Friday, October 5, 2012

Flann O'Brien Honoured with a Google Doodle

Flann O'Brien's 101st Birthday

Irish novelist, playwright, journalist, satirist, Brian O'Nolan (aka Flann, O'Brien, aka Myles na gCopaleen) has been honoured with a Google Doodle. He is the second Irish author to be served with such an accolade: James Joyce was the subject of the Doodle that commemorated Bloomsday 2004.

Although born in Strabane in Co Tyrone the author O'Nolan was a well known character in Dublin during his lifetime. He attended University College Dublin. His parental home was in Blackrock and he lived for most of his life at various addresses in South Dublin.

The various pseudonyms he employed throughout his literary career were due to restrictions placed upon him in his role as a civil servant. His father's early death meant that he was obliged to support a large family of brothers and sisters. He himself died childless. The position of civil servant was both prestigious and well-paid in Ireland of the time, which was largely poor and agrarian. Regulations and internal culture of the Irish civil service meant that senior officers were prohibited from publicly expressing views on political, controversial or sensitive matters. O'Nolan "was, indeed, forced to retire from the civil service in 1953." [Source: Wikipedia]

Today his works are widely read and celebrated, captivating succeeding generations. He is particularly remembered for his novels that include At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman, An Béal Bocht. He was the subject of an international conference in Vienna in 2011 from which an International Flann O'Brien Society has been established.

Closer to home, the inaugural Flann OBrien Literary Festival will take place over the weekend of Friday 12th and Saturday 13th October in O'Nolan's native Strabane and neighbouring town of Lifford. Full details including programme of events are available here.

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