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Malachy McCourt
Malachy McCourt

Bestselling Author, Actor and
"Professional Irishman"

NYS Writers Institute, March 11, 2003
8:00 p.m. Reading | Page Hall, 135 Western Ave.,
Downtown Campus

Though Malachy McCourt — brother of Frank McCourt — first became a published author at age 66 with his bestselling memoir, A Monk Swimming (1998), he has long been admired as a teller of tall tales, salty jokes, and personal anecdotes of growing up poor in Limerick, Ireland. Among other things, he has been a longshoreman, an actor, a radio talk show host and a "professional Irishman" as one reviewer dubbed him. McCourt also owned New York City's first single's bar, Malachy's, a hangout frequented by such Broadway starts as Grace Kelly, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton. As an actor, McCourt appeared in the films Reversal of Fortune (199), Bonfires of the Vanities (1990), and She's the One (1996). He currently plays Father Daniel Meehan on the HBO TV prison drama Oz.

Voices of IrelandAs an author, McCourt is most recently the editor of Voices of Ireland (September 2002), a collection of classic short works by Ireland's best writers of the last three centuries, from Jonathan Swift to Oscar Wilde to James Joyce. The book is a tribute to the writers whose works educated McCourt after he dropped out of school at age 13. "Reading was the savior," he told e-zine Literary Liaisons, "the window on the world for Frank and myself."

mccourt_danny_boy.gif - 5072 BytesAlso new for this year is Danny Boy: The Beloved Irish Ballad (2002), a history of one of the best-known songs in the Western world. McCourt lavishes on the song, "The kind of attention devoted to sacred texts" say Christopher Brennan of the Library Journal.

"highly entertaining and idiosyncratically informative" - Publisher's Weekly

A Monk SwimmingOther recent publications include Singing My Him Song (2000), the sequel to his memoir A Monk Swimming, and the book of photographs, Through Irish Eyes: A Visual Companion to Angela McCourt's Ireland. A reviewer for Publisher's Weekly said that in Singing My Him Song, "A surprisingly tender McCourt disarms the reader with his openness and dexterous touch in this winning sequel. . ."

At the time of the publication of A Monk Swimming (1998), Malachy McCourt made no apology for cashing in on the success of his better-known brother Frank's own bestselling memoir, Angela's Ashes (1996). "They say what I did was ego-driven and name-dropping," he told the New York Times. "Damn right it is. Who am I going to write about? People I don't know?" Malachy credits the $600,000 advance he received for his memoirs as one of the book's primary inspirations. "It's amazing how money can persuade you to overcome indolence," he told the online magazine Literary Liaisons.

A Monk Swimming is an account of Malachy' adventures as a young immigrant in the United States. The book spent six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. People Magazine called it, "Irresistible. . .equal parts pathos and belly laughs." The Cleveland Plain Dealer said, "A Monk Swimming is a delight, not just as a successor to Angela's Ashes, but on terms entirely its own."

Malachy McCourt is also the author with his brother Frank of a stageplay, A Couple of Blaguards, written in the 1980s. A precursor of later work by both McCourts, the play tells the tale of two Irish brothers, from their Limerick boyhoods to their American misadventures. Malachy has played himself in several productions of the play.

3irishtenors2.gif - 16899 BytesThree new Irish tenors:
Bill Kennedy, Joe Gagen, Malachy McCourt





Additional Links:
Writers Online Magazine Article
Malachy McCourt Home Page
A Couple of Blaguards

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.