Benedict Kiely

Born near Dromore, Co. Tyrone, in 1919, and raised in Omagh, Benedict Kiely intended to become a Jesuit priest before starting a career in journalism and fiction writing.

Counties of Contention, about the partition of Northern Ireland, appeared in 1945 and was followed by his first novel, Land Without Stars. Other novels include The Cards of the Gambler (1953), Dogs Enjoy the Morning (1968), Proxopera (1977) and Nothing Happens in Carmincross (1985).

His collected short stories appeared in 2001; earlier collections include A Journey to the Seven Streams (1963), A Ball of Malt and Madame Butterfly (1973), A Cow in the House (1978), The State of Ireland: A Novella and Seven Short Stories (1980) and A Letter to Peachtree (1987). His novel The Captain with the Whiskers was published by Methuen in hardback in 2004 and in paperback in 2005.

He has also published a children’s story, several works of criticism on Irish literature and politics, and two memoirs, Drink to the Bird: An Omagh Boyhood (1992), and The Waves Behind Us (1999). He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1996. He lives in Dublin.

The annual Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend takes place in Omagh every September. To book contact the Omagh Tourist Information Centre on 028 8224 7831 or 048 8224 7831 from the Republic of Ireland.

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