Frank O' Connor

Frank O' Connor books and biography

Frank O'Connor

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Born: September 17, 1903
Flag of Ireland Cork City, Ireland
Died: March 10, 1966
Flag of Ireland Dublin, Ireland
Occupation: Short story writer, playwright
Nationality: Irish
Influences: Anton Chekhov
Influenced: Colm Toibin, Julian Barnes

Frank O’Connor (born Michael Francis O'Connor O'Donovan) (September 17, 1903 – March 10, 1966) was an Irish author of over 150 works, who was best known for his short stories and books of memoirs. Born an only child in Cork, Ireland, to Minnie O'Connor and Michael O'Donovan, his early life was marked by his father's alcoholism, indebtness and ill-treatment of his mother.

He has recounted the early years of his life in one of his best books An Only Child, a memoir not published until 1961 but which has the immediacy of a precocious diary. His childhood was shaped in part by his saintly mother, who supplied much of the family's income because his father was unable to keep steady employment due to his drunkenness.

In 1918 he joined the First Brigade of the Irish Republican Army in its resistance to British rule. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and took the Anti-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War which followed. He worked in a small propaganda unit in Cork City. He was subsequently among the twelve thousand anti-Treaty Irish Republicans who were interned by the nascent Irish Free State forces, O'Connor's imprisonment being in Gormanstown camp between 1922 and 1923. Following the war, the polyglot O'Connor took various positions including that of Irish teacher and librarian.

He was perhaps Ireland's most complete man of letters, best known for his varied and comprehensive short stories but also for his work as a noble literary critic, essayist, travel writer, translator and biographer.


From the 1930s to the 1960s he was a prolific writer of short stories, poems, plays, and novellas. His work as an Irish teacher complemented his numerous translations into English of Irish poetry, including his initially banned translation of Cirt an Mhen Oche. Many of O'Connor's writings were based on his own life experiences — his character Larry Delaney in particular. He had a stroke while teaching at Stanford University in 1961, and later died from a heart attack in Dublin, Ireland on March 10, 1966. He was buried in Deansgrange cemetery on March 12, 1966.

See also

  • List of people on stamps of Ireland

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