In the last few months before she passed away in February this year, Keelin Shanley was writing a memoir, A Light That Never Goes Out, and it is to be published by Gill Books on 2 October.
Commissioning Editor Deirdre Nolan said, ‘Keelin got in touch with me in December last year. She was nearing the end and strongly felt she wanted to leave a record of her life behind and we were honoured to help her do so. We put her together with writer Alison Walsh and she helped Keelin write a most extraordinary memoir. It is so rare to have such an insight into what someone who is facing death is thinking and feeling, and despite the gravity of the situation she was facing, through her writing Keelin has managed to capture the fleeting beauty of life in way that is awe-inspiring and ultimately uplifting.’
In the introduction to the book, Keelin writes of her thoughts as she came to terms with her diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer, aged just 51, ‘I realised that I am still Keelin Shanley: I still am that person, in spite of everything. In spite of the wig, the scarves, the IV lines, the tests, mum, wife, news presenter, daughter, sister, stepdaughter – I am all of those things. And that’s why I decided to write this book: to remind me of who I am, and to leave those who love me something to hold on to.’
Charting the twists and turns of both a remarkable career as an investigative journalist and a lengthy battle with cancer, A Light That Never Goes Out reveals with real honesty what it’s like to keep living life and having a career – right up to Keelin becoming a co-anchor of RTÉ’s Six One News – while dealing with the challenges of cancer treatment.
The title of the book is a play on the song, ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ by The Smiths. They were one of her favourite bands when she first met her husband Conor Ferguson. Conor, who completed the last chapter of the book after Keelin passed away, said, ‘Keelin lived such an extraordinary life, she has left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten. Keelin wasn’t prone to nostalgia, she was upfront and a “doer” from the very beginning. She always grabbed life by the reins and, as a result, didn’t have many regrets. Though we miss her every day and remember her in every moment, we hope that her remarkable story will inspire people to live life to the full and put the best foot forward, no matter what obstacles life presents’.
Keelin Shanley was an award-winning journalist and broadcaster for RTÉ, notably with Prime Time and the Six One News. She lived in Dún Laoghaire with her husband Conor and their children Lucy and Ben.
Conor Ferguson is a writer, photographer and filmmaker.
Alison Walsh has been an editor for many years, and is also the author of four novels and a memoir.
A Light That Never Goes Out will be published by Gill Books on Friday, 2 October 2020, priced at €19.99. All publicity queries to Ellen Monnelly, Senior Publicist, Gill Books, firstname.lastname@example.org.