Irish poet, translator, and writer Desmond O'Grady was born in Limerick in 1935. He moved to Paris in the 1950s, where he taught and worked in the Shakespeare and Company bookshop. He earned his MA and PhD in Celtic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Studies from Harvard University, and would later teach at the American University in Cairo and the University of Alexandria in Egypt, as well as in Rome in the 1960s and 70s. He appeared in the Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, playing the role of an Irish poet.

O'Grady was the author of nearly 20 books of poetry, including My Alexandria (2006), On My Way (2006), The Road Taken: Poems 1956-1996 and The Wandering Celt (2001). He published over a dozen collections of translated poetry, among them Trawling Tradition 1954-1994Selected Poems of C.P. CavafyThe Song of Songs, Ten Modern Arab Poets, and Kurdish Poems of Love and Liberty. He also published prose memoirs of his literary acquaintances and friends.

O'Grady was a founder member of the European Community of Writers and a member of Aosdána, an honor bestowed to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship. He also served as the European editor of The Transatlantic Review. He died in 2014 at the age of 78.

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