Brian Keenan worked as a teacher and in community development before going to Beirut to teach at the University. In 1986 he was captured and held hostage in the suburbs of Beirut for four and a half years. Following his release he wrote the bestselling account of his imprisonment, An Evil Cradling, which won the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Non-Fiction, the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize and the Time-Life P.E.N. Award.
His second book, Between Extremes, which he co-wrote with fellow hostage John McCarthy, about their trip to Chile was also a best seller. His first novel, Turlough, about the legendary blind harper, Turlough O’Carolan, was published in 2000 to wide critical acclaim. Four Quarters of Light about his travels in Alaska was published in 2005 and in USA in 2006. His latest book, a memoir about his early life in Belfast I’ll Tell My Ma was published by Jonathan Cape in September 2009 and will be published in paperback by Vintage in July 2010. He has also made a documentary with Chistera Productions about his return to Lebanon, No Chains No Blindfolds, which was broadcast on BBC2.
He is currently writing a book about Lebanon to be published by Transworld.