Evans, A(nthony) G.
Evans, A(nthony) G.
CAREER: Former broadcaster.
MEMBER: G. K. Chesterton Society of Western Australia (president 2003-04).
AWARDS, HONORS: Western Australia Week Literary Award for Nonfiction, for The Conscious Stone: A Biography of John C. Hawes.
The Conscious Stone: A Biography of John C. Hawes, Polding Press (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1984.
Fanatic Heart: A Life of John Boyle O'Reilly, 1844-1890, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1999.
C. Y. O'Connor: His Life and Legacy, University of Western Australia Press (Crawley, Western Australia, Australia), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: A former broadcaster, Australian writer A. G. Evans is the author of several biographies, one of which, Fanatic Heart: A Life of John Boyle O'Reilly, 1844-1890, was published in the United States. O'Reilly is an Irish folk hero who was a poet and writer; his adventurous life led him from Ireland to Australia and then on to the United States.
Born in County Meath, Ireland, in 1844, O'Reilly secretly joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), forerunner of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), while serving in the British army. The Brotherhood made it their mission to drive the British out of Ireland. Betrayed to the British by an informer, O'Reilly and other members of the IRB were transported to Western Australia to serve time in Fremantle Prison.
Sentenced to a term of twenty years, O'Reilly spent some of this time penning patriotic poetry before he broke out of prison and made his way to Boston on a whaling ship. There he became owner of the Boston Pilot, the leading Irish-Catholic newspaper in the United States. An ardent opponent of the British and of racism, he planned the escape of other political convicts in Australia.
In his biography, Evans examines the influences that created O'Reilly's sense of patriotism, the theme of most of his poetry. Reviewing Evans's biography in Library Journal, Charles V. Cowling called it a "lucid and compelling account of a life obscured by time." A critic for Kirkus Reviews found the book "highly readable, if somewhat old-fashioned," and an "exciting story that reads like a fast-paced page-turner of a novel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Journal of Australian Studies, March, 1998, Veronica Brady, review of Fanatic Heart: A Life of John Boyle O'Reilly, 1844-1890. p. 188.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1999, review of Fanatic Heart.
Library Journal, Charles V. Cowling, review of Fanatic Heart, p. 88.
G. K. Chesterton Society of Western Australia Web site, http://www.members.iinet.net.au/ (December 9, 2004), "Society Office Holders for 2003-4."