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Oscar-Winner William Monahan's (Poorly Documented) Past Life

Posted by: Jon Fine on February 26, 2007

Long before he published a novel and waaay before he won an Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Departed, William Monahan was an excellent and scabrous writer for the weekly New York Press.

In particular, I recall one piece about heroin he wrote in 1996 that was sort-of OK until you got well into it, at which point he began talking about an afternoon a week or so previous that he’d spent under its influence. And at which point it got much more vivid and affecting. (It clearly touched a nerve in NY Press readers, who wrote letters to the paper that got far beyond the standard cant articles about heroin usually provoke.)

I’ve spent the last hour trolling the New York Press Web site, Google, and online databases for any sign of said piece and am coming up with absolutely no trace of it whatsoever—save for a column in Newsday from summer ‘96 that referenced it. (And which was written by, um, Jon Fine.)

Anyway, Monahan’s piece was great, as was most of his stuff he wrote for the Press back then. It’s a minor drag that it all seems pretty much lost now, but things have turned out pretty well for him. Congrats, William.

Reader Comments

Yuri Ahlemeyer

March 19, 2007 10:31 PM

Could you add articles to this list
I want to read everything!

Long live the rule of Monahan!


November 10, 2007 5:44 AM

sarcasm much? cuz there's kinda a encylopedia on the guy at wikipedia. u really need to check you facts dude.

Jon Fine

November 23, 2007 3:46 PM

You might want to check your facts yourself--or at least your dates, as this blog entry was written when Monahan's Wikipedia page was muchg more skeletal than it is today, in November 2007.

At any rate, it's still a drag that little of his New York Press output is not available anywhere on the Web.


December 10, 2007 6:16 AM

don' want to be nit-picking u but yer dates are wrong to, it's 1995 not 1996. we're all human i guess.

Jean Tremblay

August 18, 2008 5:52 PM

Hi Jon: A little bit of a witty remark was left, in an edit summary, in the article history for William Monahan's Wikipedia entry, reading: "'Newsday's John Fine' using the word 'scabrous' incorrectly should certainly not be foisted on Monahan, who probably has never written a bad sentence." The comment referred to the quote taken from this blog, in which you call Monahan "an excellent and scabrous writer." However, I think you did use scabrous correctly. I mean, according to Merriam-Webster, in one sense, it could mean Monahan, as a writer, is covered with raised, roughened, or unwholesome patches, and in another sense, it could mean Monahan, as a writer, deals with suggestive, indecent, or scandalous themes. Both definitions I think can be applied to "writer". So obviously a sensible person would figure it out. Right? Unless, even you happen to now agree, with hindsight, that it was an inaccurate choice of words?

Rob Thompson

September 8, 2008 7:19 AM

WARNING: Do not irritate yourself trying to find any of these articles on the New York press website, least of all the heroin article. It's a lost cause. There is nothing of any of these articles left, except for one about Ernest Dowson and a story series. I am so fucking irritated. Was Bill Monahan's stuff really any good?


February 10, 2009 9:04 PM

I contacted the NYpress and they stated that all of the articles publiches pre 1999 are archived in the New York City Public article. I would love to get a hold of the article about heroin unfortunately I do not live in NY and the website does not have access to it. Anybody in New York should try it though if your interested


February 11, 2009 10:39 AM

sorry that was suppose to be the new york public library archive


February 24, 2009 11:01 AM

NOTE: The "Heroin" article was published at OLD CROW and NYPress.

Here's the bibliographical information you may need:

1) William Monahan. "Heroin: What Your Uncle Ted Doesn't Know About It", New York Press, vol. 8, no. 17 (April 26–May 2, 1995), pp. 1, 18-20.

2) William Monahan (December 1996). "Heroin". Old Crow Review (FkB Press) (7): 11 pages.

Email me at billdeancarter at yahoo dot com if you want me to email you back jpegs/gifs and the like of both versions of the "Heroin" article.


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