Irish broadcaster Frank Delaney, a huge influence in the literary and arts world, has died aged 74
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Irish broadcaster Frank Delaney, a huge influence in the literary and arts world, has died aged 74

IRISH author, broadcaster and academic Frank Delaney has died of a stroke in Connecticut at the age of 74.

The Tipperary-born writer had been living in the US since 2002.

Delaney began his broadcasting career with RTÉ in 1970 before working extensively with the BBC.

His early reporting career included a long stint of reporting on the Troubles.

On moving to London he became a prolific presenter and creator of programmes such as Bookshelf and Word of Mouth on the BBC, and The Book Show on Sky News.

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He wrote and presented the BBC arts programme Omnibus for many years, and hosted his own talk show Frank Delaney featuring an array of cultural and literary personalities.

Delaney’s books included James Joyce's Odyssey (1981), a best-seller in Britain and Ireland. Dissembling Ulysses was to become one of Delaney’s lifelong passions.

For television, he wrote and presented the highly-acclaimed six-part documentary The Celts for the BBC.

The series, examining the origins, growth, and influence of Celtic culture throughout Europe, was broadcast in 40 countries and spawned a popular companion book.

Delaney subsequently wrote 15 works of fiction (including Ireland, a Novel  and Tipperary, a Novel) as well as several non-fiction books.

He also edited many compilations of essays and poetry, and served as the Literature Director of the Edinburgh Festival in 1980.

In 2014 he said in an interview prior to the Dublin Writer’s Festival: “I’ve always relished the power of the tale; how it grabs us and then absorbs us, and casts a spell over us, and teaches us.”

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President Michael D Higgins was one of many who paid tribute to the writer.

In a statement he said: “It is with great sadness that I have heard of the passing of Frank Delaney, acclaimed novelist, broadcaster and journalist.

“RTÉ had the benefit of his considerable talent and skills and he was widely appreciated as the BBC correspondent in Dublin.

“Frank Delaney went on to create a space to discuss arts and literature, winning both critical acclaim and substantial audiences for his broadcasts as well his writing.

"He was recognised as an important scholar on the work of James Joyce and an influential Irish voice in the UK and further afield.”

Delaney is survived by his wife and frequent collaborator, Diane Meier, and their sons Francis, Bryan and Owen.