Brendan Costello

Place of birth: Brooklyn, NY.

What is your profession? I teach creative writing and literature at The City College of New York.  I am also the new President of Irish American Writers and Artists.

How do you celebrate your Irishness? I celebrate my Irishness by celebrating life and creative expression. As part of Irish American Writers & Artists, I enjoy encouraging fellow writers and artists in our organization's creative endeavors incorporating an inclusive spirit of Failte and mutual support. I'd say that one of my favorite expressions of "Irishness" is my sense of humor but I'm not sure I'm that funny, or that it's exclusive to Irish culture. As Yeats said, "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

Name a hero you admire and why? James Baldwin is an inspiration and to my mind truly heroic. He is one of the greatest writers America has produced, and whether writing fiction or non-fiction, he cast an unflinching eye at tragedy and hardship, in both societal and personal history, and managed to produce from that pain a true expression of love. One biographer said "everything [Baldwin] wrote was a version of the problem of being himself." He managed to be a great novelist, social critic, memoirist and preacher, and his work is truly uplifting.

Something people would be surprised to know about me... In college, I was in a band that played covers of songs by Talking Heads, Prince, and Tom Waits.  We were successful in an alternate reality, but our success there was cut short when our tour plane collided with a flying pig. There were no survivors.

Biography: Brendan Costello Jr. teaches writing and literature at the City College of New York, where he earned his MFA in creative writing. His fiction has been published in Bowery Gothic, Epiphany Magazine, Promethean, and; his non-fiction has been published in The Village Voice, The Irish Echo,, Huffington Post, and He was the co-host and producer of the disability affairs and culture program "The Largest Minority" on WBAI radio. He is currently the President of Irish American Writers & Artists.

2024 Heroes of Irish America Awards