Brendan Francis Aidan Behan (9th February, 1923 – 20th March, 1964) was an Irish writer, novelist, poet and playwright, writing in both English and Irish. Behan is widely regarded as one of the great Irish writers and poets of all time.
Born in Dublin to a staunchly republican family, Behan became a member of the Irish Republic Army’s youth division at the age of fourteen, and joined the main IRA at 16, leading to him serving time in borstal and prison in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
However, it was this patriotism and growing up in a household with a strong emphasis on Irish history, through literary and patriotic ballads, and the time he spent in prison that made him determined to learn the Irish language, and gave him the love of literature and language that made him so successful.
Today we’re marking the day with some of our favourite quotes from the author, from some of his best known works and personal interviews.
“I’m a drinker with writing problems.”
“They took away our land, our language, and our religion; but they could never harness our tongues…”
“It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.”
The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.
A man is already halfway in love with any woman who listens to him.
Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.
One drink is too many for me and a thousand not enough.
If you greatly desire something, have the guts to stake everything on obtaining it.
As absurd as those claims may seem now, some of the negativity towards left-handed folk remains to this day. Left handers were still battling in the 20th century against people like American psychoanalyst Abram Blau, who accused all left-handers of being perverts. Even seemingly well-meaning teachers still insist on their student switching hands when they start to learn to write.
If only left handers were just left to be lefties! Some of our favourite writers were left-handed, and it is said that lefties tend to be more creative and arty than right handers.
Here’s a list of 8 of our favourite lefty writers.
Sir VS Naipaul had been in ill health for a while and published his final work, the nonfiction The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief in 2010. Today the literary world is in shock. Here are some of the tributes on Twitter today.
While a fantastic story, Roots was not without controversy and its release was marred by accusations of plagiarism (proven to be partly true), and doubts cast on the authenticity of the family ties. Today the book is accepted to be a work of fiction, and controversy aside is still a worthy read with an important message.
In 1995, Liu Yongbiao and an accomplice named Wang Mouming robbed a hostel. After being discovered, the two killed a family of three as well as another guest by beating them to death him hammers and clubs in order to cover their tracks. Since the crime, Liu became a famed writer and was even a member of the China Writers’ Association.
For decades, the novel has remained hidden away from scholars and academics, but has finally resurfaced. The story takes place in the Ritz Hotel, Paris, a setting which has appeared in previous Hemingway novels and holds personal significance for the author. The novel is narrated by a character called Robert, who happens to share Hemingway’s own nickname, Papa. Robert and his band of soldiers, who are all due to leave the city the next day, spend their time drinking and debating “the dirty trade of war.”
Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More
Baldwin’s courage, intelligence, and humility steered him past less successful paths and towards a meaningful life as a writer and social commenter. His essays, in collections such as Notes of a Native Son, explored race, sex, and class distinctions in the West. His writings reflected and discussed these issues he faced as a Black man but also ones he faced as a homosexual man.
His life was so full of travel, fascinating people, heartbreaking realisations, and all the while writing about his thoughts and experiences, that it is best to hear it from the man himself. It cannot be contained in a blog alone.
Watch a BBC interview with the great man next, and below find further links to purchase his essays, books, and plays.