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A Bit of a Writer

Brendan Behan's Complete Collected Short Prose

By: Brendan Behan

Edited by: John Brannigan

Publication Date: 20th April 2023


A Bit of a Writer: Brendan Behan’s Complete Collected Short Prose edited by John Brannigan

Brendan Behan wrote over one hundred articles for Irish newspapers between 1951 and 1956 as he rose to international fame, with most of them written in a weekly column in the Irish Press. The articles reveal a serious writer capable of great comic set pieces and amusing yarns as well as thoughtful reflections on cultural and historical issues. They reflect his passion for working-class Dublin life and the history and folklore of the city, as well as his travels in Ireland and Europe.

A Bit of a Writer: Brendan Behan’s Complete Collected Short Prose gathers all the articles and essays that Behan published in newspapers from 1951 to his death in 1964. Selections of Behan’s articles have been published since his death (Hold Your Hour and Have Another, 1965; After the Wake, 1981; The Dubbalin Man, 1997). However, there has been no complete edition of Behan’s prose, and no edition has provided a detailed biographical and literary introduction, explanatory notes and suggestions for further reading. This volume is publishing during the centenary celebrations of Behan’s birth in 2023, with his birthday being 9 February.

Born on 9 February 1923, Brendan Behan was raised at 13 Russell Street in Dublin’s north inner city. He became one of Ireland’s best-known writers and talkers. Behan moved between Dublin, Kerry and Connemara and spent time in Paris, writing in both Irish and English. He wrote articles for The Irish Press and two radio plays for Radio Éireann.

‘The Quare Fellow’, Behan’s first play, was produced in 1954 in Dublin. ‘The Hostage’ met with great success internationally following Joan Littlewood’s production in London in 1958. Borstal Boy, Behan’s autobiographical novel, was published the same year and became an immediate best seller. Suffering from diabetes, compounded by years of heavy drinking, he died on 20 March 1964.

Professor John Brannigan is Head of English at UCD and is the author of book-length studies of the writings of Brendan Behan and Pat Barker as well as investigations of critical race theory in Race in Modern Irish Literature and Culture (2009). He was editor of the international journal, Irish University Review, from 2010 to 2016.

Available on backorder

Weight 0.500 kg
Dimensions 432 × 156 mm

Paperback with flaps

Publication Date

20th April 2023