sean o'faolain

Nuala O'Faolain

Nuala O'Faolain (1 March 1940 9 May 2008) was an Irish journalist, TV producer, book reviewer, teacher and author. She became internationally well-known for her two volumes of memoir, Are You Somebody? and Almost There, a novel, My Dream of You, and a history with commentary, The Story of Chicago May. The first three were all featured on the New York Times Best Seller list. Her posthumous novel Best Love Rosie will be published in French by Sabine Wespieser, Editeur in September 2008.

Personal life

O'Faolain was born in Dublin, the second eldest of nine children. Her father was a well-known Irish journalist, writing the Dubliners Diary social column under the pen name Terry O'Sullivan for the Dublin Evening Press. She was educated at University College Dublin, the University of Hull, and Oxford University. She taught for a time at Morley College, and has worked as television producer for the BBC and Radio Telefís Éireann.

O'Faolain was engaged at least once, but she never married. In Are You Somebody?, she speaks candidly about her fifteen-year relationship with the journalist Nell McCafferty, who published her own memoir, Nell. From 2002 until her death, O'Faolain lived much of the time with Brooklyn-based attorney John Low-Beer and his daughter Anna. They were registered as domestic partners in 2003.

O'Faolain split her time between Ireland and New York City. She had been diagnosed with metastatic cancer and was interviewed on the Marian Finucane radio show on RTE Radio One on April 12, 2008 in relation to her terminal illness. She told Finucane, "I don’t want more time. As soon as I heard I was going to die, the goodness went from life".

On 9 May 2008 it was announced that O'Faolain had died during the night.


  • 1985: Jacob's Award as producer of RTÉ television programme, Plain Times
  • Journalist of the year
  • 2006: Prix Femina, The Story of Chicago May


  • The Story of Chicago May, Riverhead Books, 2005. (ISBN 1-57322-320-4)
  • Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman, Riverhead Books, 2003. (ISBN 1-57322-374-3)
  • My Dream of You, Riverhead Books, 2001. (a novel, ISBN 1-57322-177-5)
  • Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996. (ISBN 0-8050-5663-7)

Further reading


External links

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