Best Selling Author

Mary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly’s deep knowledge of all things Irish informs her books, films and academic work. Her celebrated historical fiction series, the bestseller Galway Bay, Of Irish Blood and now Irish Above All tells the Irish American story through her own family’s saga. A great-great grandmother escapes with her children from the Great Starvation and against all odds her grandson becomes Mayor of Chicago.

As a filmmaker her credits include Proud starring Ossie Davis and Stephen Rea, three award-winning PBS documentaries, and work in television for Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live. She wrote the book and lyrics for the musical Abby’s Song (now an animated film Shirah of Bethlehem). A graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Kelly received her PhD in English from the CUNY Graduate Center.

Named by Irish America Magazine as one of the Top-100 Irish Americans, Global Irish and Power Women, she is president of Irish American Writers & Artists. Mary Pat was born and raised in Chicago and lives in New York with her husband, web developer Martin Sheerin from County Tyrone.

Available Now!

Available February 5, 2019


A Novel

After ten years in Paris, where she learned photography and became part of the movement that invented modern art, Chicago-born, Irish-American Nora Kelly is at last returning home. Her skill as a photographer will help her cousin Ed Kelly in his rise to Mayor of Chicago (1933-1947). But when she captures the moment an assassin’s bullet narrowly misses President-elect Franklin Roosevelt and strikes Anton Cermak in February 1933, she enters a world of international intrigue and danger.

Now Nora must balance family obligations against her encounters with larger-than-life historical characters, such as Joseph Kennedy, Big Bill Thompson, Al Capone, Mussolini, and the circle of women who surround F.D.R. As she moves through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II, it’s Nora’s unexpected trip to Ireland—where she experiences the deepest passion she will ever know and, at last, meets the love of her life—that transforms her for all time to come.

In Irish Above All, bestselling author Mary Pat Kelly showcases the most tumultuous years of the twentieth century through the eyes of an indomitable Irish-American woman.

My Upcoming Events

February 11th, 2019

7:00 PM
New York, NY

‘Irish Above All’ Book Launch/Songs and Stories with singer Mary Deady

Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 W22nd St., New York, NY 10011

This is a free event with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Books will be available for purchase.
RSVP please:
Tel: (212)727-2737

February 16th, 2019

1:00 PM
Glen Rock, NJ

Author Meet and Greet/Book Signing

212 Rock Rd., Glen Rock, NJ 07452
Tel: (201)444-9230

March 1st, 2019

6:30 PM
Evergreen Park, IL

Presentation/Signing (Books available to buy)

Evergreen Park Library. 9400 Troy Ave., Evergreen Park, IL 60805
Tel: (708)422-8522

March 2nd, 2019

1:00 PM
Homewood, IL

Author Meet and Greet/Book Signing

Bookies Bookstore, 2015 Ridge Rd., Homewood, IL 60430
Tel: (708)377-0789

March 3rd, 2019

1:00 PM
Chicago, IL


Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 North Knox, Chicago, IL 60630

Presentation of “Chicago Irish Save The World” – Songs and Stories from “Irish Above All” with celebrated singer Catherine O’Connell
Tel: (773)282-7035

Program presented by Celtic Women International

March 3rd, 2019

9:00 – 10:00 PM
Chicago, IL

Radio Interview

Interview with Catherine O’Connell and Mary Pat on Rick Kogan’s ‘After Hours,’ WGN Radio – 720 AM

March 4th, 2019

7:00 PM
Orland Park, IL

Presentation of  Tales and Tunes
from “Irish Above All’

Orland Park Library, 14921 Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, IL 60462

Presentation of Tales and Tunes from “Irish Above All” with celebrated singer Catherine O’Connell
Tel: (708)428-5100

March 6th, 2019

7:00 PM
Naperville, IL

Talk and Signing

Andersons Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL 60540
Tel: (630)355-2665

March 7th, 2019

3:00 PM
Long Grove, IL

Author Meet and Greet/Book Signing

Paddy’s on the Square, 28 Robert Parker Coffin Rd., Long Grove, IL 60047
Tel: (847)634-0339

March 7th, 2019

7:00 PM
Long Grove, IL

Book Club Talk

Paddy’s on the Square, 28 Robert Parker Coffin Rd., Long Grove, IL 60047
Tel: (847)634-0339

March 8th, 2019

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Chicago, IL

Luncheon Presentation

Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

Luncheon Presentation with celebrated singer Catherine O’Connell
Tel: (312)435-4826

For tickets: Eventbrite

March 8th, 2019

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Chicago, IL

Author Meet and Greet/Signing (books will be available)

The Polo Inn, 3322 S. Morgan, Chicago, IL 60608
Tel: (773)927-7656

March 9th, 2019

2:00 PM
Chicago, IL

Kelly Family Reunion

The Polo Inn, 3322 S. Morgan, Chicago, IL 60608
Tel: (773)927-7656

March 10th, 2019

2:00 PM
Winnetka, IL

Songs and Stories with Catherine O’Connell

The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka, IL 60093

Presentation with celebrated singer Catherine O’Connell
Tel: (847)446-8880

By Mary Pat Kelly


A Novel

One family’s epic journey captures both the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience—and echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself …

In a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family. Because they and their countrymen must sell both their catch and their crops to pay exorbitant rents, potatoes have become their only staple food.

But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees—victims saving themselves—in the emigration from Ireland.

Danger and hardship await them in America. Honora, her unconventional sister Máire, and their children help transform Chicago from a frontier town to the “City of the Century.” The boys go on to fight in the Civil War and enlist in the cause of Ireland’s freedom.

Spanning six generations and filled with joy, sadness, and heroism, Galway Bay sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today’s forty-four million Irish Americans—and is a universal story you will never forget.

By Mary Pat Kelly


A Novel

It’s 1903. Nora Kelly, twenty-four, is talented, outspoken, progressive, and climbing the ladder of opportunity, until she falls for an attractive but dangerous man who sends her running back to the Old World her family had fled. Nora takes on Paris, mixing with couturiers, artists, and “les femmes Americaines” of the Left Bank such as Gertrude Stein and Sylvia Beach. But when she stumbles into the centuries-old Collège des Irlandais, a good-looking scholar, an unconventional priest, and Ireland’s revolutionary women challenge Nora to honor her Irish blood and join the struggle to free Ireland.

Author Mary Pat Kelly weaves historical characters such as Maud Gonne, William Butler Yeats, Countess Markievicz, Michael Collins, and Eamon de Valera, as well as Gabrielle Chanel, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Nora Barnicle, into Of Irish Blood, a vivid and compelling story inspired by the life of her great-aunt.

Other Books

Martin Scorsese:
A Journey

Scorsese’s life and work are presented through interviews with the director as well as more than twenty major celebrity figures, providing a rare look at the process and inspiration behind the films of America’s premier director.

Martin Scorsese:
The First Decade

The first critical study of the director. Introductions by Francis Ford Coppola & Michael Powell.

Proudly We Served:
The Men of the USS Mason

Few Americans know the history-changing story of the USS Mason, a World War II warship manned by an African-American crew that served as a role model for the integration of U.S. Navy ships. At a time when most blacks in the Navy were relegated to mess duties, the crew of the USS Mason escorted six convoys across the perilous North Atlantic…

Home Away From Home:
The Yanks in Ireland

Includes, for example, the following essays: Secret Missions / The Tanks are Coming / The Rangers Lead the Way / The Second Wave / Bangor Bay to D-Day / The USS Mason / etc…

Good To Go:
The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia

So perfectly executed was the mission to rescue Capt. Scott O’Grady that it amazed even the men responsible. Just five hours after radio contact was first made with Basher 52 – O’Grady’s call sign the Air Force captain was safely on board the USS Kearsarge. The downed F-16 fighter pilot’s rescue from a Bosnian mountainside …

Special Intentions

Describes the story of the life of Margaret Mary Lynch, a young nun living in Ireland during the 1960s, and her decision to leave the convent and find another path to God.

Praise for Irish Above All

Irish Above All combines the myths and magic of Ireland with the grit and energy of Irish-American Chicago in the first half of the 20th century. I am delighted that main character Nora Kelly travels with Eleanor Roosevelt to visit the US Marines stationed in my beloved Derry during WWII—a little known story—and that Nora has a spiritual awakening in the Grianan of Aileach, a sacred space for me since childhood.” — Roma Downey, New York Times best-selling author of Box Of Butterflies, acclaimed actress and producer, president of LightWorkers Media, the Faith and Family Division of MGM Television

“Mary Pat Kelly is a peerless storyteller. In Irish Above All, she blends history and fiction into a seamless narrative that is gripping, poignant and enlightening. We all have our favorite novelists. Mary Pat Kelly is mine.” – Peter Quinn, American Book Award-Winning Author of Banished Children Of Eve

“Mary Pat Kelly’s masterful saga of Irish American life and history comes to a thrilling conclusion with Irish Above All as  the Kellys and the Kennedys achieve political power with very different consequences. A great read.” — Patricia Harty, Cofounder, Editor-in-chief, Irish America Magazine 

“Prepare to be transported through 1920-40s Chicago and Ireland for an epic story of love, loss and the strength of one incredible Irish woman.” — Martha Hall Kelly,  New York Times best-selling author of Lilac Girls

“Mary Pat Kelly vividly captures the tumult of Chicago machine politics, with its  hard-fought ethnic and racial struggles. A tale told by a feisty spirited woman, Irish Above All takes us from the Jazz Age through World War II. It is history with a timely contemporary message. For as one Irishman puts it:  ‘All of us are descended from someone who got out against the odds.’” — Margo Jefferson, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Negroland: A Memoir, Pulitzer Prize winning cultural critic The New York Times, author of On Michael Jackson

“Ahead of her times, Nora Kelly is a fascinating woman of vision and an inspiration to todays’ generation of women photographers.” – Barbara Kasten, internationally recognized artist known for her abstract photographs

Praise for Of Irish Blood

“Fascinating story. Engrossing, with enduring central character and a wonderful, rich historical background” – Mary Higgins Clark, international and New York Times best-selling author

“Kelly is a wonderful, creative, intelligent writer who’s endowed with a sense of humor.” — Malachy McCourt, New York Times best-selling author of A Monk Swimming 

“Captures the drama, the turmoil, and the excitement of the complex history of Irish and Irish Americans in the early twentieth century . . . and illuminates the arduous task of finding one’s true self in the heart of a whirlwind.” — Mary Gordon, award-winning author of The Company Of Women, Final Payments

“A sweeping historical novel placed on one of the worlds richest stages – Paris in the teens and twenties, where Irish ex-pats mingle with Americans and fascinating fictional characters rub shoulders with Hemingway, Gertrude Stein even Coco Chanel. The book trembles with the entries of international politics, thunders with the distant sounds of strife and pulses with life… It’s complex, lively, wildly romantic, and hugely entertaining.” William Martin, New York Times best-selling author of The Lincoln Letter

“A  gripping story about passionate people. It also an exploration of the depth and height of that explosive word, Irish. There is heartbreak in the word —and exultation. A real reading experience” – Thomas Fleming, New York Times best-selling author of The Secret Trail Of Robert E. Lee

“Fiesty Irish American girl from Chicago  discovers love, independence what it means to be Irish…Vivid and full of passion Of Irish Blood will sweep you away” – Lynn Garafola, author of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes

“Mary Pat is an incredible writer; there is really no one better to capture the unpredictable, original and slightly off-beat Parisian fashion of the roaring 20s as seen through the eyes of the younger generation.” – Tommy Hilfiger, iconic fashion designer

“A passionately told tale of romance and revolution that brushes away the dust and cobwebs of history to bring alive a time when the fates of individuals and nations hung in the balance . . . irresistible.” — Peter Quinn, American Book Award-Winning Author of Banished Children Of Eve

Praise for Galway Bay

“After reading her novel Galway Bay, you might wonder if Mary Pat Kelly knows everything about nineteenth-century Ireland, the Great Famine, and the emigrant experience in America. But it’s her exploration of the human heart that moves you. Against landscapes beautiful and bleak she brings her characters to unforgettable life. As they say in Ireland, ‘Take your ease with this book.’ You’ll need time for laughter and tears and pure magic.” — Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Angela’s Ashes

“So rousingly epic that it can’t help but reach readers’ hearts.” People Magazine

“A book that should be in every Irish-American household library.” Irish America Magazine

“This is the story of our people . . . an extraordinary book.” Irish American News

“Nothing short of riveting.” Boston Irish Reporter

“Both a family saga and a historical epic, replete with much romance and rigor . . . meant to be read over a couple of long evenings in a comfy chair with a high foot rest . . . A novel Irish both in sensibility and circumstance . . . the humor throughout is by turns gentle or sardonic; the characters exhibit a toughness both resolute and wily, their confidence placed in pluck, not luck . . . In dire times, the Irish would encourage each other to hope for Ireland’s restoration by saying, ‘the Harp will be re-strung.’ Mary Pat Kelly has done precisely that.” America, The National Catholic Weekly

Let’s talk…

I would love to hear from you!

If you would like to schedule an event, have me call or Skype your book club (which I enjoy!) or just say hello please fill the form below or send me an email on how I may be able to help and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you!

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