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Tom Phelan

About Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan was born and raised on a small farm in Mountmellick, Co. Laois, in the Irish midlands. Tom had just turned fifty when his first novel, In the Season of the Daisies, was accepted for publication by the Lilliput Press in Dublin. Books Ireland's reviewer wrote, "The most obvious question posed by a novelistic debut with as much resounding vigour as this is: Where has Mr. Phelan been?"

Since then, Tom has penned five other novels: Nailer, The Canal Bridge, Iscariot, Derrycloney, and Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told, and he has seen his works published in four countries and three languages. He has also written for Newsday, the Irish Echo,, Connect, and the Recorder, the journal of the American Irish Historical Society. He was named a 2008-2009 Fellow of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation based on his novel The Canal Bridge.

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Part mystery and part human comedy, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told is an enthralling story about what holds a village together and what keeps people apart. When journalist Patrick Bracken returns to Gohen, the Irish village where he was born, he knows the eyes of the townspeople are on him. He has come home to investigate two deaths that happened decades earlier when he was a child, deaths that were ruled accidental. But Patrick knows–and believes the whole town knows–they were murders. He knows because he and his best friend were witnesses. More about Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told

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A Novel of Ireland, Love,
and the First World War

Brilliantly and movingly narrated, The Canal Bridge is at once a heartrending love story and a powerful evocation of lives affected by World War I. Tom Phelan shows how two young Irishmen take their village to war with them, as well as how they bring the war’s devastation home. After the war, the Ireland the friends left in 1913 no longer exists, for the Rising against the British in 1916 has changed everything. More about The Canal Bridge

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Upcoming Talks

For the latest events, please visit

Saturday, February 20, 11:15 a.m.
"Forgotten Heroes: Ireland's WWI Soldiers"
presented by Irish Family History Forum
Bethpage Public Library
47 Powell Avenue
Bethpage, NY

Friday, February 26, 7:30 p.m.
Irish American Writers and Artists Salon
Molloy College
Rockville Centre, NY
(516) 323-4710

Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m.
“Life in Rural Ireland in the 1940s/50s”
Turn of the Corkscrew Books
110 N. Park Avenue
Rockville Centre, NY

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If you would like to arrange for Tom Phelan to speak at your event, please send us an email.