Brain Friel was an Irish playwright and author. He is recognized as one of Ireland’s greatest writers (sometimes referred to as the “Irish Chekhov”) and published 24 plays throughout his career. Much of Friel's work is set in Ballybeg, an imaginary town that Friel set in Donegal, Northern Ireland.
He began working as a math teacher, before leaving the profession in 1960 to pursue a writing career. Shortly after this, Friel had his first hit with the play Philadelphia, Here I Come! (1964). It transferred to Broadway in 1966 and earned Friel his first Tony nomination for Best Play. Friel repeated his success on Broadway three years later with Lovers (which also earned a Tony nomination) and many of his plays crossed over the ocean from Dublin to the Great White Way throughout his career. Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) finally won Friel a Tony Award for Best Play, as well as an Olivier Award. It was made into a film starring Meryl Streep in 1998.
Friel co-founded the Field Day Theatre Company in 1980 with actor Stephen Rea and his play Translations was the first production. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the British Royal Society of Literature, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2006. Friel died in 2015, aged 86. 160 boxes of his manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, and papers are now housed at the National Library of Ireland.
More about Brian Friel