How to write a journalistic bestseller?

with Patrick Radden Keefe

The podcast

In March 2015, Patrick Radden Keefe wrote the article “‘Where the bodies are buried” (The New Yorker magazine) about Jean McConville, who disappeared in Belfast in 1972.

Jean McConville, mother of ten, was kidnapped by masked men in 1972. Everyone in the neighborhood knows that the IRA is responsible for her disappearance, but no one dares to talk about it. One of the most infamous events of The Troubles, this horrific murder is the beginning of the great story of the bitter conflict that has gripped Northern Ireland for thirty years.

In 2019, based on this story, the book Say Nothing was published. Patrick Radden Keefe portrays radical and rambunctious IRA members in this compelling story. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, is ranked in the top 10 best books of the year by the Washington Post and The New York Times, and has been named the best nonfiction book of 2019 by Time Magazine.

For True Stories online we will soon have an exclusive conversation with Radden Keefe. Radden Keefe takes you through the research and the ‘making-of-process’ of his book: How did he came up with the structure of it? How did he make scene overviews for months? And how does he constantly maintain the narrative momentum for the readers? You will hear this and more soon in the True Stories online podcast!

Listen to a fragment of the book Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe below (credits: Penguin Random House Audio SoundCloud) and order the book at Savannah Bay’s online bookstand: books with the best narrative journalism especially selected for True Stories online!

Biography Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe is a writer and journalist at The New Yorker. He wrote The Snakehead and Chatter, and has published for The New York Times Magazine, Slate and The New York Review of Books. Radden Keefe is a commentator for the BBC. His journalistic work has been awarded many times. His book Say Nothing is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, in the Washington Post and The New York Times’ top 10 best books of the year, and has been named the best nonfiction book of 2019 by Time Magazine.

Photo by Philip Montgomery

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