Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is the day to wear green, celebrate Irish roots, and immerse yourself in Irish culture. Through Irish writers, present and past, this culture lives on all over the world. They communicate their vision and life experiences through the written word. Here’s a look at some of Ireland’s most famous authors:
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin as the second of three children to his parents, Sir William and Jane Wilde. His mother, under the pseudonym “Speranza” wrote poetry for the revolutionary group “Young Irelanders.” She read her work to her children, instilling a love for poetry at a young age. It worked. Wilde was famous for his eclectic variety of literary ventures. He was a playwright, essayist, and poet. In the early 1890s, he became a standout for his plays, although he was most well-known for his novel, Pictures of Dorian Gray. The work was born from his refined ideas involving the supremacy of art and was written as a series of dialogues and essays.
C.S. Lewis (1898- 1963)
Though you may only think of C.S. Lewis’s children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, when I bring up this name, he was involved in so much more. Lewis was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. But before all of that he was just a boy born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898, questioning the religion he was forced to take part in. It’s hard to believe that young Lewis at the age of 15 claimed he was an atheist. Today, he is known as the most influential Christian writer of the twentieth century. Surprisingly, we have his good friend and fellow Christian J.R.R. Tolkien to thank for dragging him back into the fold. Many credit Lewis’s history as his key to success; he understood the struggles that come with religion and didn’t follow it blindly his whole life. He could speak to struggling believers and relate to them.
Anne Enright (1962 – Present)
Anne Enright is another Irish literary She’s has published novels, short stories, essays, and a nonfiction book. Her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize. Her other awards include The Rooney Prize for Irish Authors in 1991, The Encore Award in 2008, and the Irish Novel of the Year in 2008. Before writing, Enright worked as a television producer and director of RTE in Dublin for six years, produced a television program called Nighthawks for four more, then worked in children’s television. It wasn’t until 1993 that she became a full-time writer rather than just writing at night after she left work. Thank goodness she decided to write permanently.