Amnesty Celebrates 40 Years

By Irish America Staff
August / September 2001

W.B. Yeats had his second coming on June 11 with actors, writers, and other members of New York’s creative community slouching towards the microphone to read from the hilarious new novel Yeats is Dead. It was all in a good cause, however, with the proceeds from American sales going to Amnesty International and a pound per book from all Irish and U.L. sales.

Written in collaboration by 15 Irish writers including Roddy Doyle, Marian Keyes, Joe O’Connor (who also did a terrific editing job), and Frank McCourt, who has the dubious pleasure of tying it all together in the final chapter. Yeats Is Dead provides no small amount of entertainment. Not for the faint of heart, though, as Frank McCourt, commented, “All the morality has broken down. People are romping all over and it’s veritable musical beds in Dublin.”

The evening, at The New School, was part of Amnesty’s 40th Anniversary celebrations, and included Gabriel Byrne, Frank and Malachy McCourt, and Paul Hill, who opened the evening by reading from a letter he wrote to his mother from prison. Hill, who was falsely convicted of an IRA bombing and served 15 years in jail, called for an end to the death penalty. And praised Amnesty’s work in highlighting human rights abuses. ♦

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