Frank Delaney, who died in 2017, was an Irish novelist, non-fiction writer and broadcaster who was once called – possibly with some justification – ‘the most eloquent man in the world’.
Before moving into broadcasting and writing, Delaney, somewhat implausibly, worked for a brief spell in a bank. He began his radio career as a news reporter in Dublin, before moving to England to work in arts broadcasting. In 1978, he created and fronted the BBC’s Bookshelf programme, for which he ended up interviewing some 1,400 authors, from Margaret Atwood to Stephen King. The main purpose of his work in all media was to spread understanding: ‘I’ve always deliberately gone for the widest possible “brow”,’ he said, ‘because I have such a suspicion of snobbery, especially the literary kind.’