John B. Keane, dramatist, novelist, poet, short story writer and raconteur was born on July 21, 1928, in Listowel, Co Kerry where he still resides in his much frequented public house. Big Maggie was penned in 1969 and gave theatre audiences one of its strongest characters, Big Maggie Polpin. Moll, a comedy, was written in 1971 and was another box office smash. His first play, Sive was presented by the Listowel Drama Group and won the All Ireland Drama Festival in 1959. This folk tale with its haunting characters made an enormous impact on the national psyche. It was followed in 1960 by Sharon's Grave, another love story twisted around a local legend. His next plays dealt with elements of change in rural Ireland at that time. Many Young Men of Twenty (1961) was a musical which tackled the issue of emigration and provided Keane with a hit single. The Man From Clare followed in 1962, Hut 42 in 62 and the Year of The Hiker in 1963. The Field came in 1965 and was subsequently adapted for the screen by Noel Pearson in 1996 with Richard Harris playing Bull McCabe. Next came The Crazy Wall in 1974 and another musical, The Buds of Ballybunion in 1976. One play, written in 1991, remains unproduced and unpublished, The Vigilante. It deals with the thorny issue of the ban on young men playing 'foreign games' they were already playing GAA. John B. Keane is member of Aosdana and the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including honorary doctorates from Trinity College, and Marymount, Manhattan College and Limerick University.
Last update:January 2, 2007 at 21:27:27 UTC