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Voices from a Journal

By: Bill Naughton

Publication Date: November 2000

(1 customer review)


Voices from a Journal by Bill Naughton

With a foreword by Brendan Kennelly.

This is a writer’s journal of his friendships, encounters and observations during the 1950s and 60s, describing relationships with Cork author Frank O’Connor, Patrick Kavanagh, Charles Cape (onetime governor of Strangeways Prison) and the remarkable Margaret Radford, baglady and acquaintance of Shaw, Lawrence and Ford Madox Ford, with her vivid experiences of the Great War. Peopled by the colourful characters met in his profession, Naughton also gives an intimate portrait of a marriage and the onset of death as he survives a coronary thrombosis. Limpid, candid and tellingly written, it delineates the struggles and triumphs of a migrant Irish writer living in the English provinces, with sharp insights into human behaviour.

‘A book of true life recollections by the author sometimes amusing others astounding. He recounts conversations with the people he has met giving a unique glimpse into their personalities and lives. The result is candid, non-judgemental and often surprising his ability to recount minute detail commendable.’ Customer review


BILL NAUGHTON (1910-1992) was born in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo and moved to Bolton, Lancashire aged four, where he remained the rest of his life. He is best known for his novel Alfie which became a classic film of the 1960s and for plays such as Spring and Port Wine. He has written short stories, novels (On the Pig’s Back) and children’s books and three volumes of autobiography, the last entitled Neither Use nor Ornament is in Allison & Busby’s Twentieth Century Classics series. Read more here.

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1 review for Voices from a Journal

  1. Lilliput Press

    “‘Voices from a Journal’ records a number of encounters between Naughton and individuals who made a lasting impression upon him. Naughton, himself a successful author, dedicates chapters in this journal to meetings with well-known literary figures such as Patrick Kavanagh and Frank O’Connor, as well as charting encounters with personal friends and aquaintances. The journal spans a number of decades prior to and including the 1980s and culminates in Naughton’s frank discussion of a severe illness, his resulting brush with death, and the impact this had upon his attitudes and beliefs.
    The tone and style of Naughton’s writing has created and excellent and engrossing piece of literature. In his introduction Naughton states a commitment to both truth and honesty. he achieves this by allowing the voices of the individuals encountered to speak for themselves rather than labouring upon the reader a series of long-winded descriptions and impressions. The result is a deeply personal and intimate journal which is both touching without being overly sentimental, and witty without descending into cynicism.
    A strong sense of the suthor’s affection and fondness for his close friendship group, his native Bolton, and his new found home in the Isle of Man emerges from this journal. The content of the journal reflects Naughton’s good willed nature as well as his love of meeting interesting people, whether they be a down on her luck bag-lady or the eminent writer, E.M. Forster. What unites these seemingly disparate meetings is Naughton’s excellent style of writing and the wit he adds to each encounter. His attention to vernacular and natural patterns of speech reflect the essence of this book and demands and maintains the reader’s attention.
    Naughton’s ability to recondite anecdotes whilst at the same time allowing his many friends their own voice has a profound impact upon the reader. As a result the reader is left with a sense of not only knowing the individuals Naughton encounters, but also with a strong sense of intimacy with Naughton himself. In this respect the journal is a fitting tribute to a very talented, a largely underrated, writer.”

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Weight 0.25 kg
Dimensions 156 × 234 mm
Publication Date

November 2000


Paperback, 240pp