Born 1930 in New York City, Frank McCourt spent most of his childhood in the slums of
Limerick, Ireland until he returned to the United States at the age of 19.
Having had no steady job for years McCourt finally became teacher and worked at New York
City public schools before retiring in 1995.
Frank McCourt had always wanted to be a novelist but the dream of creating his own
memoirs was realized late, during his retirement, when he started writing encouraged by
friends and students who had appreciated McCourt's stories about him growing up in Ireland.
His biography "Angela's Ashes - A Memoir", named after Frank McCourt's mother, was
published in September 1996 and became, against all expectations, a bestseller. It made
literary newcomer McCourt winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize and various other awards, was
followed by the sequel "ÃÂ´Tis" and formed the basis for a Hollywood movie released in 1999.
But what made the book become so successful and approved by both critics and the public? I
think the reason is that McCourt tells about an Irish family facing all the adversities of life
from the point of view of his childlike self without any trace of bitterness or resentment in his
words but rather with wit and in this way more entertaining and accessible to the reader but
The biographic novel starts in New York where Malachy McCourt and Angela Sheehan,
both Irish immigrants, meet eachother and marry. They have five children there: Frank, the
oldest one, Malachy, the twins, Oliver and Eugene, and Margaret, their only daughter.
Unfortunately, America does not turn out to be the promised land the McCourts hoped it
would be. In the time of economic depression the father rarely has a job, and if he does,