A LIMERICK writer, who was the harshest critic of Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir ‘Angela’s Ashes’, claims his latest book has been banned from the shelves of one city bookstore.
Controversial broadcaster Gerry Hannan will be forever remembered — as the man in the yellow suit — who tackled McCourt on the Late Late Show over his depiction of Limerick, in what is considered an iconic Irish television moment.
Hannan has now released his own memoir, ‘When Angels Weep’, an account of Limerick life — from growing up in Garryowen in the 1960s to his younger working days in the Parkway and broadcasting on local radio.
The book, which also gives some insight into his well-documented row with Frank McCourt, has already created a stir in his native city and sold over 200 copies in local shops.
However, Mr Hannan this week expressed disappointment that his book is not available in Limerick bookstore — O’Mahony’s Booksellers.
“Our biggest and best bookstore in Limerick has decided to ban my new book from their shelves for no obvious reason. I have always been a proud supporter of O’Mahony’s and I am devastated that the management has made the decision not to stock my book and thereby censor me in my own native city,” Mr Hannan told the Limerick Post.
“It is always a great honour for any writer to see his work available on the shelves of their own native city and I have memories of going weekly, every Saturday morning, with my pocket money in hand to buy the latest Enid Blyton book, Christmas annuals or whatever writers were the flavour of the season.
“I even recollect dreaming as a child of seeing my books on the shelf of O’Mahony’s,” he admits.
Hannan said that when he approached the management of the O’Connell Street bookshop that he was firmly told that they would have to seriously review his publication and consider whether they wished to carry it.
“I am at a complete loss as to why my work is singled out for review and I do not believe for a minute that every book in O’Mahony’s is read by a staff member before it is allowed to appear on their shelves.
“When I asked why, the only reason I was offered is that the management had received complaints by telephone about my book from anonymous members of the public and was threatened with protests at the door if the book was made available.”
According to the former late night radio presenter, the book was not yet available to the public when he first approached O’Mahony’s, and only a handful of editors had read the book.
“I was told that I had promoted the fact that the book would be available in the store, which is true, without the bookstore’s permission. I shared it on my Facebook page with my friends and followers, anxious to get a copy of my book, that it would be available in O’Mahony’s because I had no idea that there was any animosity toward me or my writings.
“I left the shop saddened because I knew this would be the last time ever that I would put my foot inside the door of what was once my favourite Limerick shop.
“However, I am delighted that my supporters can get my book on Amazon and are buying it in large quantities. I very much regret that this money is not going to a local business but I am powerless to do anything about that,” Hannan concluded.
In response, manger of O’Mahony’s Booksellers Colette Cotter said that Mr Hannan did not ask for their stocking policy despite numerous suggestions from their receptionist to contact them and also to provide his email address for correspondence.
“On Facebook he also alleged that he spoke with a member of staff called Michael to whom he gave a copy of the book. We have no employee called Michael nor have we ever seen the book,” Ms Cotter explained.
“Gerry visited the shop in mid April and I explained to him that we often take books in on a sale-or-return basis and I requested to see a copy of the book, which he refused, and he walked out. The next day I did receive a phone call from him to apologise for his behaviour, and there has been no other interaction between us.
“I am not aware at this time of any interest from members of the public for the book.”