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O’Brien Press Founder Michael O’Brien’s Death at 81


The founder of O’Brien Press, Michael O’Brien’s death was announced on August 2, 2022. He passed away suddenly on Sunday at St James’s Hospital, his family confirmed.

His family described Michael as a “Publisher, activist, artist, sailor” in his obituary. In 1974, The O’Brien Press was established by O’Brien and his father Thomas.

The O’Brien Press launched its 1st publication in November 1974, Me Jewel and Darlin’ Dublin. It was written by Éamonn MacThomáis and published when the author was in jail.

O’Brien Press Founder Michael O'Brien's Death at 81

The Press has published over two thousand books and is one of the country’s leading publishers of adult and children’s books.

The publisher was awarded The RAI Special Merit Award in 1997. In 2006 O’Brien was awarded the CBI Award of the Decade for Services to Children’s Literature.

Last year, the Press received an NCBI Vision Award “In Recognition of Outstanding Leadership towards an Inclusive Society” for their notable work with Bookshare, a platform that enables reading-disabled persons to have access to millions of books.

Among those paying tribute to Michael was Dublin’s Gutter Bookshop. He wrote: “a big supporter of Irish authors and publishing and the whole book industry in Ireland”.

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Michael O’Brien’s Death Confirmed by Family

Socialist poet Michael O’Brien’s death was confirmed by his family but they did not reveal his cause of death. Chef and author Brian McDermott wrote: “Very saddened to learn of the death of Michael O’Brien”.

“A man who supported me and made my book publishing happen. Without whom I’d not have launched my books. His support never stopped. Thinking today of Ivan who introduced us and all the family & staff,” Mr. McDermott said.

Mr. O’Brien is survived by his beloved wife Svetlana, sons Eoin, Ivan, Dara, and Ferdia, six grandchildren, sisters, brothers, extended family, and friends.

In a statement, the founder of The Lilliput Press, Antony Farrell, said that Michael was a titan of Irish publishing whose loss is extremely felt.

The founder of O’Brien Press, Michael O’Brien’s death was announced on August 2, 2022.

He continued: “Warm, ebullient, and charismatic, his cyclonic energy transformed our world, seeding the arid landscape of the late 1970s and 80s and beyond with his roster of authors and publications.

“He was the heart of Dublin letters, and its legacy beats on through his son and successor Ivan.”

Literature manager in the Arts Council, Audrey Keane, said: “Michael O’Brien had a highly distinguished career in Irish publishing. He worked tirelessly and with unswerving dedication and commitment and his influence in the area of Irish publishing for children in particular leaves a lasting legacy.”

“We send our deepest condolences to his friends and family and all at The O’Brien Press,” Keane added.

After the sad news of Michael O’Brien’s passing was revealed, his friends and fans flooded social media with thousands of tribute messages. Many fans also took to Twitter to pay tributes to him.

Gutter Bookshop tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of publisher Michael O’Brien of The O’Brien Press yesterday. He was a big supporter of Irish authors & publishing & the whole book industry in Ireland. Our thoughts are with @ivanobp & all his family, & with everyone at @OBrienPress today.”

Nicola Pierce wrote: “Me & my publisher Michael O’Brien 11 years ago. Facebook provided this lovely memory this morning less than 12 hours after my hearing of Michael’s unexpected passing. He was the Clint Eastwood of Irish publishing & a good friend to me. Just cannot believe he is gone.”

Another heartbreaking news! Dancer Darius Barnes passed away at the age of 34. Some rumors report that Darius Barnes’s cause of death was related to an illness.

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