"The Irish aren't my audience, they’re my raw material..." Words from author, playwright and rebel Brendan Behan, who was born on the 9th of February 1923.
Arena with Sean Rocks marked the centenary of his birth, by looking at the literary legacy of the proverbial 'drinker with a writing problem.’
There were many faces of Behan; his radical family background, his early days of imprisonment in borstal for being in the IRA, his beginnings as a writer, and his eventual success with his plays The Quare Fella and The Hostage on Broadway and London’s West End. His 1958 book Borstal Boy saw Behan exploit his incomparable command of the oral style of Dublin to produce a portrait of the artist as a prisoner of national prejudice. He had become one of Ireland’s most recognisable literary exports. But he had his demons too and died tragically at the young age of 41 after years of heavy drinking.
Listen back to this Arena special where Sean was joined by historian Donal Fallon, playwright and director Peter Sheridan and musicians Daoirí Farrell, Anne Buckley and Macdara Yeates...