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Liam O'Flaherty

Liam O'Flaherty (also known as Liam Ó Flaithearta) was born in 1896 in the small village of Gort na gCapall, on one of the Aran Islands in Galway. In 1908, at the age of twelve, he went to Rockwell College, and then went on to study at Holy Cross and University College, Dublin - he did not attend the first two schools for long. O'Flaherty initially intended to join the priesthood, but in 1917 he left school to join the Irish Guards, enlisting under the name 'Bill Ganly'. He was injured on the Western Front, and some believe that shell shock may have been responsible for his mental illness, which became apparent when he suffered the first of two mental breakdowns in 1933.After the war O'Flaherty left Ireland and moved to the United States, where he lived in Hollywood for a short time. He also travelled throughout the United States and Europe, and the letters he wrote during his wanderings were later published. Many of O'Flaherty's works of fiction have common themes of nature and Ireland; some his best short stories were written in Irish.In 1923, O'Flaherty published his first novel, Thy Neighbour's Wife, thought to be one of his best. In 1935, his novel The Informer (for which he had been awarded the 1925 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction) was made into a film by the well-known director John Ford, a cousin of O'Flaherty. Over the next couple of years he published other novels and short stories, while struggling with mental illness and breakdowns. He died in Dublin in 1984, aged 88.

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