John Brendan Keane was a playwright, novelist and essayist from Listowel, Co Kerry. He was one of Ireland’s finest (and wittiest) playwrights. His many works include: Many Young Men of Twenty, Sive, The Year of the Hiker, The Field and Big Maggie.
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 wife Mary passed away on 15 August 2015. She was a great support to John B throughout his career and he often credited her with being his greatest inspiration. Since John B’s death Mary had continued to promote his work by attending new productions of plays all over the country. She was also a leader in the establishment of Áras Mhuire, a community nursing home in Listowel.
His nephew is the 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.
John B Keane on Drink: https://youtu.be/mKIqNTJ-yus
Photo: Statue of John B. Keane in Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland. The plaque below the statue reads ‘John B Keane Playwright and Author 1928 – 2002’.