Born in Dublin, Ireland, James Joyce (1882-1941) studied philosophy and languages at the Dublin College of the Royal University. He left Ireland in 1902 and went to Paris, but upon learning that his mother was dying, he returned to Dublin in 1903. After his mother's death, Joyce taught school in Dublin and met Nora Barnacle, the woman who would be his lifelong companion. Joyce and Nora left Ireland in 1904 and traveled to Trieste, where Joyce taught languages at the Berlitz School. An attack of rheumatic fever in 1907 caused his vision to worsen throughout his life. Apart from one trip back to Dublin in 1912, Joyce spent the rest of his life on the Continent. Wealthy patrons subsidized his writing, and Joyce became the most influential novelist of the twentieth century. His writings include Chamber Music (1907), Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Exiles (1918), Ulysses (1922), Pomes Penyeach (1927), and Finnegans Wake (1939). Edna O'Brien is the author of The Love Object, A Scandalous Woman, A Rose in the Heart, A Fanatic Heart, The Country Girls Trilogy, The High Road, and Lantern Slides. Irish born, she lives in London. Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn and from the age of three was raised in Limerick, Ireland. He left school at the age of thirteen to begin work in Ireland and England as a laborer. He returned to the U.S. at twenty and worked as a longshoreman and dishwasher until he became an actor, appearing in numerous Broadway and off-Broadway plays, soap operas, films, and TV shows, including the HBO prison series, Oz, as well as hosting a radio talk show and writing a newspaper column. Among his numerous books are Singing My Him Song, Danny Boy, Voices of Ireland, Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland, and the New York Times bestselling memoir A Monk Swimming.