Share, Bernard Vivian (1930–2013), writer and editor, was born on 31 May 1930 in London to Irish parents Frederick Share, a civil servant, and May Share, who had emigrated there from Dublin. He lived in England until he was seventeen, attending school in Pinner, Middlesex, before moving to Ireland to pursue studies in English and Spanish at TCD (1951). Share became a TCD 'scholar' in modern languages and was involved with the early development of the student literary magazine Icarus.
In 1954 he travelled to Australia to take up a lectureship in English literature at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. He spent three years there before returning to Ireland in 1957 to work as an advertising copywriter at the O'Kennedy Brindley agency. There he met his friend and long-time collaborator, the designer William ('Billy') Bolger (d. 2013). They joined Janus Advertising together and were renowned for their playfulness around the office. In 1962 Share and Bolger established their own creative consultancy, Verbiage Enterprises, working for state companies including Bord Fáilte, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the IDA. They also collaborated on a number of books, with Bolger supplying cover designs and illustrations and Share the text, starting with the six-book children's series The bed that went whoosh (1964). From 1959 Share also edited Campaign with Isolde Farrell, a magazine covering the advertising and graphic design business in Ireland which ran for four years.
A prolific writer, Share contributed articles and book reviews to publications including the Irish Times and the fortnightly review, Hibernia, throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His first novel Inish was published in 1966. In his Irish Times review Grattan Freyer compared the novel to the 'Nighttown' episode in Ulysses and the novels of Samuel Beckett (qv) and Alain Robbe-Grillet announcing: 'I am ready to go on record that “Inish” puts Bernard Share on the map as one of Ireland's leading literary craftsmen' (25 June 1966). Despite other glowing endorsements including from Spike Milligan, who called it the funniest book he had read, the novel was not a commercial success. (Inish was reissued by Dalkey Archive (USA) in the John F. Byrne Irish literature series in 2009.)
Share's next novel, Merciful hour, was released in 1970, but again failed to make an impression on a broad readership. Also that year, Share help to establish CLÉ, the Irish Book Publishers' Association (subsequently known as Publishing Ireland) and served as its first general secretary. The following year he published Irish lives: biographies of 50 famous Irish men and women (1971) with Bolger's design input, to greater commercial success.
Share's next career move was to the Aer Lingus inflight magazine Cara which he edited from 1975 to 1999. He also took on the role of editor at the newly established Books Ireland in 1976, editing it until 1988 as well as being a regular contributor. One of his most admired works of non-fiction, The Emergency: neutral Ireland 1939–45, was published in 1978. (He later published a fictional counterpart to The Emergency called The Finner faction (1989), a whimsical novel about a supposed episode of Franco-Hibernian espionage.)
Share's wit and love of language and wordplay was evident throughout his writing. He also brought these attributes into the realm of broadcasting as a regular contributor to RTÉ Radio One's Sunday Miscellany under the editorship of Maxwell Sweeney during the 1970s and 1980s.
He was particularly interested in how English is spoken in Ireland and in 1997 produced his most successful book, a delightful dictionary of the country's idiosyncratic words and phrases, Slanguage, which was subsequently republished a number of times. The book received effusive praise, including in Hugh Leonard's (qv) Sunday Independent column, where it was described as 'worth its weight in gold-dust, for at last we have a proper, and often improper dictionary of Irish slang' (23 November 1997). In a similar vein Share published Dublinese – know what I mean? in 2006.
Share's final novel, Transit, arrived in 2009. Set between the Arabian Gulf and Dublin in the 1950s, Transit was described by reviewer Boyd Tonkin as '… a deliciously sly and offbeat novel of time-travel, scrambled pasts, abandoned hopes and Ireland, old and new. If Samuel Beckett ever returned to write a Doctor Who special, it might closely resemble Transit' (Independent (London), 19 June 2009).
Throughout his long and varied career, Bernard Share wrote or edited upwards of twenty books. In addition to those works already mentioned, he wrote non-fiction titles on the origin of Irish place names, the railways of the early Free State, and the history of Aer Lingus, among other subjects. He also edited works including Far green fields, fifteen hundred years of Irish travel writing (1992), an anthology which includes his own work 'The moon is upside down' about his time in Australia, and a number of 'quotes of the year' compendia.
Share married Gillian Malcomson in 1958, and the couple had two sons, Peregrine and Tristram. They later separated. He spent his final years living in Kildare Town and was a popular local figure, in particular amongst the congregation of St Brigid's Cathedral where he was involved with the choir. He died of heart failure at St James's Hospital in Dublin on 1 September 2013. His remains were cremated privately following a funeral service at St Brigid's.