Selected Stories: Benedict Kiely
Selected Stories: Benedict Kiely
‘Ben Kiely was — and therefore is — one of the great voices of twentieth-century literature, not just in Ireland but all over the world. That his stories survive, and indeed thrive, is a tribute to the power of literature. When it comes to storytelling there is really no such thing as an end, because the stories keep unfolding and influencing. Put him up there on the shelf alongside Joyce, Beckett, McGahern, O'Brien. With this version of Selected Stories, watch him develop a whole new readership."
Selected Stories gathers together some of the best examples of the work of Benedict Kiely – a gifted man of letters who would have turned 100 in August 2019. From 'Soldier, Red Soldier' and 'A Ball of Malt and Madame Butterfly' to 'A Letter to Peachtree', these stories sing in the unforgettable voice of an Irish master who inspired, and will continue to inspire, generations of readers and writers alike.
The stories in this volume have a great deal taken from Ben's own experiences both abroad and at home in Ireland. Kiely captures various moments in Irish and American culture, many heavily influenced by his time as a lecturer in Georgia, writer-in-residence in Virginia, and as a reporter for the Irish Press.
Ben Forkner, who edited the Selected Stories, recently retired as Professor of English at the University of Angers in France, where he founded the Journal of the Short Story thirty years ago. He has written many essays on writers from Ireland and the American South, and has edited a dozen anthologies, including Modern Irish Short Stories (Penguin), A New Book of Dubliners (Methuen), Stories of the Modern South (Penguin) and Louisiana Stories (Pelican). His most recent books include Cajun (a study of the Louisiana photographer Fonville Winans), and a new edition of John James Audubon's journals, Selected Journals and Other Writings, for Penguin Nature Classics. His afterword, 'The Long Way Round', for this selection of Benedict Kiely's stories was first presented as a talk at the Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend in Omagh.
Benedict Kiely, novelist, short story writer, journalist, broadcaster and lecturer, was born in Dromore, County Tyrone in 1919 and raised in Omagh. After graduating from University College Dublin in 1943, Kiely settled in Dublin and began what was to be a long and prolific writing career. By 1945 he was a full-time critic for the Irish Independent and had also published his first book, Counties of Contention, a non-fiction account of the partition of Ireland. His first novel, Land Without Stars, was published shortly afterwards and was followed by a steady flow of highly praised novels and short-story collections, including The Cards of the Gambler (1953), There Was an Ancient House (1955), The Captain with the Whiskers (1960), A Journey to the Seven Streams (1963), A Ball of Malt and Madame Butterfly (1973), Proxpera (1977), The State of Ireland (1985) and God's Own Country (1993), as well as numerous works of non-fiction and two volumes of memoirs, Drink to the Bird (1991) and The Waves Behind Us (1999). Kiely lectured and taught widely across Ireland and the United States, and was Literary Editor of the Irish Press and a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the Irish Times. A recipient of the Award for Literature from the Irish Academy of Letters, and member of Aosdána, he passed away in 2007.