John B. Keane

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John B. Keane
Born John Brendan Keane
(1928-07-21)21 July 1928
Church Street, Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland
Died 30 May 2002(2002-05-30) (aged 73)
Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Education St Michael's College, Listowel
Spouse Mary O'Connor
Child(ren) Billy Keane
Conor Keane
John Keane
Joanna Keane
Notable work(s) The Field, Sive
Awards Honorary Life Member of the Royal Dublin Society

John Brendan Keane (21 July 1928 – 30 May 2002) was an Irish playwright, novelist and essayist from Listowel, County Kerry.


A son of a national school teacher, William B. Keane, and his wife Hannah Purtill, Keane was educated at Listowel National School and then at St Michael's College, Listowel. He worked as a chemist's assistant for A.H. Jones who dabbled in buying antiques. Keane had various jobs in the UK between 1951 and 1955, and was a pub owner in Listowel from 1955.

He married Mary O'Connor in 1955 and had four children: Billy, Conor, John and Joanna. He was an Honorary Life Member of the Royal Dublin Society from 1991, served as president of Irish PEN and was a founder member of the Society of Irish Playwrights as well as a member of Aosdána. He remained a prominent member of the Fine Gael party throughout his life, never being shy of political debate.

His nephew is the award-winning investigative journalist Fergal Keane. His son John is a journalist with the Kilkenny People while his son, Billy regularly writes a column for the Irish Independent.

Awards and honours

List of works

  • Many Young Men of Twenty (1946)
  • Sive (1959)
  • Sharon's Grave (1960)
  • The Highest House on the Mountain (1961)
  • The Man From Clare (1962)
  • The Year of the Hiker (1963)
  • The Field (1965)
  • Hut 42 (1968)
  • The Rain at the End of the Summer (1968)
  • Big Maggie (1969)
  • The One-Way Ticket (1972)
  • Values (1973)
  • The Change in Mame Fadden (1973)
  • Letters of a Matchmaker (1975)
  • The Buds of Ballybunion (1979)
  • The Chastitute (1981)
  • Man of the Triple Name (1984)
  • The Bodhran Makers (1986)
  • The Contractors (1988)
  • Moll (1991)
  • The Ram of God and Other Stories (1992)
  • Durango: A Novel (1992)
  • Faoiseamh
  • Pishogue
  • The Crazy Wall
  • No More in Dust