Walk of life:
Book publisher
Biographical details:

Londubh is a new Dublin-based imprint established by Jo O’Donoghue.
Londubh’s !rst eight titles, on subjects as diverse as travel, battles, health and
writing, as well as a biography and a memoir, will appear March-May 2010.
‘I was born in east Kerry, in the area known as Sliabh Luachra. Although I
have spent most of my life living elsewhere – boarding school in Carrick-on-
Suir, university in Cork and twenty-!ve years in Dublin – the Paps, the twin
rounded peaks that dominate the area, are still my ‘Matterhorn’. In my youth,
Sliabh Luachra was rich in nothing but music and dance and words – not
Irish but the most colourful of Hiberno-English. You can still hear it there, if
you know where to listen.
‘I did a BA in English and French in UCC and, once I moved to Dublin, an
M.Litt in TCD on the work of the Belfast novelist Brian Moore. It was a"er
I !nished my thesis in 1988 that I got my !rst job in publishing. Philip MacDermott of Poolbeg Press,
according to himself a great judge of potential, took me on to commission and edit. It was a brave move as
I knew nothing except how to read, write and construct a bibliography according the the Chicago Manual
of Style. Philip had a great in#uence on the way I work in publishing, probably more than anyone else I’ve
worked with. One of his beliefs was that an editor should really get to know her authors. I once stayed with
a Poolbeg author in Ennis for the best part of a week while she and I puzzled out the intricacies of who
did what and when and to whom on 22 August 1922. I’ve always been very hands-on and value greatly the
opportunity to work with people who know about things I would have known nothing about: selling or
maps or the Ulster Plantation or the travel industry or theology. It’s amazing how much knowledge you can
pick up along the way.
‘I also worked with Attic Press (brie#y), Mercier Press, where I published the single most successful book
of my career, Bill Cullen’s It’s a Long Way from Penny Apples (2001), and most recently Currach Press. $e
one author I’ve published everywhere I’ve been is Terry Prone. Along with Dr Johnson, she is one of my
heroes and she’s consistently one of the best non-!ction writers I know. All my own writing, since I started
in publishing twenty-two years ago, has been reference/non-!ction. Sean McMahon and I created Brewer’s
Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable (Orion, 2003), the biggest job I ever undertook (and that was only half
of it).
‘I have a daughter and a son who, I’m glad to say, share my love of reading. I also love Irish, history of all
sorts, walking, conversation and travelling, especially in France and Spain.
‘It was my great friend and collaborator, the writer Sean McMahon, who suggested the name for my new
publishing company. I knew immediately it was right. Londubh is a blackbird, native and always busy.
$at’s what I’m hoping for too.
‘I consider myself to be much more a publisher than an entrepreneur. To anyone wanting to be her/his
own boss, I would say: listen to all the advice on o%er but do what you want in the way you want. $at way
everything will fall into place, even if it takes a little longer than you might have expected.’
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Specific research interests