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Andrew O'Hagan, FRSL (born 1968) is a Scottish novelist and non-fiction author. He is also an Editor at Large of Esquire, London Review of Books and critic at large for T: The New York Times Style Magazine. O'Hagan is currently a creative writing fellow at King's College London.
O'Hagan 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.
O'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.
In 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 IMPAC 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 also published O'Hagan's first non-fiction collection, The Atlantic Ocean: Essays on Britain and America. The latter 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 ("Maf"), 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 Man 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 reveal 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.
In October 2017, O'Hagan published The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age that includes stories about his job as Julian Assange's ghostwriter, 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.
Three 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 [the author] must have experienced..."
Connection to Julian Assange
In February 2014, O'Hagan wrote about his experience as a ghostwriter for Julian Assange's autobiography by Canongate and Knopf. 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.
In 2008, O'Hagan was a visiting fellow in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin.
Awards and honours
The British Council lists the following awards and nominations for O'Hagan's work: