Milton students found writer Frank McCourt to be a natural storyteller, when he spoke with them on Tuesday morning, October 23. Mr. McCourt’s rich sense of humor served him well during his early morning encounter with hundreds of Milton students. Regaling students with his descriptors of American teenagers, Frank based his assessment of teenage patterns and behaviors on his own daughter’s passage through her teenage years. Mr. McCourt countered his observations of American teens in their high schools, with his own school experience in Ireland in the 1940s where he and his brothers approached the school day with the sense of impending terror. Asking questions, or even talking were not permitted. “We were not educated,” Mr. McCourt claimed, “we were conditioned.” McCourt subtly reminded students of their own entitlement when he told them that he and his brothers could not imagine not eating food they were given, much less dieting, or that he used old rolls of wallpaper when he wrote stories as a child, paper being completely unavailable to him. The fact that he had always wanted to write, and had persisted — with great success — in reaching that goal, was very moving to Milton students.
Frank McCourt`s first book, Angela`s Ashes won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; it has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. His second book ‘Tis starts off where Angela’s Ashesleft off with his life in the United States, especially his years as a New York City school teacher.
McCourt was born in 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents; grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to America in 1949. For 30 years he taught in various New York City high schools, including Stuyvesant High School, and in city colleges. He lives with his wife, Ellen, in New York City and Connecticut.