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Pete McCarthy Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

McCarthy's Bar (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Road to McCarthy (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Pete McCarthy
Author Pete McCarthy was born in Warrington, Lancashire on November 9, 1951. His mom had moved to England from her native Ireland during World War II in order to work as a nurse. It was during this time she met her future husband while at a dance, and they had four kids, the first of which was Pete.

Pete was educated at the West Park Grammar School in St. Helens, which is a Roman Catholic institution ran by the Christian Brothers. Later on, he characterized his experience as a mix of hellfire and brimstone, awakening sexuality, and corporal punishment, while describing the authoritarian education methods of the Christian Brothers to be carrot and stick but without the carrot.

Pete wrote all of his books with pen and paper and said that he was a big time technophobe. He had a kettle and a fridge, but didn’t own a computer, a word processor, or even a typewriter. Moving from Brighton to a village in the South Downs in East Sussex with his family, he enjoyed taking solitary walks across the Downs, describing the landscape as a sort of neolithic M25.

In the year 1975, Pete moved to the town of Brighton in East Sussex, where he worked on a community arts project in the close by Shoreham-by-Sea, and this led to his first television appearance, on Tommy Tractor’s Triffic Toyshop, a show for primary school kids.

Working toward a career in comedy, he co-founded Cliff Hanger Theatre with friends Steve McNicholas, Robin Driscoll, Rebecca Stevens, and Tony Haase, and together they toured the country appearing in the pubs. The Featherstone Flyer, which was their first show, was pioneered in the Hope and Anchor pub located in Islington, North London. This show would be followed by a series of other shows in subsequent years, which include: Dig for Victory, Captive Audience, The Came From Somewhere Else, and Gymslip Vicar. The last of these was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award.

The success of these stage shows led to the creation of two television series They Came From Somewhere Else for Channel 4 and Mornin’ Sarge on BBC Two.

He started performing solo standup in the year 1987, adopting his mom’s last name for his stage name, since he had learned about another actor using the name Peter Robinson. The first of which was Boredom and Black Magic in Hove, which was a three hour coach tour and pub crawl with McCarthy acting as guide, and inventing surreal explanations for Brighton’s then more stuffy neighbor. It won best cabaret act in the 1987 Zap Club Awards.

For “The Hangover Show”, he won a Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Comedy.

In his standup, he often drew from his Irish Catholic background as a source of comedy, showing up regularly at The Comedy Store in London. He also performed in a two man comedy show that toured Australia and Britain with Liverpudlian poet Roger McGough. During the eighties he also started writing television scripts and gags for comedians Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith.

As a result of The Hangover Show, he was offered his own television travel program by Channel 4 that was called Travelog, which offered an alternative travel program which had very little in common with the format of a traditional travel show. McCarthy described this as a marvelous experience, as he traveled to places like Corsica, Zanzibar, Costa Rica, Laos, China, and they had lunch with the heroes of the Crete resistance, stood on the edge of volcanoes, and got caught in a military coup in Vanuatu.

During the rest of the nineties, he starred in a string of other radio and television shows. These included Country Tracks, Desperately Seeking Something, and The Pier.

In 1998, Hodder and Stoughton published his first travel book, called “McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland”. It followed his journey in Ireland over a six month span by traveling from the south to the northwest part of the country. It went on to sell more than a million copies, and Pete felt a childlike pleasure in seeing his own book take its place on the shelves among writers he’d long admired.

He was planning on writing his third travel book, since his previous books were successful. This planned third book would explore the six counties in Northern Ireland. But his cancer diagnosis in February of 2004 changed all of that.

Pete died of cancer on October 6, 2004 at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. He was survived by his wife Irene, and three daughters: Alice, Isabella, and Coral.

“McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland” is a non-fiction book that was released in the year 1998. Despite the many exotic places that Pete McCarthy has gone and visited, he finds that there is no other place that is able to match the special magic of Ireland, the homeland of his mother.

In this book, Pete’s journey starts in Cork and continues along the west coast to Donegal, up north. Traveling through rather spectacular landscapes, yet at every turn obeying the rule that you never pass a bar that’s got your name on it, he finds McCarthy bars up and down all over the land, meeting some fascinating people before pleading to get let out when it’s four in the morning.

“The Road to McCarthy: Around the World in Search of Ireland” is a non-fiction book that was released in the year 2002. Pete established a cardinal rule of travel in his debut about never passing a bar that’s got your name on it.

In this equally insightful and wry follow up, his characteristic good humor, thirst for adventure, and curiosity take him on a rather fantastic jaunt around the world, searching for his Irish roots. From New York to Morocco (where he tracks down the McCarthy clan’s unlikely chief), and lastly to isolated McCarthy Alaska. This is quixotic and anything-but-typical Irish odyssey which confirms Pete’s status as one of our funniest and most incisive writers.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Pete McCarthy

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