Irish entrepreneur Harry Crosbie is being hailed as a new literary star after turning to writing at the age of 75.
he colourful businessman, who founded iconic Dublin music venues The Point (3Arena) and Vicar Street, has discovered his hidden talent in lockdown.
His highly-entertaining book, Undernose Farm, was an instant success when published at Christmas, with Crosbie donating all profits to the Peter McVerry homeless charity.
Now the hit book of brilliantly crafted true-life yarns is set to be beefed up and republished with a new batch of stories from the pen of Harry, who literally writes them in longhand.
“All my businesses are closed and I like to be busy, so writing was filling my time,” Harry tells the Sunday World. “I didn’t think it was going to take off like this. It turns out I can write…who knew!
“I really enjoy it; the stories flow out of me and I find writing easy. Now I’m planning to pen a novel.
“I’ve turned down an offer to do a memoir because that would just become a series of name dropping…’and then Mick Jagger said to me and Bono.’ I would be embarrassed with the name dropping side of it.
“But I am going to write a novel, no doubt about that.”
Literary giants John Banville and Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Ford are among Crosbie’s new fans. Ford compared him to Mark Twain, while Banville wrote that the tales are “warm though never sentimental, and frequently hilarious.”
Harry’s snappy short stories from his youth are semi-autobiographical and many of them reveal snapshots of his wild side as he came of age.
In a story called Dodge, from the next edition, he reveals his brush with the law and the courts as a teenager after taking his father’s car for a joyride to Dollymount strand, accompanied by a gang of young guys and girls.
On the way back through the city’s O’Connell Street they run into a garda checkpoint. What followed was a night in a police cell for Harry, and a court appearance which resulted in a caution.
Harry’s distraught father, who seems to have been a similar larger-than-life, good-natured character, later tells him: “I told the rozzer (garda) to give you a fright, not to bring you to court. You’re a mad young fella…Tell your mother I kicked you up and down the street.”
Harry laughs at the memory. “As my father said, young fellas should be chained to a radiator until their brains turn on. When I was a young fella I was as mad as a brush.”
Undernose Farm is published by Lilliput Press, which has spawned great writers that include Hubert Butler and Tim Robinson.
“Harry is still delightfully insecure about his writing, but my God he has arrived with a bang,” Lilliput publisher Antony Farrell says.
“His stories are really well crafted. He surprised himself at how well he could write. He’s got it. He’s got the voice. His writing needed very little tinkering.”
- You can purchase Undernose Farm by Harry Crosbie at lilliputpress.ie, with all profits going to the Peter McVerry Trust.
Download the Sunday World app