The Collected Stories of Benedict Kiely

Among the best writers this company has published is Ireland’s Benedict Kiely. His first book to be released in this country, The State of Ireland, received a front page New York Times Book Review notice in which Guy Davenport wrote, “The first meaning of ‘the state of Ireland’ is that it’s a place where stories are still told, deliciously and by masters of the art, of whom Benedict Kiely is one, perhaps the foremost.”

This collection was followed by novels, story collections and a separate printing of what William Kennedy called “a small masterpiece,” Proxopera , Kiely’s moving and memorable anti-war fable (which, especially in these times, bears reading and re-reading).

This treasure chest of a book, containing his complete short stories and novellas, spans forty years, and introduces another generation to one of the great prose stylists of our age: a man who possesses “a unique voice,” and whose “technique is so good as to be invisible.” This edition includes some sixteen stories never published before in the USA, a new introduction by the author, as well as his afterword to Proxopera.

“He is, quite simply, the finest writer out of Ireland today. Funny, ribald, heartbreaking.”
Publishers Weekly

“Kiely is a master. . . . The collection ends with the novella Proxopera, a tale that is the finest work of art to emerge from the current Irish troubles.”
Newsday

“Kiely is a unique voice…his technique is so good as to be invisible and the reader shares his relish in telling whimsical stories and telling them well.”
The [London] Times

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.