09 February 2007: Arts Council regrets the passing of Benedict Kiely

The Arts Council has expressed its regret at the passing of Aosdána member Benedict Kiely who died today.

Speaking today, Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council said "The Council is deeply saddened at the passing of Benedict Kiely who was a major figure in Irish arts and literature. Over six decades he has created a body of work which is impressed indelibly in contemporary literature. His exquisite prose explored and celebrated humanity in all its complexity and intrigue. He was named Saoi of Aosdana in 1996. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his family at this time".

Benedict Kiely was born near Dromore, Co. Tyrone, in 1919, and raised in Omagh, he intended to become a Jesuit priest before starting a career in journalism and fiction writing. Counties of Contention, about the partition of Northern Ireland, appeared in 1945 and was followed by his first novel, Land Without Stars. Other novels include The Cards of the Gambler (1953), Dogs Enjoy the Morning (1968), Proxopera (1977) and Nothing Happens in Carmincross (1985). His collected short stories appeared in 2001; earlier collections include A Journey to the Seven Streams (1963), A Ball of Malt and Madame Butterfly (1973), A Cow in the House (1978), The State of Ireland: A Novella and Seven Short Stories (1980) and A Letter to Peachtree (1987). His novel The Captain with the Whiskers was published by Methuen in hardback in 2004 and in paperback in 2005. He had also published a children's story, several works of criticism on Irish literature and politics, and two memoirs, Drink to the Bird: An Omagh Boyhood (1992), and The Waves Behind Us (1999).

Benedict Kiely had lived in Dublin for almost 70 years.

Issued By: Joe Stuart, Press and Communications Officer Arts Council, Tel 01 6180235

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Yelemba dance troupe from the Ivory Coast - Clonmel Junction Festival.

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