David Marcus, who was born in 1924 in County Cork, was an Irish Jewish editor and writer who was a lifelong advocate and editor of Irish fiction.
Marcus was the much-loved editor of numerous anthologies of Irish fiction and poetry, including the Phoenix Irish Short Stories collections.
He founded the magazines Irish Writing and Poetry Ireland and edited both from Cork in the late 40s and throughout the 50s, publishing stories from writers as diverse as Edith Somerville and Liam O’Flaherty.
Personal circumstances led to a move to London where he lived for 13 years but he returned in the 1960s where he started New Irish Writing, a sort of continuum to Irish Writing, but this time the stories were published each week in The Irish Press. This provided a forum for aspiring Irish authors, publishing most of the most important names in Irish fiction and provided a forum for aspiring Irish authors, publishing most of the most important names in Irish fiction, many for the first time. Among these writers would be Anne Enright, Neil Jordan, Claire Keegan, John McGahern, Bernard MacLaverty, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Joseph O’Connor and Colm Tóibín. He was, in the words of Fintan O’Toole “the single most important literary editor in Ireland in the second half of the 20th century”.
His first published work was “Six Poems” in 1952 and in 1954 he published “To the Next Year in Jerusalem”. In 1986, he published A Land Not Theirs, a fictionalized account of the experiences of the Cork Jewish community during the Irish War of Independence, which was a bestseller. In 1987, his second novel, which drew on his experiences among the Cork Jewish community, A Land in Flames, was also a popular success. In 2001, Marcus published Oughtobiography – Leaves from the Diary of a Hyphenated Jew, an autobiographical review of his life as an Irish Jew and as a leading Irish literary figure.
On 3 June 2005, he was awarded an honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature by the National University of Ireland, U.C.C.
Marcus, who died on 9 May 2009, was married to fellow Irish novelist, Ita Daly, and lived in Rathgar in Dublin.
Six Poems; To Next Year in Jerusalem; Cúirt an Mheán Oíche (Translation);
A Land Not Theirs; A Land in Flames; Who Ever Heard of an Irish Jew & Other Stories;
Oughtobiography — Leaves from the Diary of a Hyphenated Jew;
Buried Memories; Cork: Lost and Found – Selected Poems and Translations.
WORKS EDITED by David Marcus
Irish Writing 1946 – 1954;
Irish Poetry 1948-1954
He also edited over 30 books of Irish Short Stories.