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Frank McCourt

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A fabulous writer and a remarkable teacher Frank McCourt was born on August 19th, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. After 30 extensive years of teaching high school English, he decided to put his life in writing. His book Angela Ashes, a story telling novel about his piteous Irish childhood, made McCourt an instant success around the world in no time. The book has won him many awards including the famous Pulitzer Prize.

McCourt was born the eldest to his seven siblings. His mother Angela Sheehan was an Irish Catholic woman from Ireland and his father, Malachy McCourt was an ex-IRA man belonged to Ballymoney Antrim. They met and got married in New York and tried to settle there in the hope of making a better life. After four years of Frank’s birth, his parents had to move from New York to Limerick during the Great Depression in 1934. That was largely because of his father who used to do odd jobs and spend his scant income at the local bar. The McCourts moved to their native town but only to get more plunged into dire poverty.

At Limerick, McCourt’s circumstances became so dreadful that three of his siblings died in their early childhood. Frank McCourt was only 11 when his father went to Liverpool, England to search out for a better job. His mother was doing odd jobs at Limerick to make ends meet. But the road of life had many detours. When McCourt turned 13, his father abandoned the family. He left the school to earn some money to help his mother in order to keep the family alive. Also he acquired some odd jobs but sometimes his petty thievery fed his siblings. But during all this time he used to save a little part of his income for his biggest dream of returning to America.

McCourt left Ireland to return America to work, when he was 19 years old. He served the US Army during the period of the Korean War. After this service he went to New York City and enrolled himself at New York University using the GI Bill as there was no any formal education he had prior to this. He completed his graduation with a bachelor’s degree in education. Then in 1967, he earned his master’s degree from Brooklyn College. Henceforth he acquired education as the profession and started teaching English at schools including Stuyvesant High School and McKee High School. He took retirement after contributing 30 years in the education field.

Later on after the retirement, he decided and started to pen down his dismal childhood. Hence came out as the book, Angela’s Ashes, published in 1996 by Sribners. The book became a phenomenal success and sold more than 5 million copies. Frank McCourt became famous and the book also earned him critical acclaim. He was awarded with the National Book Critics Circle Award, the ABBY Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his Angela’Ashes. Later in 1999, McCourt wrote a memoir, ‘Tis depicts his life when he came back to America till he became a teacher. He penned his third book, Teacher Man, in 2005 which tells of his experiences in the education field. The famous author died in New York City on July 19, 2009.

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