomplished poet and memoirist. Blood-Dark Track (2001), a memoir about his mixed Turkish-Irish background and his two grandfathers who were both imprisoned during World War II, was honored as a New York Times Notable Book. O'Neill has a law degree from Cambridge University, and formerly practiced full time as a barrister in London from 1990 to 1998, specializing in business law.

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