Cónal Creedon: Art Imitating Life Imitating Death

Art Imitating Life Imitating Death

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Sunday 9 July 2023

2:30 pm

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Join Cónal Creedon for a lecture based on his book Art Imitating Life Imitating Death which is his exploration of Guests of the Nation by Frank O'Connor. This detailed study of real-life events offers factual insight into Frank O’Connor’s renowned anti-war story, Guests of The Nation. Cónal invites you on a journey into a world where fact and fiction dovetail together seamlessly.

Admission: €18

In 2003, Cónal Creedon was commissioned by RTÉ to adapt Guests of the Nation for radio as part of the Frank O’Connor Centenary Celebrations.


“Seduced by a narrative so deeply rooted in a culture, history and landscape so familiar to me, I was captivated by this wartime parable.”


So began his personal journey to the soul of O’Connor’s story. It was a voyage of discovery that led him on a circuitous route to the death of Major Compton-Smith during the Irish War of Independence. In 2012, Cónal was invited by descendants of the Donoughmore IRA to visit the safe-house where Major Compton-Smith had been held. It occurred to him that Compton-Smith’s final days may have been the inspiration for O’Connor’s fiction. Cónal’s recollections of that day have been published in several articles.

“It was a day where painful memories of generations past were laid bare and in some cases laid to rest.”


In January 2020, Cónal presented his lecture, Art Imitating Life Imitating Death – An Exploration of Guests Of The Nation by Frank O’Connor at the Irish Revolutionary Period Symposium organised by the Swiss Centre of Irish Studies at the University of Zurich and the Zurich James Joyce Foundation. The lecture was published by Studi irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies, by Firenze University Press (FUP) at the University of Florence, Italy.


In May 2023 the book was awarded a Gold Medal for European Non-Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the US.


It is likely not an overstatement or hyperbole to suggest that Creedon understands this story better than most writers and readers worldwide. Creedon’s thorough analysis of the story’s significance succinctly explores details about this retributive execution in which strong bonds of friendship arise between sworn enemies. US Review of Books



Cónal Creedon

Cónal Creedon is a novelist, playwright and documentary film maker. He was appointed Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at University College Cork. Cónal’s recently published collection of award-winning short fictions...

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