author spotlight

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

ShakespeareIn the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death his plays are still as relevant as when they were written. Audiences still come to the theatre to experience his classic historical plays and his comedies; his work is still on the school curriculum.

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon at some time between April and July 1564, William Shakespeare went on to write some of the best known and most beloved texts of English language literature. Primarily a playwright Shakespeare moved to London about 1592 where his career as actor, playwright and theatre manager at the Globe Theatre ensured his place in the English canon. Between about 1590 and 1613, he wrote at least 37 plays and collaborated on many more. He had an appreciative audience at court, but he was also successful in the public playhouses. Shakespeare returned to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1613, where he died three years later on 23 April 1616.

Miguel de Cervantes 1547-1616

Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraMiguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born in the university town of Alcalá de Henares, about 30 km north east of Madrid in Spain, on 29 September 1547. He is considered Spain’s greatest literary figure, his History and Adventures of Don Quixote has had a worldwide influence and has been translated into scores of languages. He led a colourful life, as a combatant in the naval Battle of Lepanto (1571) he was wounded and lost the use of his left hand. In 1575 he was captured by pirates and held captive for over five years. He died in Madrid on 22 April 1616, 400 years ago this month.
Right: Miguel de Cervantes (view larger image)

Cervantes earned his living as a novelist and dramatist, supplemented by some government employment. His first novel La Galatea was published in 1585, a collection of his short stories was published as Novelas ejemplares in 1613, and 16 of his plays have survived. The first of two parts of his masterpiece, Don Quixote, was published to popular acclaim in 1605, when the author was almost 60, the second part was published in 1615, the year before his death.

Author Spotlight #2 - Ali Smith

Ali SmithThe name Ali Smith crossed my path twice this morning, so I thought why not feature this Scottish author in our second 'Author Spotlight'? She is a contemporary author of some standing after all, one the UK Guardian has recently termed "a national treasure".

Author Spotlight #1 - Michael Morpurgo

Michael MorpurgoWe decided to kick off our new series of regular blog posts on individual authors by putting the spotlight on that most prolific and popular of children's authors, Michael Morpurgo. A decision heavily influenced I might add by Michael's presence in Ireland right now to attend a big family event in the Concert Hall in Cork this evening.  Michael could be heard on RTE radio's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' show yesterday morning when he was interviewed by Claire Byrne. If you missed it, you can listen to the interview online (c.16 minutes in length).

Right: Michael Morpurgo (Source)

The Leitrim Fancy

McGahernPop Zeus found himself in lovely Leitrim last weekend for the opening of the John McGahern Summer School, run by Dr John Kenny of NUI, Galway.

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