Remembering Frank McCourt

The death of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angela’s Ashes author has elicited an outpouring of emotions. Read tributes from John Patrick Shanley, Lee Siegel, and a former McCourt student.

Janette Beckman / Getty Images

Writer Frank McCourt died Sunday at the age of 78 after battling skin cancer and meningitis. McCourt had retired as a schoolteacher and was in his 60s when he wrote his first book, Angela’s Ashes, which documented his family’s misery in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s. McCourt was born in Brooklyn, the first of seven children, before his poverty-stricken family returned to a house in Ireland with no running water or electricity. McCourt’s poignant account of his childhood won a Pulitzer and sold more than 5 million copies. Read McCourt’s last piece for The Daily Beast, about the movie Doubt, and tributes from John Patrick Shanley, Lee Siegel, and a former student.

Did Frank McCourt Invent James Frey?By Lee Siegel

Angela’s Ashes was a masterpiece but Frank McCourt’s success launched a wave of half-baked, half-faked memoirs from the likes of James Frey.

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A Gift From Frank McCourtBy John Patrick Shanley

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley recalls meeting Frank McCourt when he was a teenager, and seeing him for the last time. Plus, read McCourt’s article about Doubt, Shanley’s play.

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The Night Frank Sang 'Mother Machree'By Daniel Menaker

Daniel Menaker remembers a summer night in Southampton, with a sky worthy of Limerick County, when Frank McCourt began singing Irish ballads.

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My Teacher Who Brought Magic to Room 205By Susan Jane Gilman

Frank McCourt's creative-writing class at Stuyvesant High School in 1981 featured "open mike" Fridays, poetry from recipes, and lots of Samuel Johnson. Susan Jane Gilman remembers the "generous renegade" who inspired her to become a writer.

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We Miserable CatholicsBy Frank McCourt

The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt, died Sunday at the age of 78 after battling skin cancer and a bout of meningitis. McCourt had retired as a schoolteacher and was in his 60s when he wrote his first book, Angela's Ashes, which documented his family's misery in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s. McCourt was born in Brooklyn, the first of seven children, before his poverty-stricken family returned to a house in Ireland with no running water or electricity. McCourt's poignant account of his childhood won a Pulitzer and sold more than 5 million copies. Below, read McCourt's last piece on The Daily Beast, about the movie Doubt, a power struggle over the first black student in a strict school in the Bronx—and the unique joylessness of the Irish Catholic Church.

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Xtra Insight: Photographer and author Jill Krementz remembers McCourt on New York Social Diary.