Great Irish Fair

The Bard of the Fair – Alice McDermott


Author and university professor Alice McDermott is serving as The Bard of the Fair this year.

Born and raised in Elmont, L.I., she attended St. Boniface School, and Sacred Heart Academy, Hempstead, which laid the foundation for her future writing success.

Her eighth novel, “The Ninth Hour,” will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in September. Her seventh novel, “Someone, 2013,” was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Patterson Prize for Fiction, and long-listed for the National Book Award.

Three of her previous novels, “After This,” “At Weddings and Wakes” and “That Night,” were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. “Charming Billy” won the National Book Award for fiction in 1998. It was also a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award.

“That Night” was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harpers and elsewhere.

She has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature. In 2013, she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.

She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.

Her Irish-born grandparents on both sides arrived in New York in the early part of the 20th century, and her parents were raised in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

She travels to Ireland regularly, and is passing her appreciation for Irish culture onto her three children, Will, Eames and Patrick. Her youngest son even plays traditional Irish music: Irish flute, whistle and uilleann pipes.