Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Flann O’Brien

Flann O’Brien, born Brian Ó Nualláin in Strabane, Co Tyrone, is one of the great comic voices of Irish literature. Writing under various guises – the most famous being Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen – O’Nolan produced some of the most funny and radical writing in modern Irish literature. A scathing satirist, a punning fantasist, and a fiercely experimental spirit O’Nolan was the author of at least two novels can justifiably be described as ‘must reads’. He was admired by writers of the stature of Joyce, Beckett, Graham Greene, Dylan Thomas and Anthony Burgess, and his work is now enjoying a recognition, both commercial and critical, which often remained elusive during his life – The Third Policeman, for example, was published posthumously, despite having been finished in 1940.

His influence, like his work, is broad showing up everywhere from stand-up-comedy through to science fiction. His work was featured in the tv series Lost, and he has entered the illustrious list of authors that Google has chosen to celebrate with a doodle!. We love Flann O’Brien’s work, and collect articles, links and resources related to it here.

Flann O'Brien at a glance

  • Born October 5th 1911 in Strabane, Co Tyrone
  • 1934 Sets up and contributes to the magazine Blather
  • 1935 Joins the Irish Civil Service
  • 1939 At-Swim-Two-Birds published
  • 1940 One of the lesser known calamities of WWII - Hitler bombs the warehouse containing unsold copies of At-Swim-Two-Birds
  • 1940 - The Third Policeman finished, but rejected by O'Brien's publishers. He then shelved the book, which was only published, after his death, in 1967
  • 1940 - Starts writing his Cruiskeen Lawn column, under the pseudonym Myles na gCopaleen, for the Irish times
  • 1941 - An béal Bocht is published. An english translation, The Poor Mouth is published in 1964
  • 1943 - Faustus Kelly - a play opens and closes after just 11 performances on the Abbey stage.
  • 1961 - The Hard Life a novel, with dediation to Graham Greene, is published
  • 1964 - The Dalkey Archive, his final novel, is published
  • 1966 - April Fool's Day Flann O'Brien dies
  • The Third Policeman is published.