Alphie McCourt, youngest of the famed McCourt brothers, is the author of the memoir A Long Stone’s Throw. He has written for the Washington Post, The Villager, the Limerick Leader, and Icons magazine.
A Long Stone’s Throw began as a recording. “I had shown it around, was getting frustrated—couldn’t even find an agent, much less a publisher. No one was interested,” McCourt told an interviewer. He connected with Jim Salestrom, a protégé of the late John Denver, who suggested that they record the book with McCourt as the reader. Salestrom produced a nine-CD set and sold them online. Salestrom then connected McCourt with a newspaper editor in New York City, who mentioned the CDs in a column, which led to a mention in Publisher’s Weekly. Soon after that, the book found a publisher.
A Long Stone’s Throw, like the memoirs of his two brothers—Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Malachy McCourt’s A Monk Swimming—recounts his growing up in poverty in Limerick, Ireland, and, after, his life in the United States. It is a book of wry observation of both cultures, passages of great lyricism, bleak observations of poverty in his native land, and honest reflections about himself.
“I have fallen into the restaurant business, at a low level,” he writes of his first few years in New York City in the 1960s. “Now I wait. Distinction and greatness, with equal ease, will fall from the tree and into my hands. If I can’t achieve real distinction then I don’t give a damn. A talent for introspection is of little practical use and I surely have it in abundance. I would have attended meetings of the New York Apathy Society regularly, but I could never rouse myself.”
What People are Saying About Alphie McCourt
“Sensitive, lyrical, funny, stubborn, impetuous, McCourt writes with a steady hand, a joyful heart, and an Irishman’s sense of life’s absurdities.”
“Alphie McCourt is a uniquely talented memoirist.”
—Dermot McEvoy, author of Our Lady of Greenwich Village and Terrible Angel
“Alphie McCourt is a gentle, charming, philosophical narrator.”
—Brooke Allen, literary critic and author of The Moral Minority