About this title:
"Seosamh Mac Grianna: Mireanna Saoil" is the biography of enigmatic Donegal writer Seosamh Mac Grianna. Seosamh Mac Grianna was born in Rann na Feirste in Co. Donegal and is considered the greatest Irish-language writer of Ulster. He was the son of Phillip Greene, described as the greatest storyteller in the area, and his wife Mary, a woman renowned for her intellect. Mac Grianna was clearly a clever child and stood out from his peers from an early age but he was also unconventional and as such clashed with school authorities on many occasions throughout his education. He trained as a teacher in St Patrick's College in Drumcondra and worked as a teacher for several years before giving it up in 1928 to concentrate solely on his writing.His experience of life as a writer was not entirely positive. Although his writing was widely praised for its excellence, he was constantly frustrated by his dealings with An Gum, his publishers, who were slow to commit to publishing some of his work and similarly slow to pay him for it. Nonetheless he attempted, and succeeded, in his writing to forge a new type of literature in Irish, one which combined the vibrant language of the Gaeltacht with modern ideas. In 1935, at the age of thirty-five, his writing career came to an end with the autobiographical "Mo Bhealach Fein" and the unfinished novel "Da mBiodh Ruball ar an Ean". In a telling footnote to the work he states: 'The well ran dry in the summer, 1935. I will write no more. I did my best and I don't care.'Mac Grianna's life was a tragic one. The traits which made him a great writer - a fiercely independent, enquiring mind and an unwillingness to bow to convention or to compromise - also contributed to his marginalization. Throughout his life he remained a wandered and an outsider. His wife and son both committed suicide within a short space of time and he spent the last thirty-one years of his life in St Conall's psychiatric hospital in Letterkenny. In "Seosamh Mac Grianna: Mireanna Saoil" O Muiri describes Mac Grianna's life in detail, from his youth in Rann na Feirste to his last years in Letterkenny, including extracts from newspaper stories about him, reviews of his work and extracts from Mac Grianna's personal papers, giving us an intriguing portrayal of one of Irish literature's most brilliant and most elusive figures.
About the Author:
Pol O Muiri is from Belfast and is Irish-language editor of The Irish Times. His other published works include a collection of short stories, Snagcheol (Lagan Press, 2002), and A Flight from Shadow: The Life & Work of Seosamh Mac Grianna (Lagan Press, 1999), as well as fiction for adult learners, and poetry.
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