Benedict Kiely is one of Ireland's leading writers of the second half of the twentieth century. He was born near Dromore, County Tyrone and was a student at the Christian Brothers School in Omagh. After a stint with a tubercular spinal complaint, he decided that the religious life was not for him and went on to study at University College Dublin. He worked for the Irish Independent as a journalist and critic before joining the Irish Press as a literary editor. His first novel, Land Without Stars, was published in 1946, and he went on to write many others, favouring the short story above other genres. In 1964 he moved to America and was a writer-in-residence at several universities. He returned to Ireland in 1968 and was named Saoi of Aosdána, the highest honour given by the Arts Council of Ireland. Benedict died in 2007; the Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend is held in September every year in Omagh to celebrate the author's achievements.