Tributes have been pouring in for the writer, John B Keane, who has died at his home in Listowel County Kerry, aged 73.

Keane was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1994 and his condition had deteriorated in recent days. He died this morning.

Keane wrote 18 plays and 32 works of prose and poetry.

His first break came in 1959 when the Listowel Drama Group won first prize at the All-Ireland Amateur Drama Festival with his play, 'Sive'. The play had already been rejected by the Abbey Theatre but the directors there subsequently relented.

Further international acclaim followed with 'Big Maggie', which played for 63 nights on Broadway in 1982, and 'The Field', which was made into a film starring Richard Harris and Brenda Fricker.

The author and raconteur was born in Listowel in July, 1928. His love of literature came from his father, a primary school teacher, while his mother’s support for Michael Collins gave rise to her son’s life-long support for Fine Gael.

Keane spent several childhood summers with relations in the nearby Stack Mountains where, he said, he was "half-reared, half-dragged up and countrified".

The small pub which he ran in Listowel with his wife Mary also provided him with the valuable insights from which he drew to become one of Ireland’s most prolific literary figures in the second half of the 20th century.

John B Keane will be buried in Listowel.