2013 Author, James Plunkett
James Plunkett (b.21 May 1920, d.28 May 2003) drew on his city-centre working-class background, and his commitment to the labour movement, as the background for his fiction. Strumpet City is acknowledged as his masterpiece. His other novels include Farewell Companions and The Circus Animals. He was an accomplished short-story writer and also wrote for radio and theatre. (Source: Gill & Macmillan)
James Plunket Kely was born in Sandymount in Dublin in 1920 and was educated by the Christian Brothers at Synge Street. He began writing short stories as James Plunkett in the 1940s, many of which were published in The Bell.
First published in 1969 while Plunkett was working as a producer at Radio Telefís Éireann, Strumpet City is acknowledged as his masterpiece. It was later made into a popular television series starring Peter O’Toole, Bryan Murray, Donal McCann, Cyril Cusack and David Kelly.
Plunkett drew on his city centre working-class background as well as his experience in the labour movement as inspiration for the book. While working as a clerk in the Gas Company, he became active in the Workers’ Union of Ireland. In 1946 he became branch and staff secretary and worked under Jim Larkin until Larkin’s death in 1947.
Plunkett also wrote three radio plays, including Big Jim, also set in the 1913 Lockout in Dublin. It provided the basis of the stage play
The Risen People, produced by the Abbey Theatre in 1958.
He died in 2003.