Tom Phelan, who was born and reared in Mountmellick, Co. Laois, is the author of six novels. His most recent book is a memoir, We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It: A Memoir of My Irish Boyhood. In the memoir, Tom writes about his formative years working with his father as he sought to wrest a livelihood from a farm that was often wet, muddy, and back-breaking. It was a time before rural electrification, the telephone, and indoor plumbing; when travel was via bicycle and ass-and-cart; when small farmers struggled to survive; and when the Church exerted enormous control over Ireland.

2023 Arts & Culture Awards