Andrew O'Hagan, FRSL is a Scottish novelist and non-fiction author. He is also an Editor-at-Large of London Review of Books and Esquire Magazine. O'Hagan is currently the Visiting Professor of Writing at King's College London.
Three of O'Hagan’s novels have been nominated for the Booker Prize for Fiction. He was selected by the literary magazine Granta for inclusion in their 2003 list of the top 20 young British novelists. His novels have been translated into 15 languages. His essays, reports and stories have appeared in London Review of Books, New York Review of Books,
Granta, The Guardian and The New Yorker.
Early lifeO'Hagan was born in Glasgow, and grew up in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire. He is of Irish Catholic descent and attended St Michael's Academy in Kilwinning before studying at the University of Strathclyde.
WritingsIn 1991, O'Hagan joined the staff of the London Review of Books, where he worked for four years. In 1995, he published his first book, The Missing, which crossed genres by exploring the lives of people who have gone missing in Britain and the families left behind. The Missing was shortlisted for three literary awards. In 1999, O'Hagan's debut novel, Our Fathers was nominated for several awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the International Dublin Literary Award. It won the Winifred Holtby Prize for Fiction.
In 2003, his next novel Personality, which has close similarities to the life of Lena Zavaroni, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. That same year, O'Hagan won the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 2006, his third novel, Be Near Me, was published by Faber and Faber and long-listed for that year's Booker Prize. It went on to win the Los Angeles Times's 2007 Prize for Fiction. In 2008, he edited a new selection of Robert Burns's poems for Canongate Books, published as A Night Out with Robert Burns. A copy was lodged in every secondary school in Scotland. Following on from this, he wrote and presented a three-part film on Burns for the BBC, The World According to Robert Burns, first on 5 January 2009. In January 2011, Scotland on Sunday gave away 80,000 copies of the book. Also in 2008, Faber & Faber published O'Hagan's first non-fiction collection, The Atlantic Ocean: Essays on Britain and America, which was shortlisted for the 2008 Saltire Book of the Year Award.
His 2010 novel, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, is told in the voice of a Scottish Maltese poodle, the name of the real dog given by Frank Sinatra to Marilyn Monroe in 1960. It was published by Faber & Faber in May 2010 and won O'Hagan a Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award.
In March 2012, it was announced that O'Hagan is working on a theatrical production about the crisis in British newspapers, entitled Enquirer with the National Theatre of Scotland.
In 2015, O'Hagan published his fifth novel The Illuminations: A Novel, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize.
In June 2016, the London Review of Books published a 35,612-word essay by O'Hagan, titled "The Satoshi Affair: Andrew O'Hagan on the many lives of Satoshi Nakamoto", which followed the events surrounding programmer Craig Wright's claim to be bitcoin founder, Satoshi Nakomoto. In the article, O'Hagan, describes how he was approached by Wright and nTrust, a group that he was associated with, in order to cover the exposure of Craig Wright's identity as Satoshi. Though the article is inconclusive as to the true identity of Satoshi, some have taken it as evidence that Wright is a fraud. "The Satoshi Affair" is currently being produced as a TV series for Netflix.
In October 2017, O'Hagan published The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age that includes stories about his attempt to help Julian Assange write his memoirs, the author using the identity of a deceased man to make a new life on the Internet and expanding on Craig Wright's claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
AdaptationsThree of O'Hagan's books have received adaptations into different media. In 1996, Channel 4 Television presented Calling Bible John: Portrait of a Serial Killer, nominated for a BAFTA award. In 2009, his novel Be Near Me was adapted by Ian McDiarmid for the Donmar Warehouse and the National Theatre of Scotland.
In September 2011, the National Theatre of Scotland presented The Missing as a play adapted by O'Hagan and directed by John Tiffany at Tramway, Glasgow. The play received favourable reviews. The Daily Telegraph called it "a profound act of mourning and memory." The Guardian called the work "an arresting, genre-defying work – part speculative memoir, part Orwellian social reportage" that "induces the kind of shock he must have experienced..."
Connection to Julian AssangeIn February 2014, O'Hagan wrote about his experience as a ghostwriter for Julian Assange's autobiography. His essay, entitled "Ghosting", which was published in the London Review of Books, gained significant media attention because of his description of Assange's character and his strained relationships with his past and present colleagues.
Political viewsIn August 2017, O'Hagan gave a speech at The Edinburgh International Book Festival, where he declared that he had become a supporter of Scottish independence.
Other activitiesIn 2008, O'Hagan was a visiting fellow in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin.
- UNICEF: In 2001, O'Hagan was named as a Goodwill Ambassador by the UK branch of UNICEF, and he has since been involved in fundraising efforts for the organisation. He has travelled to the Sudan, India, Malawi and Mozambique and has joined fellow ambassadors Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, James Nesbitt, Martin Bell and Jemima Khan in campaigning for Unicef.
- *2008: Made Honorary Doctor of Letters by University of Strathclyde
- *2008: Joined Robert Burns Humanitarian Award judging panel
- *2009: Made honorary lifetime member of Irvine Burns Club
- *2010: Made Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
- *undated: Trustee of George Orwell Trust
- *undated: Patron of Scottish Book Trust
- Scottish Arts Trust: On 6 December 2019, named as chief judge of the Scottish Arts Trust Story Awards, succeeding Alexander McCall Smith in that role.
- Our Fathers, 1999
- Personality, 2003
- Be Near Me, 2006
- The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, 2010
- The Illuminations, 2015
- The Missing, 1995
- The Atlantic Ocean: Essays, 2008
- The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age, 2017
- Short stories: from Sunday Times, 7 December 2008
- As a ghostwriter: , 2011
- *New Writing 11, 2002
- * The Weekenders: Adventures in Calcutta, 2004
- * A Night Out with Robert Burns, 2008
- Book Reviews:
- *"Racing against reality" The New York Review of Books 54/11 : 4–8
- * "Run" Publishers Weekly Fiction Reviews: Week of 16 July 2007. Review of Run by Ann Patchett.
- The Satoshi Affair: Andrew O’Hagan on the many lives of Satoshi Nakamoto
- "Ghosting" London Review of Books, 6 March 2014
- a 60.000 word essay about the Greenfell tower fire in The London Review of Books
Awards and honours
- 1995 – Esquire Award for The Missing
- 1995 – McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year for The Missing
- 1995 – Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award for The Missing
- 1996 – BAFTA, Calling Bible John
- 1999 – Booker Prize for Our Fathers
- 1999 – Whitbread First Novel Award for Our Fathers
- 2000 – Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for Our Fathers
- 2000 – Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize for Our Fathers
- 2001 – International Dublin Literary Award for Our Fathers
- 2003 – James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Personality
- 2006 – Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Be Near Me
- 2010 – Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award for Writing