Brian Eugene Friel was born 9th January 1929 in Knockmoyle, Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. His father was a school teacher and his mother was a post mistress. When Friel was only ten years old, the family moved to Derry. Whilst living in Derry, he attended St Columb's College which was also the school that Seamus Heaney went to.
From 1945 to 1948, Friel received a bachelors degree from St Patrick's College in Maynooth. He later went onto to qualify as a a teacher lie his dad at at St Joseph's Training College in Belfast from 1949 to 1950.
In 1954, Friel married Anne Morrison and together they had five children called Mary, Judy, Sally and David. A daughter, Patricia, died in 2012 before his own death.
During this time form 1950 to 1960, he continued to work as a Derry primary school maths teacher.
In 1960, after accumulating some savings, Friel left teaching in order to pursue his dream of being a writer. His first foray into writing was in the form of short stories for the BBC. He also had some success with his short stories, a few of which were published in 'The New Yorker' in book form.
Perhaps his greatest piece of writing was "Dancing at Lughnasa" which he published in 1990. The play was set in August 1936 and centred around County Donegal. The story is told from the viewpoint of a character called Michael Evans living a fictional town called Ballybeg.