John Waters


writer and journalist

John Waters, irish writer and journalist


John Waters, Irish writer and formerly newspaper columnist, was born in Co Roscommon, in the West of Ireland, where he grew up in the town of Castlerea. His first book, Jiving at the Crossroads (1991), about the cultural underbelly of Irish politics, became a massive bestseller and was reissued by TransWorld in 2012. 

His other publications include Race of Angels (1994) a study of the roots of U2’s music in Irish history and culture. He has written two books about the religious and spiritual imagination of modern Ireland (such as it is), entitled Lapsed Agnostic and Beyond Consolation (On How We Became too Clever for God and Our Own Good), He is currently completing a third book in this series y, provisionally entitled Men Without Chests.  His book, Give us Back the Bad Roads, will be published in October, 2018.

His award-winning plays include Long Black Coat (1994) and Easter Dues (1997). He is also a songwriter and secret musician. He has a daughter, Róisín, and oscillates between Dublin and Lislary, Co Sligo, close to where his father was born in what is nowadays known as Yeats Country.

He married Rita Simons in December, 2014


John Waters Full-Time Journalistic Work History

1984/’85: Wrote about music, politics and social affairs for Hot Press. Also wrote radio column and features for The Sunday Tribune.

1985-’87:  Editor of In Dublin, the capital’s entertainme

nt, arts, political and listings magazine.

1988: Editor of Magill, Ireland’s leading current affairs magazine.

1989/’90: Television reporter with RTE arts show, Arts Express.

1990 -2014: Columnist and feature writer with The Irish Times. Weekly column dealing with politics, culture and current affairs.

2014- Columnist and feature writer with The Independent and the Sunday Independent. 

He currently writes for First Things, America's leading Cultural and Religious Magazine



John Waters - Books Published

Jiving at the Crossroads: Shock of the New in Haugheys Ireland  

Jiving at the Crossroads: Shock of the New in Haughey's Ireland (Blackstaff,1991)

Highly personal look at Irish politics which became a major Irish bestseller.


Race of Angels (4th Estate/Blackstaff,1994)

An exploration of Irish popular culture with particular reference to U2 and their Irish sensibility, published in both Ireland and Britain.


Every Day Like Sunday? (Poolbeg, 1995)

A collection from the Irish Times  columns of the first five years of the 1990s, drawing together some of the hidden themes concerning the economic and social reality of modern Ireland.

An Intelligent Persons Guide to Modern Ireland  

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Ireland (Duckworth 1997)

Many of these themes are developed and expanded in the extended essay An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Ireland.


The Whoseday Book

In 1998 he devised the concept of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s massive fundraising millennium diary and anthology, The Whoseday Book, one of the biggest ever fundraising projects organised by an Irish charity. The Whoseday Book raised some €3m for the Irish Hospice Foundation.


In 2007 he edited a follow-up to The Whoseday Book, also in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation. LifeStory is a variation on the concept of a Memory Book, which facilitates the user in writing their own or their family's history.

The Politburo Has Decided You Are Unwell  

The Politburo Has Decided You Are Unwell

A collection of his work from The Irish Times and elsewhere – in particular a selection of his writings on men and masculinty – was published 2004, entitled The Politburo Has Decided That You Are Unwell.


Lapsed Agnostic

The story of his journey through faith, agnosticism and back, will be published by Continuum in the autumn of 2007.

Beyond Consolation

The second of his trilogy of books about the religious sense of man was published by Bloomsbury in 2010.



Presented a three-part 1992 series, Wide Awake in Ireland, for BBC Radio 4, (Special Current Affairs department) on the changing face of Irish culture and politics. The producer was Gwyneth Williams.



Long Black Coat

Long Black Coat,  staged by Bickerstaffe of Kilkenny in Summer 1994, won the BBC/Stewart Parker Award for 1994. Text published in 1995 by New Island Books.


Easter Dues

A second play, Easter Dues, was staged by Bickerstaffe in 1997.


Holy Secrets

A radio play commissioned by the BBC, and broadcast on Radio 4 in December 1996, won the 1997 Richard Imison Memorial Award for a first radio play.


Adverse Possession

Another radio play, Adverse Possession, was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in December 1998.


In 2000, he was commissioned by Metropolitan Films to write a screenplay for a feature film based on the story of Harry Gleeson, a farm labourer and fiddle player who was hanged in the Ireland of the 1940s for a murder he did not commit.


John Waters has also written and as yet undeveloped feature film script, entitled Dead Men’s Clothes.


John Waters,  has a daughter, Roisin, born March 10th 1996, who lives with him in Dalkey, Co Dublin. He married Rita Simons in December, 2014.



 - Books Published


 - Radio


 - Plays