Borstal Boy

Softcover sale price: $10.95 (Regularly $18.95)

Published in 1958, and banned in Ireland—the classic memoir of an Irish terrorist, a teenage volunteer in the IRA.

Brendan Behan was arrested at the age of 17 and imprisoned for three years in England, primarily in Borstal (reform school). Released, he was a changed but unrepentant rebel. Borstal Boy is both a riveting self-portrait and a window into the problems, passions, and heartbreak of Ireland’s troubled history.

Without a doubt the most important book of its kind published this century.
New Statesman

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Brendan Behan is widely regarded as one of the great Irish writers and memoirists. He was also an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. In 1954, Behan's first play, The Quare Fellow, was produced in Dublin. It was well received; however, it was the 1956 production at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in Stratford, London, that gained Behan a wider reputation. This was helped by a famous drunken interview on BBC television. In 1958, Behan's play in the Irish language An Giall had its debut at Dublin's Damer Theatre. Later, The Hostage, Behan's English-language adaptation of An Giall, met with great success internationally. Behan's autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy, was published the same year and became a worldwide best-seller.

Benedict Kiely was born in 1919 in Dromore, Northern Ireland. After a stint as a mail clerk and another as a Jesuit prospective, he began working as a part-time journalist for The Weekly Standard newspaper and realized his writerly vocation. He would go on to serve as a literary editor at The Irish Press, a Writer-in-Residence at Emory University and Hollins College, and a visiting professor at the University of Oregon and the University of Delaware, all the while building an impressive body of work that includes short stories, novels, radio plays, and literary criticism. In 1996, at which point he was one of the most beloved authors to come out of Ireland, he was named Saoi of Aosdána, the highest honour given by the Arts Council of Ireland.