(1908-1997) Irish writer, initially active as a playwright, secretary to the Irish Arts Council 1957-1974. His first novel, The Unfortunate Fursey (1946), is a polished comedy in which various haunters plaguing an Irish monastery attach themselves to a luckless lay brother, who is thrown out into the wicked world; magic powers are foisted upon him by a Witch, but Satan takes a liking to him. More lighthearted than Anatole France's exercises in Literary Satanism, but just as sentimental, it is perhaps the finest work in that vein written in English. In The Return of Fursey (1948) the harassed hero recklessly sells his Soul to the only real friend he has ever had but subsequently finds that Satan is in direly reduced circumstances. The two novels were assembled as The Complete Fursey (omni 1985). The Garden of Echoes, A Fable for Children and Grown-Ups (1982; 1988), whose young heroines thwart a plan to assassinate Santa Claus, first appeared in a special double issue, entirely devoted to MW's work, of the US-based The Journal of Irish Literature. [BS]
other works: A Flutter of Wings (coll 1974).