Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ben Cunningham

Beginner’s Pluck. Ben Cunningham
Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 7th July.

Beginner’s Pluck. Ben Cunningham.

Ben has always enjoyed writing. When, in June 2008, he set off with five friends on a cycling adventure, he felt that somebody should keep a journal of the trip, and that might as well be him.

“I wrote it every night,” he says. “And every month I’d write a column for the Irish Times. The trip, along the Pan-American Highway, took ten months. I always thought it would make a good book, and once I’d finished it, my agent, Jonathan Williams sold it for me.”

On his return, Ben trained as a barrister. He is now a practising barrister.

Who is Ben Cunningham?

Date of birth: 8th October 1985. Donadea, Kildare.

Education: The King’s Hospital. Trinity College Dublin; History and Economics. King’s Inn; Oct 2009 – May 2012.

Home: Kildare.

Family: Ben is the youngest son of the writer and journalist Peter Cunningham. He has a brother, and three sisters.

The Day Job: Barrister.

Interests: “All sports. I used to play a lot of sport; now I enjoy watching it. But I do play golf. I love writing, reading, and current affairs.”

Favourite Writers: “Ryszard Kapuscinski for his journalist reportage; Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Peter Cunningham; and I loved Theo Dorgan’s Sailing for Home.”

Second Novel: “I’d like to write another book sometime. I have a few, vague ideas.”

Top Writing Tip: Keep at it. It’s a job. Put in the hours and keep going. Keep reading and keep rewriting. It’s a graft. It’s hard.

Web: www.thelongestroad.ie Twitter: @benjcunning

The Debut: The Longest Road. An Irish Pan-American Cycling Adventure. The Collins Press: €18.75. Kindle: €9.66.

At an average age of 22, Ben Cunningham and five friends set out to cycle the Pan American Highway from Prudhoe bay in Alaska, to Ushuaia in Argentina. This took them through fourteen countries on two continents.

“I think it’s a good simple account of what happened. I wrote it as that, short, tight, and reasonably blunt.”

The Verdict: It’s an absorbing account of an epic adventure; well worth reading.

© Sue Leonard. 2013

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