Tribute to acclaimed author, playwright and poet JP Donleavy

14 September 2017

It is with deep sadness that the College community today learned of the death of JP Donleavy. The acclaimed American born author, playwright and poet had a long standing relationship with Trinity.

Born in Brooklyn, he came from New York to Trinity to study science and lived mostly in Ireland since then. He was part of the group of young Irish writers who in late-1940’s Dublin came to form what would later be regarded as the vanguard of modern Irish literature.

JP Donleavy developed a wide canon of work, including ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’ and more latterly, he scripted and starred in a televisual paean to his Ireland, ‘In All Her Sins and Graces’.

But it is his novel ‘The Ginger Man’, drawn loosely on his experiences at Trinity, for which he will best be remembered. In 1955 this seminal work caused such a furore that it was banned outright in both the US and Ireland. ‘The Ginger Man’ is universally acknowledged as being in the top 100 Novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library. It is also a multi-million selling book and cult classic. 

In June 2016 JP Donleavy was conferred with an honorary doctorate in Letters (Litt.D) by Trinity College Dublin.

Trinity wishes to extend its condolences to his family and friends.

*Photo caption: JP Donleavy (right) is pictured with physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Professor Peter Higgs (left) and Joe Veselsky (centre), Trinity’s oldest student, at an honorary degree ceremony in Trinity in June 2016.

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