PADRAIC O'FARRELL was born in Staplestown, Donadea, County Kildare. One of Ireland's best-known journalists and most prolific authors, he was a regular contributor to the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and Irish Examiner. His thirty-five books include The Burning of Brinsley MacNamara, a study of the controversy surrounding the publication of The Valley of the Squinting Windows; the bestselling Rebel Heart, a fictional account of Michael Collins's love affair with Kitty Kiernan; Who's Who in the Irish War of Independence and Civil War 1916-23; The Blacksmith of Ballinalee; and Ancient Irish legends. He also wrote and directed a number of plays, including Matchmaking, based on the work of John B. Keane and Scullabogue, a drama about the 1798 Rebellion. His play Kitty, about the women in the lives of Michael Collins and Sean MacEoin toured throughout Ireland, including performances in Cork's Everyman Palace Theatre and Dublin's Andrew's Lane Studio.