Monday 22 January 2018

Clinton hails 'inspirational' McCourt

College to bring author's legacy home

Barry Duggan

FORMER US president Bill Clinton led the tributes to world-famous author Frank McCourt this week at a fundraiser to assist creative writers.

Family and friends of the Limerick man -- who died in July 2009 -- attended the New York event hosted by the University of Limerick Foundation to publicise its campaign to raise $1m (€720,000) for the 'Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing'.

The project, to be based at the university, managed to secure €500,000 from philanthropists, which will go towards helping emerging writers.

Mr Clinton praised the literary genius of the 'Angela's Ashes' author on the night.

"Everyone has a story to tell in life, but Frank wrote uniquely about his and, in doing so, has inspired many others to put their own stories down on paper," he said.

"I love that the University of Limerick will bring creative writing and storytelling back to Ireland in a fresh way through this chair."

Literary figures, including Billy Collins, Tom Cahill, Colum McCann, Rose Styron, and Pete Hamill, joined Mr McCourt's widow Ellen and his brothers Malachy and Alfie to hear Mr Clinton speak.

UL president Prof Don Barry recalled that, as a director of the foundation, Mr McCourt was committed to the advancement of the university.

"Frank McCourt was a true friend of the university, and it is highly appropriate that we honour his legacy in this way," Prof Barry said.

UL Foundation chief executive David Cronin said the "continuous support of Irish-American philanthropists enables us to effect positive change in Ireland".

"The Frank McCourt chair is a perfect example of how strategic, targeted investment will impact young aspiring writers," he added.

Loretta Brennan Glucksman, John and Pauline Ryan, Tina Flaherty and Ken and Kerry Gorman were among the philanthropists at the fundraiser.

Irish Independent

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