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February 9: Brendan Behan’s Birthday

It’s the birthday of Brendan Behan. The Irish poet, playwright, author, and rebel was born on this day in 1927. And when I say rebel, I don’t mean he flew in the face of literary convention, although he did that too, I mean he took up actual arms against the British occupation of Ireland. A literary critic best described his style of writing when he said, “While other writers hoard words like misers, Behan sends them out on a spree, ribald, flushed, and spoiling for a fight.” Brendan was also what we like to call an extraordinarily enthusiastic imbiber. And very upfront about it. “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary,” he liked to say, and if you saw him in public and he wasn’t drunk, then he was most likely on his way to the pub. Top quote: “I am a drinker with writing problems.”