John B. Keane, one of Ireland's most prolific and respected literary figures, died on 30 May 2002 at the age of 73, after a long and difficult battle with cancer. He was born in Listowel, County Kerry and it was here that he spent his literary career, running a pub which provided him with inspiration for his characters and ideas. He remains one of Ireland's best-loved and best-selling authors. His plays Sive, The Field and Big Maggie are widely regarded as classics of the modern Irish stage and jewels in a crown which also includes such popular hits as Sharon's Grave, The Year of the Hiker, Many Young Men of Twenty, The Man from Clare, Moll and The Chastitute and The Year of the Hiker. It was not just in his plays that John B. Keane managed to portray all aspects of humanity with both wit and truth. He also wrote many fine novels, including The Contractors, A High Meadow and Durango. Also a writer of essays, short stories and letters, his humorous words live on in Celebrated Letters of John B. Keane, More Celebrated Letters, The Best of John B. Keane and The Short Stories of John B. Keane.