Novelist, short-story writer, critic, memoirist, broadcaster and journalist: Benedict Kiely (1919-2007) was not only one of the best known but one of the most artistically and culturally distinctive men of letters of his day. His fascination with the island of Ireland, the myths and memories of its people, and the many-voiced quality of its traditions, has secured for him a unique place in the country’s literary history.
His substantial body of fiction and non-fiction is a repository of lore and learning, and amply rewards not only the interest shown in it over many years by his popularity among the general public, but also that of Irish and international literary scholarship.
Strangely, however, despite his renowned reputation and canonical status, Kiely remains a writer whose work has generated surprisingly little secondary literature, academic or otherwise. This charming collection of twelve essays by some of Ireland’s foremost writers and esteemed international critics, in this, his centenary year, will breathe new life into Kiely’s work and place him back where he belongs, at the heart of Irish literature.