Thomas Kilroy
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Thomas Kilroy

Thomas F. Kilroy (born 23 September 1934) is an Irish playwright and novelist.[1]

He was born in Green Street, Callan, County Kilkenny and studied at University College, Dublin. In his early career he was play editor at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. In the 1980s, he sat on the board of Field Day Theatre Company, founded by Brian Friel and Stephen Rea in 1980, and was Director of its touring company.

In 1978, Kilroy was appointed Professor of English at University College Galway,[2] a post from which he resigned in 1989 to concentrate on writing.

Kilroy now lives in County Mayo and is a member of the Irish Academy of Letters, the Royal Society of Literature, and Aosdána.

The Thomas KIlroy Collection, his personal archive, was deposited at Galway University's James Hardiman Library; Kilroy addressed the launch event in March 2011, which was attended by, amongst others, Brian Friel and the future President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.[3]

Awards and honours


  • The Death and Resurrection of Mr Roche, The Dublin Theatre Festival, 1968. Published by Faber & Faber, Grove Press, 1968;
  • The O'Neill, The Peacock Theatre, Dublin, 1969. Published by The Gallery Press, Oldcastle, Co Meath, 1995;
  • Talbot's Box, The Peacock, 1973. Published by The Gallery Press/Delaware, Proscenium Press, 1979;
  • Sex and Shakespheare, The Abbey, 1976. Revised edition published by The Gallery Press, 1998;
  • Double Cross, Field Day Theatre Company, 1986. Published by Faber & Faber, 1986. Translated into French as Double jeu by Alexandra Poulain, 1996;
  • The Madame MacAdam Travelling Theatre, The Field Day Theatre Company, 1992. Published by Methuen, 1992;
  • The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, The Abbey, 1997 and Melbourne Festival 1998. Published by The Gallery Press, 1997;
  • Blake, 2001. Published by The Gallery Press, 2015;
  • The Shape of Metal, The Peacock, 2003. Published by The Gallery Press;
  • My Scandalous Life, 2004. Published by The Gallery Press;
  • Christ Deliver Us!, 2010, Abbey Theatre.[4]



  • The Big Chapel, Faber & Faber, 1971; Liberties Press, 2009. This novel was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize, 1971 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
  • Sean O'Casey: a Collection of Critical Essays, Ed., Prentice Hall, 1975, ISBN 0-13-628941-X

Pieces for Radio

  • The Door, BBC Radio 4, 27 October 1967;
  • That Man Bracken, BBC Radio 3, 20 June 1986;
  • The Colleen and the Cowboy, RTÉ Radio, Prod. Kate Minogue, 11 September 2005.

Pieces for Television

  • Farmers, Radio Telefís Éireann, 1978;
  • Gold in the Streets, 1993;
  • The Black Joker.

Academic Works

  • Satirical elements in the prose of Thomas Nashe. Thesis (M.A.), University College Dublin, 1959.
  • "Mervyn Wall: The Demands of Satire". JSTOR 30098954. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • "Groundwork for an Irish Theatre". JSTOR 30103597. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • "Reading and Teaching the Novel". JSTOR 30087248. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • The Outsider., The Irish Times 16 April 1971.
  • Synge and Modernism., in J. M. Synge Centenary Papers. 1971. Ed. Maurice Harmon. Dublin. Dolmen Press, 1972. 167-79.
  • Synge the Dramatist., Mosaic 5.1 (1972): 9-16.
  • Tellers of Tales., Times Literary Supplement. 17 March 1972: 301-02.
  • The Writer's Group in Galway., The Irish Times. 8 April 1976.
  • Two Playwrights: Yeats and Beckett., Myth and Reality in Irish Literature. Ed. Joseph Ronsley. Toronto: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1977. 183-95.
  • "Anglo-Irish Playwrights and Comic Tradition". JSTOR 30059621. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • The Moon and the Yellow River : Denis Johnson's Shavianism., Denis Johnson : A Retrospective. Joseph Ronsley Ed. Irish Literary Studies 8. Gerrards Cross, Bucks : Colin Smythe, 1981 ; Totawa, New Jersey : Barnes and Noble, 1982. 49 - 58.
  • The Irish Writer: Self and Society, 1950-1980., Literature and the Changing Ireland. Irish Literary Studies 9. Ed. Peter Connolly. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1982. 175-87.
  • The Anglo-Irish., The Irish Times. 7 December 1983.
  • Goldsmith the Playwright., Goldsmith, the Gentle Master. Ed. Sean Lucy. Cork: Cork University Press, 1984. 66-77.
  • Brecht, Beckett, and Williams., Sagetrieb 3.2 (Fall 1984): 81-87.
  • The Autobiographical Novel., The Genius of Irish Prose. Augustine Martin Ed. Thomas Davis Lecture Series. Dublin : Mercier Press in collaboration with Radio Telefís Éireann, 1985. 65-75.
  • Ireland's Pseudo-Englishman. , Magill 11.5 January 1988 : 52-54.
  • Reassessment. Thomas Kilroy on J.M. Synge : The Complex Creator of a Closed World., The Irish Times 29 April 1989.
  • Secularized Ireland., Culture in Ireland : Division and Diversity ? Proceedings of the Cultures of Ireland Group Conference, 27-28 September 1991. Ed. Edna Longley. Belfast : Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast, 1991. 135 - 141.
  • "A Generation of Playwright". JSTOR 25484471. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Theatrical Text and Literary Text., The Achievement of Brian Friel. Ed. Alan J. Peacock. Gerrard's Cross: Bucks, Colin Smythe, 1993. 91-102.
  • Some Irish Poems of Yeats,, Eibei-Bungaku. Koka Women's University, 11.3 (March 1994) : 41 - 53.
  • The Literary Tradition of Irish Drama., Anglistentag 1994 graz : Proceedings. W. Rioehle, H. Keiper edc. Tübingen : Niemeyer, 1995. 7 - 15.
  • John Bull's Other Island : Shaw's Irish Play. , Banado Sho Kenkyu. Vol. 3, 1995, 11.1 1-20.
  • Chekhov and the Irish., Program Note. Chekhov's Uncle Vanya adapt. Frank McGuinness. Field Day Theatre Company. 1995.
  • From Page to Stage., Irish Writers and Their Creative Process. Ed. Jacqueline Genet and Wynne Hellegouarc'h. Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1996. 55-62.
  • The Anglo-Irish Theatrical Imagination., Bullan, an Irish Studies journal 3.2 (Winter 1997/ Spring 1998), 5 - 12.
  • "Friendship". JSTOR 25511532. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • The Seagull, an Adaptation., The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov. Ed. Vera Gottlieg and Paul Allain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 80-90.
  • The Wildean Triangle., What Revels Are in Hand ? Assessment of Contemporary Drama in English in Honor of W. Lippke. B. Reitz, H. Stahl, eds.
  • Contemporary Drama in English., (CDE Studies) 8 Trier : WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2001. 47 - 55.


Works about Thomas Kilroy


  • Guardian Fiction Prize, 1971;
  • Heinemann Award for Literature;
  • AIB Literary Prize;
  • American-Irish Foundation Award for Literature;
  • Rockefeller Foundation Residency;
  • Kyoto University Foundation Fellowship;
  • Prix Nikki Special Commendation;
  • Lifetime Achievement, Irish Times / ESB Theatre Award, 2004.


  1. ^ Friel, Brian (3 May 2008). "Back - due to popular demand". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ "Drama at NUI Galway: 1960s - 1970s". Archived from the original on 14 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Thomas Kilroy Collection". Retrieved 2018. Shortly after 1 minute 40 seconds into the video, Lionel Pilkington introduces Kilroy as, among other things, "a former Professor of English at this university".
  4. ^ Meany, Helen (22 February 2010). "Christ Deliver Us!". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011.

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