Michael Foley

Michael Foley was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, but has lived most of his adult life in London, working for twenty-three years as a Lecturer in Information Technology at the University of Westminster before retiring in 2007 to concentrate on full-time writing. He has published critically-acclaimed poetry, novels and non-fiction, including New and Selected Poems (Blackstaff Press 2011). His first non-fiction book, The Age of Absurdity (Simon & Schuster 2010), was a bestseller and has been translated into seven languages.

Books by this Author

It has always been difficult to appreciate everyday life, often devalued as dreary, banal and burdensome, and never more so than in a culture besotted with fantasy, celebrity and glamour. Yet many writers, artists, film-makers and photographers have celebrated the ordinary life around them, and many philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists and neuroscientists have offered insights into the difficulties and rewards of paying attention to the here and now. With characteristic wit and...

My Life in 8 Words

Author Revealed

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. Life is absurd – but divinely absurd.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Contempt

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. The dangerous contact sport, reading

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Music in bookshops

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. E Lucevan le Stelle (Puccini), Summertime (Gershwin), The ballad of John and Yoko (Beatles), Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads), Dance Me To The End Of Love (Leonard Cohen)

Author Voices

May 10, 2010


I never thought I’d say this but I’m suddenly in love with the binge-drinking, celebrity-worshipping, bigoted, snobbish, xenophobic Great British Public. I take my hat off to Jason Pitbull, Sharon Happy Hour and Mr and Mrs Salubrious Outer Suburb for their unique achievement on May 6th. They rejected apathy by turning out in greater numbers than before and conformity by refusing to follow any pattern or wholeheartedly endorse any party. They rejected racists, nationalists and celebrities. They kicked out Jacqui Smith, the hypocrite who tried to pass puritanical sex laws while her husband... see more

March 22, 2010


When The Age of Absurdity appeared I hoped that the world would give me a break and stop being absurd for a while but of course it has carried right on and in heartbreaking ways that would have been perfect for the book.

For instance, an efficient new way to update your friends is via the Withings wi-fi bathroom scales that do not just provide a weight reading but instantly tweet this to your social network. Many other such labour-saving communicators will surely follow. Without even leaving the bathroom, how about a wi-fi toilet that first murmurs, thank you for your input, then analyses the day’s... see more

January 13, 2010

It began several years ago when an old friend and I, reviewing over a glass of wine our confused and confusing lives, wondered if there was any consensus among thinkers of different kinds on how to live. Do philosophers, religious teachers and literary writers share any views on human nature and how to make the most of it – and if so what are these views? So far as we knew, no one had attempted this kind of triangulation exercise, no doubt because it would take several lifetimes to research properly these three areas, each with a vast literature stretching back thousands of years. Then, just to simplify matters, we realised that a contemporary... see more