Liam O'Flaherty was an Irish literary and political figure who lived from 1896 to 1984. He was born in a remote village in the Aran Islands of Ireland to a family that was not well off. He was educated in various schools, and won a scholarship to study medicine. He left school and joined the Irish Guard during World War I where he was injured and suffered shell shock. After the war he worked as a seaman in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and worked for a time in America and Canada. He also wrote during this time, but did not have much success. When he returned to Ireland he became controversial as he was a Communist, and had left the Catholic Church. He left Ireland for England, and started having some success as a writer, publishing in both English and Gaelic, and becoming part of the Irish Renaissance. He published many short stories, using settings from his rural Irish childhood as well as his later world travels. Examples of his work are Mr. Gilhooley, The Black Soul, The Informer, Skerritt, and Famine.