'The Column I Never Wrote' by John Masterson
The book and the business....
John Masterson’s memoir opens with the lines:
It’s not your child.
I was nineteen. My pregnant seventeen-year-old wife of five days was lying beside me in my childhood home. My parents were asleep across the hall.
As time progressed it became clear that some of the congregation in the church on the wedding day had known the truth and remained silent. This deeply moving story, imbued with compassion, reveals much more than the events which surrounded Masterson’s life at that time.
The book, at 112 pages, is short and hasn’t a trace of bitterness or resentment.
An academic psychologist, John offers the reader an opportunity to consider some of life’s essential questions. How did I become who I am? What are the significant psychological events in my own life? How have these shaped me?
Set in ‘70s Ireland, the memoir takes place against a backdrop of religious and societal expectations and divisions. Masterson’s ability to articulate his inner world acts as a mirror for the reader. A truly enthralling read.
The Column I Never Wrote is a slim book, full of fascinating and fertile ideas – explorations of memory, of identity, of psychological suffering, of the stories we tell ourselves and the ways those stories can affect what we choose to do and be.
Emily Hourican, Sunday Independent
Katie Jacques produced an audio book of The Column I Never Wrote (available now on our website.) I spent several hours absorbed again in the story as I listened before it went out. The deep mahogany tones of John Masterson are very easy to listen to.
We had two launches for John Masterson’s book. The first, in The Kilkenny Book Centre, a gorgeous evening which felt especially significant given the story is set in Kilkenny. I was struck by John’s courage as he stood in front of his home audience and spoke of his early marriage.
The Kilkenny Book Centre staff were hugely supportive and the window display, coupled with the launch, did sell books. I love the cover of John’s book (thanks Faye Tucker).
We did ask a couple of book sellers for their opinions about the jacket. If you are thinking about covers, do browse the bookshops and consider a design that will catch your eye on the shelf. This will change according to what’s in fashion.
Kilkenny Arts Office has been instrumental in getting this book to print. John was fortunate to receive an individual arts grant. If you live in Kilkenny, you can access their wonderful literature programme. Details on the Arts Office website.
KCLR gave the book tremendous support and we are very grateful to them. (Link to John’s interview with Eimear Ni Bhraonain below)
The second launch was in House, Dublin. The previous time we were in House was after the Leonard Cohen requiem, Between Your Love and Mine, in the National Concert Hall in 2019. Happy memories of a full house and a relaxed after-party.
Marty Whelan launched The Column I Never Wrote, in House. He really was a joy to meet. My brother, Micheál, is a huge fan of Marty in the Morning and loves Marty’s sense of humour.
I did a double take when I saw Brian Redmond in the crowd or rather over the crowd. It was a memorable night and I have the fan photos to show for it.
We don’t have a card-reader and very few people carry cash anymore. We invited Woodbine Books, Kilcullen to take care of book sales on the night and things ran very smoothly.
We recently discovered Downton Abbey and were pretty impressed when Maria Doyle Kennedy tweeted favourably about The Column I Never Wrote.
John Masterson’s book is one I’ve heard myself quoting from regularly.
If you are going through an existential crisis, it is probably best to leave infinity alone.
The Column I Never Wrote, was reviewed in the Sunday Independent and John wrote a feature for that same paper. Several book shops, that we hadn’t previously worked with, have been in touch and ordered copies for their customers. The book is finding its way into bookshops and into the hands of readers in Sligo, Kerry, Cork, Wicklow, Dublin, Kildare and of course Kilkenny.
We also use the Author’s Republic website for our audiobooks.