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Tom Phelan

About Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan was born and raised on a small farm in Mountmellick, County 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 the forthcoming Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told (Arcade, 2015), 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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THE CANAL BRIDGE: A Novel of Ireland, Love, and the First World War

“Tom Phelan’s The Canal Bridge is the best novel of love in the time of war since Cold Mountain. It is an old-fashioned story in the very best sense: dramatic, passionate, unpredictable, gorgeously written, heartbreakingly true, and ultimately ennobling. This is truly a great book. I loved every page.” - Howard Frank Mosher, author of Walking to Gatlinburg

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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In the Irish midlands, two former members of the Order of Saint Kieran, which once ran Dachadoo Industrial School for boys, are murdered within weeks of each other, their bodies found nailed to the floor… More about Nailer...

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Upcoming Talks

Monday, July 28, 7 p.m.
Irish Literary Night
with Tom Phelan, Jim Hawkins, Christine Kehl O'Hagan, John Brennan

Summer Gazebo Readings
Schoolhouse Green
(across from 65 Foxhurst Rd.)
Oceanside, NY
Outdoors…Bring a chair

Wednesday, July 23, 7 p.m.
Freeport Memorial Library
144 West Merrick Rd.
Freeport, NY

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