As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the reading date was changed, but not the venue or the participants, thank the gods!

Author Edna O’Brien and Gabriel Byrne appeared at the McNally Jackson bookstore in New York City on May 30th.

In a blog posting/intimate account, Catherine Kustanczy tells us about the reading and why someone else’s writing can be so important:

In this attempt to integrate personal and profound, the observed and the other, I can’t help but think back to the incredible, inspiring things that flew from the lips of author Edna O’Brien. The Irish author was interviewed about her new collection of short stories by Byrne (a good friend and also Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador) at McNally Jackson as part of an Imagine Ireland initiative. The event was hastily organized; to quote the store’s twitter stream, “If Gabriel Byrne calls up and says, “Hey, I’d like to do an event with my friend Edna O’Brien in approximately zero days?” You just say yes.”


Telling the truth isn’t always easy – especially when it’s sitting there in front of us. Some truths are easier to swallow than others – and once we discover them, it’s up to us how we choose to live with their loud mewlings, awkward quietude, and late-night bawling. Do we pretend they’re not there? Or face that truth square-on? On Monday night, Byrne confessed to her that, back when he was growing up in Ireland, “I read your work to find myself.” The author seemed stunned, caught off guard by such an admission, and responded, carefully and wide-eyed, “You mean to find an identity? a larger sort of identity?” Byrne re-phrased things so as not to put her on the spot, but we all knew what he meant, as he looked at his friend with a mix of awe, admiration, and gratitude.

It’s a great posting, so give it a read. Here are her pictures from the event, for which we say Thank You!


Ms. O’Brien, say hello to Mr. Byrne, your biggest fan


  1. twomoons

    Wow, thanks for sharing this.

  2. Amazing

  3. Wonderful photos. Gabriel looks very kind and relaxed.
    I must admit that I have not read Edna O’Brien, but I surely will do it soon.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, everyone -and special thanks to this great site for the exposure! It was such a special event, and the closeness between G and Edna was very touching indeed.

    • And thank YOU for sharing with us, Catherine. Love those pictures and your writing was evocative and touching. Keep that Moleskine handy! :-)

  5. Just want to tell that I am reading Saints and Sinners now and I think it is a great book. The stories are very strong, and very alive.

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