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A Light That Never Goes Out: Keelin Shanley's posthumous memoir to be published in October

The award winning journalist began writing the book late last year.

Image: Steve Langan/RTÉ

A MEMOIR WRITTEN by Keelin Shanley in the final months of the broadcaster’s life will be published this autumn.

Shanley, a former investigative journalist and RTÉ news anchor, died at the age of 51 in February. The book will be titled A Light That Never Goes Out and it is to be published by Gill Books on 2 October.

The book charts Shanley’s career in journalism and details her lengthy battle with cancer, right up to becoming co-anchor of RTÉ’s flagship Six One News programme while undergoing cancer treatment.

In the book’s introduction, Shanley lays out her thoughts as she came to terms with her diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer aged 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,” she wrote. 

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.

Gill Books Commissioning Editor Deirdre Nolan said Shanley contacted her in December 2019 because she “wanted to leave a record of her life behind”.

The deeply-admired journalist wrote the book with the help of editor Alison Walsh and her husband, Conor Ferguson, penned the final chapter after Keelin passed away.

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“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,” Nolan said.

The title of the book is a reference to a song by The Smiths, which was one of Shanley’s favourite bands when she first met her husband.

“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,” Ferguson said.

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.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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