The serene landscapes and the turbulent history of Ireland have inspired the greatest writers in the modern literary canon. Recorded in the brilliant journalism of James Stephens and others, Ireland's struggle to go from a province to a full-fledged nation also echoes in the work of poets and playwrights such as J.M. Synge, James Joyce and William Butler Yeats. The literature conveys the beauty of the green-reached hills, the "brown imperturbable faces" of the houses in Joyce's Dublin, the barren thorns of a winter's night.
Thanks to the genius of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Lady Gregory, and other visionaries, millions of readers can enter a world where the mythical struggles of saints, leprechauns and Cu Chulainn find echoes in the modern strife of revolution and the war for independence. From the Rebellion of 1798 to the potato famine, from the exodus of many families out of Ireland to the Easter Rebellion and the war for independence, the greatness of Ireland filters through the prism of literary genius. Inspired by the love of their land, these writers rebelled against the icons of social, political and cultural conformity. Equally in love with the landscapes and the spirited people, they wrote literature that resounds throughout Ireland and the world.
Here for the first time, these 12 works of fiction, poetry and non-fiction are collected in a single volume that recognizes their enormous literary contribution. Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Malachy McCourt provides an incisive introduction, drawing on his vast knowledge of and love for the literature of Ireland.
Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn, USA and from the age of three was raised in Limerick, Ireland. A very undistinguished academic career plus the need to eat led him to leave school at the age of thirteen to begin work in Ireland and England as a laborer.
He returned to the land of his birth at the age of twenty and again worked at the manual tasks such as longshoreman, truck loader, dishwasher, until he became an actor. That career took him to Broadway and Off-Broadway and regional theatres in plays such as Mass Appeal, Da, The Hostage, Inherit the Wind, Carousel and Translations. The soap operas such as Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, One Life to Live, and All My Children were also a good source of work and sustenance as were the movies Molly Maguires, She's the One, The Devil's Own, Green Card, and TV movies such as You Can't Go Home Again and The Dain Curse. Due to a heavy schedule of writing, book signings and public appearances McCourt had to take a sabbatical from the acting trade but is now back after completing five movies Happy Hour, Guru of Sex, Gods and Generals, and Ash Wednesday plus a running part in the HBO prison series Oz.
In the early seventies he was one of the first radio talk show hosts on WMCA and also worked at WOR, WNYC and WABC. He was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show, Merv Griffin and Tom Snyder shows and most recently he was a guest on Conan O’Brien and the Late, Late Show on CBS.
Malachy McCourt has been the recipient of awards from various organizations such as:
City Club of New York (Gadfly Award), New York Magazine (Best of New York Award), Turning Point Inc. (Humanitarian Award), World of Hibernia (Super Irish Award), Irish America Magazine (Top 100 Irish Award), NYCLU (Florina Lasker Civil Liberties Award).
Malachy has had articles published in many periodicals including New York Newsday, National Geographic, Conscience Magazine and New York Times.
As well as being the co-author of the play A Couple of Blaguards with his brother Frank, Malachy has written his own New York Times bestseller memoir, A Monk Swimming, published by Hyperion Press. His memoir, Singing My Him Song, now out in paperback is published by Harper Collins. Running Press recently published four of Malachy’s books: the history of the song Danny Boy, a history of The Claddagh Ring, Voices of Ireland, an anthology, and Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland. Recent books, Harold Be Thy Name and Bush Lies in State, are published by Welcome Rain. In the works is I Never Drink When I’m Sober for Harper Collins. Malachy writes a column, Sez I to Myself, that appears in the Manhattan Spirit, The Westsider and Our Town in NYC. (Read his latest article).
Malachy McCourt is happily married to Diana for almost four decades, has five grown children and is grandfather to four. He owes a great deal to his friend Bill W.