Padraic Colum

Padraic Colum

About Padraic Colum

Padraic Colum (December 8, 1881 in Collumbkille, County Longford – January 11, 1972 in Enfield, Connecticut) was an Irish poet, writer and one of the leading figures of the Irish Renaissance. He wrote poems, novels, plays, biographies and children's books. In total, he published 61 books in addition to his plays. His first book, Wild Earth, appeared in 1907; it contained many of the poems previously published in a newspaper called The United Irishman. In addition to his other literary activities, Colum also collected Irish folk songs and wrote lyrics for folk songs. In 1911 Colum founded, among others with his future wife Mary Gunning Maguire, a short-lived literary journal entitled The Irish Review, which nonetheless printed the works of important authors of the Irish Renaissance. In 1912 Colum and Maguire (called Molly) married. They lived in the Dublin area and held a Literary Salon on Tuesdays. In 1914 they undertook a trip to the USA, which turned into an eight-year stay.
In America, Colum began writing children's books and published several collections of children's stories. A publishing contract with Macmillan for the publication of his children's books gave him financial security for the rest of his life. He also published three volumes of his versions of Hawaiian fairy tales. He also began to write novels. In 1961 Colum was a recipient of the Regina Medal, an annual award given to children's book authors by the American Catholic Library Association. Since 1948 he was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
After the death of his wife in 1957, Colum spent his final years alternating between the United States and Ireland. He died in Enfield, Connecticut, in 1972 at the age of 90 and was buried near Dublin.

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