Frank McCourt was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the eldest of seven children of Malachy and Angela McCourt.
Unable to find work in the depths of the Depression, the McCourts returned to their native Limerick, Ireland in 1934, where they sank deeper into poverty.
McCourt's father, an alcoholic who was often without work, drank up what little money he earned. When McCourt was eleven, his father left with other Irishmen to find work in the factories of wartime Liverpool, England.
He sent little money to the family, leaving Frank's mother to raise four children. After quitting school at age thirteen, Frank alternated between odd jobs and petty crime in an effort to feed himself, his mother, and three surviving brothers, Malachy, Michael (who now lives in San Francisco), and Alphonsus (Alphie), (who now lives in Manhattan).
The other three of McCourt's six siblings died of diseases aggravated by malnutrition and the squalor of their surroundings. Frank himself nearly died of typhoid fever when he was ten.
In his book Angela’s Ashes, McCourt describes an entire block of houses sharing a single outhouse, flooded by constant rain, and infested with rats and vermin.
* Angela’s Ashes (1996)
* ’Tis (1999)
* Teacher Man (2005)
* Angela and the Baby Jesus (2007)