The Arts Council has expressed its sadness at the passing of writer and Aosdána member Eugene McCabe.
Speaking today, Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council said: “Colm Tóibín stated of Eugene McCabe that he ‘only produces masterpieces’, and this is true. Writing across every form, he was deeply committed to language and craft, and his powerful work reached an immense audience. Unafraid of complexity and nuance, he chronicled both the political and the personal, with an eye that was at once searing and humane.
Eugene McCabe leaves behind a diverse body of work that will be read, performed and viewed for generations to come.”
He was born in Glasgow in July 1930 to Irish parents. His family returned to Clones in Monaghan in the early forties and Eugene attended University College, Cork.
In the early seventies, he wrote what is probably regarded as his most famous set of works, a trilogy of television plays on the differing traditions in Northern Ireland. The trilogy, broadcast by RTÉ Television in 1973 was titled ‘Victims’ and consisted of ‘Cancer’, ‘Heritage’ and ‘Siege’. ‘Cancer’ won the Writers’ Award in Prague and second prize in the Prix Italia.
His 1992 novel ‘Death and Nightingales’ set in 1883, had become something of a contemporary classic. He had received many awards for his work including the Irish Life Theatre Award in 1964 for ‘King of the Castle’ which was first produced that year by the Dublin Theatre Festival; the Legum Doctorate from University of Prince Edward Island, Canada 1990 and the Butler Literary Award for Prose from Irish American Cultural Institute in 2002. From the American/Irish Ireland Funds, he received the 2006 AWB Vincent Literary Award.
His short fiction included the novella and stories ‘Victims: A Tale from Fermanagh’ (London, Gollancz/Cork, Mercier, 1976); ‘Heritage and Other Stories’ (Gollancz, 1978); ‘Christ in the Fields’, A Fermanagh Trilogy (London, Minerva, 1993); ‘Tales from the Poor House’ (Oldcastle, The Gallery Press, 1999); and’ Heaven Lies about Us’ (London, Cape, 2005).
He lived on a farm in Clones.
Mr McCabe is survived by his wife Margot, his children, Ruth, Marcus, Patrick and Stephen and his 13 grandchildren.
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