- 27 Jul 17
In Nick Laird’s latest novel, Modern Gods, one of this generation's finest writers ventures into new territory to examine the stories we tell ourselves to deal with faith, love, grief and death. He talks about cults in the Pacific, the peculiarities of his home country, and why he’s never been afraid of causing offence. Interview Peter McGoran
“When I think back to reviewing books as a 22-year-old pup and slagging off some writer who was in their sixties and who’d been writing for years, I have to laugh at my own arrogance,” Nick Laird reminisces.
A book critic himself in his younger and more vulnerable years, Nick Laird has learnt from experience never to read reviews. After a career of being humbled by teaching the written word, the Northern Irish novelist and poet stands by the dictum first given by Ezra Pound, then later repeated by fellow Mid-Ulster poet Seamus Heaney – “Pay no attention to the opinions of those who have themselves produced no notable work.”
Giving himself the widest possible berth from the opinions of critics, Nick Laird has upped and left his home in New York City – where he teaches a course in Creative Writing at NYU – to holiday in the quiet repose of the Irish countryside (NB: for the teeming hordes of literary paparazzi out there who’ve ever wondered where successful novelist-couple Nick Laird and Zadie Smith spend their summers, it’s in a cottage in West Cork).