Born in Celbridge, Co. Kildare in 1927. Sojourns abroad in Spain, South Africa, North and South Rhodesia, Berlin and London inform much of his work, including three autobiographies, Donkey's Years (1996), Dog Days (1998) and The Whole Hog (2000), subsequently published in one volume, A Bestiary (2004). His radio plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and RTÉ. In 2001, he was conferred with an honorary doctorate of letters by the National University of Ireland (Cork). He is married and lives in Kinsale.
His first collection of stories, Felo de Se (1960) was recommended by Samuel Beckett to his London publisher, John Calder, and subsequently published by Grove Press in New York and by Beckett’s own publisher in Paris.
His first novel, Langrishe Go Down (1966), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Irish Academy of Letters Award, and was made into a film with a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Other awards include the Irish America Foundation Grant and DAAD (Berlin). Later novels include Balcony of Europe (1972), which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, Scenes from a Receding Past (1977), Bornholm Night-Ferry (1983) and Lions of the Grunewald (1993). His collected stories, Flotsam and Jetsam followed in 1996.
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