Irish-American authors who write specifically on Irish identity, sometimes identified with Catholicism:
James T. Farrell (1904-79), Studs Lonigan
trilogy of novels
portraying Irish-American life on
J. F. Powers (1917-99), fiction often concerning Catholic church and midwestern priests. Prince of Darkness and Other Stories (1947); Morte D'Urban (1963; National Book Award)
Edwin O'Connor (1918-68), novels concerning Irish-American politicians and priests: The Last Hurrah (1956 + screenplay for 1958 film); The Edge of Sadness (1961; Pulitzer Prize 1962)
Flannery O’Connor (1925-64). Novels: Wise Blood (1952), The Violent Bear it Away (1960); short story collections: A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955), Everything that Rises must Converge (1965) [themes and interests may be less Irish than Catholic]
Frank McCourt (1930-2009), Angela’s Ashes 1996 (Pulitzer for biography / autobiography)
Mary Gordon (b. 1949), Final Payments (1979), The Company of Women (1981), Men and Angels (1985), Pearl (2005); more novels, memoirs, fiction collections
Authors of Irish descent who may not emphasize Irish themes. Irish-American characters may appear.
Kate Chopin (1850-1904), fiction author: The Awakening (1899); of Louisiana Creole descent, her birth name was Katherine O'Flaherty
Henry James (1843-1916), Daisy Miller (1878), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Wings of the Dove (1902). (grandfather immigrated from Ireland, helped develop Erie Canal; later generations rapidly Anglicized.)
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), The Big Sleep (1939), The Long Goodbye (1954)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), The Great Gatsby (1925), Tender is the Night (1934)
Betty Smith (1896-1972; born Elizabeth Wehner), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943; film 1945) concerning Brooklyn family. Biological father of family is an alcoholic singing waiter. After his death, the mother--child of Austrian immigrants--marries another Irish-American who is a successful businessman and politician.
John O'Hara (1905-1970), fiction author and playwright. Many early short stories set in coal region of Pennsylvania. Novels: Appointment in Samarra (1934), BUtterfield 8 (1930), Pal Joey (1940 novel > Broadway musical & later film)
Frank O'Hara (1926-66), poet of New York School, active also in music and visual arts
Mary Higgins Clark
J. P. Donleavy
John Kennedy Toole
Frank Delaney (b. 1942), Ireland, a Novel (2007)
Andrew M. Greeley (1928-2013), priest, sociologist, journalist, author. The Cardinal Sins (1981); The Passover Trilogy (1982-84); The Priestly Sins (2004); A Stupid, Unjust, and Criminal War: Iraq 2001–2007 (2007)
Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), son of an Irish immigrant father and an Irish-American mother, is the USA's greatest playwright, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936 as well as four Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. His early plays are impressively multicultural; his later, more autobiographical plays feature Irish-American characters and themes:
The Iceman Cometh, 1939, 1946
Long Day’s Journey into Night, 1941, 1956
A Moon for the Misbegotten, 1943
Touch of the Poet,
Associate Irish-American with stage 5 of Immigrant Narrative? [Rediscovery or reassertion of ethnic identity (usu. only partial)]
Compare Jews as half-in, half-out--compare Jewish-American prominence in mid-20c American literature, Irish Renaissance's prominence in early 20c English / British literature.
Assimilation is attractive for economic benefits (at cost of ethnic identity), but intimate or familiar social relations are defined separate ethnic identity including religion, neighborhood, language, extended family.