The Writing Irish of New York
Edited by Colin Broderick
featuring work by Colum McCann, Billy Collins, Luanne Rice, Malachy McCourt, and many more
“This collection of essays and remembrances is bursting at the seams with talent.”
In the ten years following the Great Famine Irish flooded into New York at an astonishing rate. By 1860 one in every four New Yorkers was Irish, and by the 1920s Irish-American authors like Eugene O’Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald had transformed the American literary landscape and lay the foundation for a century that would put Irish writing at the forefront of American letters.
This series of essays by and about Irish-American writers traces that heritage from it’s humble origins through the twentieth century. Editor Colin Broderick provides background essays on Brendan Behan’s New York, Maeve Brennan’s heartbreaking decent into madness, Frank McCourt’s rise from school teacher to literary phenomenon, and 23 of today’s top Irish-American authors—including Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice and Maura Mulligan—provide personal accounts of how they found their voices in the Big Apple. Taken together, the stories provide a vivid portrait of a community of authors who continue to fight for Ireland’s place at the top of literary canon.
There is a fine green thread that binds them all. These are The Writing Irish of New York.
The Writing Irish of New York includes original essays by:
Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice, Larry Kirwan, Kathleen Donohoe, Daniel James McCabe, Mike Farragher, Malachy McCourt, Don Creedon, Maura Mulligan, Kevin Holohan, Kevin Fortuna, Christopher John Campion, Dennis Driscoll, Billy Collins (poem), Honor Molloy, Colum McCann, John Kearns, Charles R. Hale, Dan Barry, Seamus Scanlon, Brian O’Sullivan, Mary Pat Kelly, and Colin Broderick.
And essays by Colin Broderick on:
Maeve Brennan, Frank McCourt, Eugene O’Neill, Jimmy Breslin, Frank O’Hara, J.P. Donleavy, John F. Kennedy Jr., Brendan Behan and Oscar Wilde.
Praise for The Writing Irish of New York
This collection of essays and remembrances is bursting at the seams with talent. Irish writers finding their voice in New York City is a long and revered tradition, and this book shows that tradition to be alive and well in the new century. If it’s wit, wisdom and dazzling prose that you’re looking for, The Writing Irish of New York will not disappoint.
T.J. English, New York Times bestselling author of The Savage City
This is a fascinating book which I read at one sitting—containing no end of insight, with chunks of unanticipated wisdom and the finest of contemporary writing. A delicious feast.
Patrick McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto
This carefully curated collection of essays represents both the old guard and young guns on the New York literary scene, and feels like a true representation of the New York Irish experience. Almost all of these well written and insightful essays illustrate what’s it feels like to be Irish-American as opposed to Irish-in-America.
Kate Kerrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Dress
Here are extraordinary and vivid essays by and about many of the people who first spring to mind when you think of Irish writers and New York City: Frank McCourt and Brendan Behan, Maeve Brennan and Scott Fitzgerald, Eugene O’Neill and Jimmy Breslin. But the book’s true delight, and it’s revelation, are the surprising voices you may not have heard before: Malachy, the other McCourt brother, and his ball-breaking humor; Larry Kirwan, the bard of Black 47; Maura Mulligan, a dancer and a deeply authentic witness to the joy of discovering a creative life; Brian O’Sullivan, an off-the-boat plasterer by trade who happens to write with a Twain-like appreciation for the absurd truths of life; and Kevin Fortuna, a spellbinding storyteller with a newfound deep connection to the old country. There are many others, and their indelible portraits stick with you, and what you thought you knew about a people and a place becomes ever so much richer.
John Kenney, Managing Editor, Esquire