Laird, Nick 1975–

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Laird, Nick 1975–

PERSONAL: Born 1975, in Northern Ireland; married Zadie Smith (a writer). Education: Attended Cambridge University.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., New York, NY 10022.

CAREER: Writer. Visiting fellow, Harvard University.

AWARDS, HONORS: Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, 2005.


To a Fault (poetry), Faber & Faber (London, England), 2005.

Utterly Monkey (novel), Fourth Estate (New York, NY), 2005.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel, for Fourth Estate.

SIDELIGHTS: Nick Laird's debut novel Utterly Monkey relates the story of Danny Williams, a young Irishman who leaves Belfast for a position at a London law firm. His urbane new life takes its toll on Danny's spirit, and he is thoroughly disrupted when Geordie, a friend from high school who has become entangled with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), shows up at Danny's home one night. Danny eventually learns that Geordie has made off with a large amount of money the IRA had earmarked for their use. When Danny's employers send him to Northern Ireland to oversee a corporate takeover, the two men join forces. Six days of their lives are recorded in the novel, including their sexual misadventures and emotional revelations. A Kirkus Reviews writer noted that Laird seems unconcerned with creating a plausible plot, but noted that the author's "empathy" for his characters "give[s] the writing a richness beyond the chance encounters and coincidences on which the novel relies."

Utterly Monkey was well received by critics. The book is "a strange combination of thriller and office drama," noted New Statesman reviewer Alastair Sooke. Although the action is sometimes "cartoonish," the book is more than merely a humorous offering; it is "a raging, often darkly hilarious meditation on the modern workplace" and a "deft, highly enjoyable book," according to Sooke.



Booklist, November 15, 2005, Allison Block, review of Utterly Monkey, p. 22.

Bookseller, February 4, 2005, review of Utterly Monkey, p. 33.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2005, review of Utterly Monkey, p. 1102.

New Statesman, May 23, 2005, Alastair Sooke, review of Utterly Monkey, p. 53.

Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2005, review of Utterly Monkey, p. 43.