Ita Doyle: 'In all my life I have lived in two houses, had two jobs, and one husband. I'm a very interesting person.' Rory and Ita, Roddy Doyle's first non-fiction book, tells - largely in their own words - the story of his parents' lives from their first memories to the present. Born in 1923 and 1925 respectively, they met at a New Year's Eve dance in 1947 and married in 1951. They remember every detail of their Dublin childhoods - the people (aunts, cousins, shopkeepers, friends, teachers), the politics (both came from Republican families), idyllic times in the Wexford countryside for Ita, for Rory, his apprenticeship as a printer. Ita's mother died when she was three ('the only memory I have is of her hands, doing things'); Rory was the oldest of nine children, five of them girls. By the time they put down a deposit of two hundred pounds for a house in Kilbarrack, Rory was working as a compositor at the Irish Independent. By the time the first of their four children was born he'd become a teacher, at the School of Printing in Dublin. Kilbarrack began to change ('it wasn't a rural place any more') and Ireland too. Through their eyes we see the intensely Catholic society of their youth being transformed into the vibrant, modern Ireland of today.
Dublin-born Roddy Doyle joins Alex Clark to discuss his new book, Smile, and the real life experiences that influenced his writing