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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 February 2007, 18:09 GMT
Writer and broadcaster Kiely dies
Writer Benedict Kiely passed away on Friday
Writer Benedict Kiely passed away on Friday
The writer and broadcaster Benedict Kiely has died, aged 87, the Arts Council of Ireland has announced.

Born in County Tyrone, he spent most of his working life in Dublin, where he passed away on Friday.

He wrote more than a dozen novels, including Land Without Stars (1946) and Nothing Happens in Carmincross (1985).

In 1996 the Arts Council's elite club of writers and artists, Aosdana, elected him to its highest honor, the rank of Saoi - Gaelic for Wise One.

Kiely spent one short year in his birthplace near Dromore in County Tyrone before his family moved to Omagh and his formative years were spent there.

The town and surrounding countryside became the inspiration for much of his work.

A brief spell in Omagh post office was followed by the desire to train as a Jesuit priest.

This latter ambition was abandoned as his love of writing took hold and he began work in Dublin as a journalist.

Most of his working life was spent in the fair city apart from a two year hiatus between 1966 and 1968 when he was writer in residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

He was a prolific writer of books, but also managed a successful career as a broadcaster.

Later in life he received honorary doctorates from the National University of Ireland and Queens University in Belfast.

Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council said he was "a major figure in Irish arts and literature".

"Over six decades he has created a body of work which is impressed indelibly in contemporary literature," she said.

"His exquisite prose explored and celebrated humanity in all its complexity and intrigue."

His distinctive speaking voice was a regular feature of Irish broadcaster RTE's Sunday Miscellany.

See a report on Benedict Kiely's career

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