Christy Brown was a celebrated Irish author, poet and painter. Born with a severe form of cerebral palsy, he was able to write, type and paint with only with the toes of one foot.

Born into a working-class Dublin family, Brown’s mother, who had 12 other surviving children (having given birth to no less than 22) refused to have him sent to an institution. She took it upon herself to teach him to read and, using his only viable limb, to write and eventually to type. His most recognised work is his autobiography, My Left Foot (1954). It was later made into a 1989 film of the same name, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Brown and won two Oscars in 1990. Brown wrote in a casual style that documented Dublin’s culture through the use of humour, accurate dialects and intricate character description.

Longlisted for the Lost Booker Prize in 1970, his self-proclaimed masterpiece Down All the Days was an ambitious project drawn largely from a playful expansion of My Left Foot; it also became an international best-seller, translated into 14 languages. The Irish Times proclaimed it to be ‘the most important Irish novel since Ulysses.’ His is a unique life story and Christy Brown: The Life That Inspired My Left Foot written by Georgina Louise Hambleton is generally accepted as being required reading for anyone interested in further discovering the realities of this writer’s life.


Christy Brown

All nominated books

Down All the Days