"If you're going to love somebody, love somebody who needs it."

J.P. Donleavy
JPD, father, Patrick & brother, T.J. - photo courtesy, the J.P. Donleavy Archives.
Milestone firsts: first art exhibition, 1948; first
published story, 1950; first published book, 1955.
JPD revisits his former rooms #38, Trinity College, Dublin. Photo © 2010
Bill Dunn.
JPD tending his chickens at his first humble Irish abode in Kilcoole. Photo courtesy The J.P. Donleavy Archives.
JPD's historic mansion "Levington Park," county Westmeath about 50 miles from Dublin. Photo courtesy Mr. Donleavy.

J.P. Donleavy - A Brief Sketch
Chronology: The Donleavy Years by Bill Dunn (a comprehensive biography by JP Donleavy's archivist)
Awards, Honors

Autobiographical Works by JPD
Published Biographical Information on JPD
JPD Biographical Links
Comprehensive, Chronological, Illustrated Bibliography With Publishing History
Adventures in
Making The Ginger Man by Bill Dunn
Ken O Donoghue On JPD
Adventures With J.P. Donleavy (the exploits of JPD and publisher Seymour Lawrence)
The Agrarian Reforms of Organic Farmer J.P. Donleavy by Bill Dunn
J.P. Donleavy and Academia (for criticism and further biographical information)
J.P. Donleavy Interviews
Articles on J.P. Donleavy
J.P. Donleavy Video
J.P. Donleavy Picture Gallery
J.P. Donleavy Quotes (from interviews, articles and books)
J.P. Donleavy Ephemera
(programmes, catalogues, posters, flyers and misc.)

J.P. Donleavy - A - Brief Sketch (as follows)

James Patrick (AKA, Mike) Donleavy (pronounced - "Don - lee - vee") was born in New York in 1926, both parents having immigrated from Ireland. After serving in the Navy in W.W.II, Donleavy traveled to Dublin to study at Trinity College. A central figure in Dublin's postwar creative Bohemia, Donleavy was first a painter and gave several local shows but was snubbed trying to gain entry into the London gallery scene, being told he would have to be famous in order to have his work shown. Donleavy vowed to get famous but decided to do so with typewriter and paper rather than brush and canvas.

Donleavy's first novel, The Ginger Man, did indeed make him famous, but it took years to complete and years more to get published, many would-be publishers praising its artistic qualities but fearing legal and moral backlash for its (at the time) explicit sexual content. Donleavy finally found a willing publisher in Paris - Maurice Girodias, whose Olympia Press had published other "extreme" authors, such as Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett. Unknown to Donleavy at the time, Girodias also published a series of pornographic fiction called The Traveler's Companion Series. When the authorities began to crack down on Girodias, he decided to gain needed "artistic merit" for his racy and profitable sideline business by publishing The Ginger Man - already having gotten some favorable critical notice before publication - as part of The Traveler's Companion Series and not in the format of his other literary writers. To save his credibility as an author and save The Ginger Man from death by association with porn, Donleavy arranged for a UK edition to be published, even agreeing to expurgate the work (the one and only time any Donleavy work has been altered to avert censorship) in order to gain legitimacy. The years of legal battles with Girodias over rights to The Ginger Man that ensued are chronicled in Donleavy's autobiography The History of the Ginger Man. and in Bill Dunn's excellent, detailed biography The Donleavy Years: A Chronology.

Donleavy was an accomplished playwright, several of his stories being adapted for the stage and being performed by major companies in the US and Europe (see JPD - Playwright for more). He was also the scriptwriter, narrator and lead of the film/video "J.P. Donleavy's Ireland," available on video cassette (see JPD - Video for more).

See JPD - Bibliography for details on JPD's books. JPD became an Irish citizen during the peak of his popularity partly because Ireland waves income tax on artists, including authors, JPD lived in an historic mansion called Levington Park in County Westmeath, near Mullingar, about 50 miles from Dublin.



- Most Promising Playwright Award - Evening Standard, 1960 for "Fairy Tales of New York"
- Brandeis Creative Arts Award, '61-62 for plays "The Ginger Man" & "Fairy Tales of New York"
- Citation from National Institute & American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1975
- American Academy of Arts and Letters grantee, 1975
- First Runner Up, National Book Awards for The Ginger Man
- Best Reader Award, Calgary Literary Olympics, 1988
- Worldfest Houston Gold Award, 1992 for the film "J.P. Donleavy's Ireland"
- Cine Golden Eagle Award, 1993 for writer & narrator of film "JP Donleavy's Ireland"
- Novel, The Ginger Man listed in Modern Library's Best 100 Novels of the 20th Century
- Novel, The Ginger Man ranked #7 in Best-selling Books of All Time in Ireland
- The Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, November, 2015 presented J.P. Donleavy with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Acheivement Award
- Honorary Doctorate in Literature from Trinity College, Dublin, October, 2016



J.P. Donleavy's birthday is April 23. Others with the same birthday include William Shakespeare,
Sergei Prokofiev, Vladimir Nabokov, Shirley Temple, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Sandra Dee, Warren Spahn, Roy Orbison, and James Buchanan.


J.P. Donleavy's Ireland in All Her Sins and in Some of Her Graces (book)
J.P. Donleavy's Ireland in All Her Sins and Graces (film, distributed on video cassette)
A Singular Country (book)
The History of The Ginger Man (book)



- Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia, (3rd ed.) 1987, Harper & Row | ISBN 0061810886
- (A) Biographical Guide to Authors & Their Works, Clare D. Kinsman & Mary Ann Tennenhouse, eds., Gale Research Co., 1975 | ISBN 0810300028
- Contemporary Authors (New Revision Series; Vol. 62), Gale, 1998
- Contemporary Authors: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Non-Fiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television & Other Fields (New Revision Series) Vol. 80, Thompson Gale - Oct. 1999 - ISBN 078763090X
- Cyclopedia of World Authors, 3rd Ed., Frank N. Magill, ed., Salem Press, 1997
- Dictionary of Literary Biography vol 6: Novelists since World War II, Gale, 1980
- Encyclopedia of American Humorists, Steven Gale, ed., Garland, New York 1988
- (The) Hutchinson Dictionary of the Arts, Helicon Publishing, Ltd., 1998
- (A) Readers' Guide to the Twentieth Century Novel, Peter Paker, ed., Oxford University Press, NY 1995
- Remembering How We Stood: Bohemian Dublin at the Mid Century, by John Ryan, Taplinger Publishing, NY, 1975 | ISBN 080086770X
- Venus Bound: The Erotic Voyage of the Olympia Press & Its Writers, by John de St. Jorre, Random House, NY 1994 | ISBN 0679443363
- Bibliotopia by Steven Gilbar - Illustrations by Elliot Banfield (Mr. Banfield also Illustrated the U.S. editions of JPD's The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms and Wrong Information Is Being Given Out at Princeton) publisher: David R. Godine, Boston December 5, 2005
- Encyclopedia of World Biography - Thomas Gale, Thomson Corporation, 2005

- Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature
, Gaetan Brulotte Ed., Routledge, 2006
- ProQuest Biographies, 2006

Nimbus: A Magazine of Literature, the Arts, and New Ideas - Archive, 1945-1962 - comprised of 3 boxes, 2 oversized folders, 16 galley folders. Acquisition 1963, revised by David Hatfield Sparks, 1994. Open for research. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Contains JPD correspondence.



Wikipedia Donleavy Entry

See JPD Interviews, Videos and Criticism-Reviews for more biographical information.

Self-portrait - water color

To purchase books by J.P. Donleavy, go to the Buyers' Guide. For details on editions and publishing history, see bibliography.

Many of these works can be found in the reference sections of public and academic libraries. See JPD-Academia for more biographical sources.
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