Seán Ó Faoláin was born on 22 February 1900 and died in 20 April 1991.
Born John Francis Whelan in Cork City, Sean Ó Faoláin wrote his first stories in the 1920s. Through ninety stories, written over a period of sixty years, Ó Faoláin charts the development of modern Ireland. His Collected Stories were published in 1983, eight years before his death in Dublin in 1991.
Ó Faoláin was educated at the Presentation Brothers Secondary School in Cork. He fought in the War of Independence. He received M.A. degrees from the National University of Ireland and from Harvard University, was a Commonwealth Fellow from 1926 to 1928 and a Harvard Fellow from 1928 to 1929. He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1986.
From 1929 to 1933 Ó Faoláin lectured at St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, during which period he wrote his first two books.
He served as director of the Arts Council of Ireland from 1956 to 1959, and from 1940 to 1990 he was a founder member and editor of the Irish literary periodical The Bell. The list of contributors to The Bell included many of Ireland’s foremost writers, among them Patrick Kavanagh, Patrick Swift, Flann O’Brien, Frank O’Connor and Brendan Behan.
Seán Ó Faoláin married Eileen Gould, a children’s writer, in 1929. Their daughter Julia Ó Faoláin was born in 1932 and is a Booker-nominated novelist and short-story writer. Their son Stephen was born in 1938.
His works include:
Midsummer Night Madness and Other Stories; The Man Who Invented Sin;
The Heat of the Sun, Stories and Tales; The Talking Trees; Foreign Affairs, and Other Stories; Selected Stories; Collected Stories of Sean O’Faolain.
A Nest of Simple Folk; Bird Alone; Come Back to Erin; And Again?
The Autobiography of Theobald Wolfe Tone; A Life of Daniel O’Connell;
Newman’s Way: The Odyssey of John Henry Newman
The Great O’Neill, a biography,of Hugh O’Neill
He also wrote magazine articles: “A New Ireland”; travel books: An Autumn in Italy;
literary criticisms:The Short Story and The Vanishing Hero; a memoir: Vive Moi!