Irish Studies to Host Award-Winning Author Patrick Radden Keefe, April 5

Irish Studies to Host Award-Winning Author Patrick Radden Keefe, April 5

Image of a red-headed Irish women cropped from head to nose.

The Irish Studies Program will host Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, for an in-person lecture and book signing on April 5 at 7 p.m.

The College of Arts and Sciences' Irish Studies Program will host Patrick Radden Keefe, investigative journalist and author of Say Nothing (2019), for a public lecture and book-signing at Fairfield University’s Kelley Center Presentation Room on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Keefe will be introduced by William Abbott, PhD, co-director of the Irish Studies Program and associate professor of history.

Keefe, a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, extensively researched the mystery surrounding the killing of Jean McConville, a mystery largely uninvestigated by the British authorities and the Northern Irish police, but which haunted the McConville children for almost half a century.

The author tells of the cast of characters that were involved in the crime such as Brendan Hughes, a former commander of the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA, and Gerry Adams, the former IRA commander and Republican politician. Adams was arrested in connection with Jean McConville’s murder in 2004, but was released due to a lack of evidence.

Another character and IRA member, Dolours Price, who at 17 had planted a bomb in London, drove the McConville abduction car from Belfast to the beach across the border in County Louth. Price, who died in 2013, had admitted that she and another IRA terrorist, Pat McClure, abducted Mrs. McConville. Keefe alleges that a third member of the team was Dolours’ sister Marian, who was the actual perpetrator.

As part of his meticulous research, Keefe acquired access to the secret oral history files and audio recordings of IRA activities and confessions that were stored for two decades at the John J. Burns Library at Boston College. Known as “The Belfast Project,” the oral history initiative was privately funded by a wealthy American businessman in 2001, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and was intended to be used by future generations of scholars. Keefe discusses the contents of the secret material and how it became available to him.

Say Nothing was awarded the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award (nonfiction), and received the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing. Keefe’s work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York, and the New York Review of Books. He is the recipient of an Eric and Wendy Schmidt fellowship at the American Foundation and a Guggenheim fellowship. His most recent book, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of The Sackler Family, was published to critical acclaim in 2021.

For more information about the Keefe event, please contact Professor Marion M. White, MFA, co-director of the Irish Studies Program, at

If attending this in-person event, please visit the University website before arriving on campus, for the latest Covid-19 guidance:

Patrick Radden Keefe: Lecture and Book-Signing

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Kelley Center Presentation Room

Additional Details:

In-person: please visit the University website before arriving on campus, for the latest Covid-19 guidance:

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