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Monday 1 September 2014

Warm tribute for Vinnie

Published 20/11/2012 | 09:58

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Credit: Pic: Liam Donnelly

A WELL-KNOWN Malahide poet, author, artist and historian was given the ' This is Your Life' treatment at a special gathering organised to mark a significant birthday.

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The surprise tribute night to Vincent 'Vinnie' Caprani was organised by the local Lions Club and the event at the tennis club attracted a great crowd from the fields of journalism, print, literature and Irish Music. The ' This is your Life' style segment was compered by Seamus Dooley, Secretary of National Union of Journalists, while Des Geraghty, ex-President of SIPTU was there to show support. Tributes were paid by old friends Senator David Norris and writer Ulick O'Connor who read and recited from Vinnie's books which have been published in several langauges and have sold over 250,000 copies. President Michael D. Higgins was unable to attend but sent warm greetings to Vinnie and to the large group of friends and family members who enjoyed the music, chat and stories into the late hours. Vinnie was born on December 26 1934 to Josephine Corrigan and Vincent Caprani. Vinnie, also known as Capper was one of three boys, he was in the middle - Jack the eldest is here tonight, and unfortunately Noel the youngest is no longer with us but no doubt is here in spirit. Vinnie went to St. Joseph's School in Marino where a Brother Forrestal instilled in him a love of literature. After leaving school Vinnie served his time as an apprentice with Alex Thoms, one of the largest printing houses in Dublin and went on to work in many places such as theSavoy in London, Millers, Ree-pro and the Irish Press, to name but a few. Despite difficulties with dyspraxia, left-handedness and colour blindness he adapted well to the printing trade following in the footsteps of his grandfather Menotti Caprani, who was described by James Joyce through the character of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses as 'Cuprani too, printer. More Irish than the Irish. Always interested in boxing he was unfortunately not born with the gift of the jab but we are grateful that he got the gift of the gab in 1961 he turned his pugilistic knowledge into a much acclaimed series of articles covering all aspects of boxing, commissioned and published by the Irish Independent it was simply called 'Nine Ten Out'. In the early 70s Vinnie enjoyed success when his novels were published by McDonnell and Jane of London. His gothic suspense novels Polmarran Tower, The Bride of Invercoe, written under the pseudonym of Charlotte Massey, and published in the early 1970s have sold over a quarter of a million copies and have been published in the USA, Britain, France, Germany and Scandinavia. His most popular book' Rowdy Rhymes and Rec-im-itations' or doggerel for a departed Dublin as he likes to call it himself, was composed on the back of envelopes for immediate recitation (Zozimus style) 'over a few jars'. This little book reflects the interests and humour of the Dublin working class of fifty years ago and owes a lot to the stories and yarns which he picked up hanging out at his father's barber shop in Moore Street. A member of the Labour Party for many years, Vinnie an avid trade unionist was a founding member of SIPTU's Print Group and went on to become President of the Irish Print Union. He is interested in every aspect of the printing industry and is an enthusiastic volunteer, contributor and supporter of the Irish Print Museum Always a keen illustrator, in his retirement Vinnie turned his talents to drawing and painting and not withstanding his colour blindness, enjoyed considerable success with his line and wash depictions of Dublin architectural scenes, local beauty spots of Malahide and of course his beloved Italy. Vinnie has contributed to anthologies of short stories and regularly writes for magazines such as ' la stampa and has a regular monthly column for the Irish Printer Magazine.

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