Jay O'Callahan

Feb 1, 2021

Jay O'Callahan
Credit Jim Mahoney, Jay O'Callahan

A Time For Tales

Program #429 (February 7 at 3:00 p.m.)

Jay O'Callahan grew up in a section of Brookline, Massachusetts called "Pill Hill" because so many doctors lived there. The magical house and grounds were a perfect setting for his parents' parties which were filled with singing, drama and conversation -a great atmosphere for a child's imagination to blossom.

When Jay was 14, he started telling stories to his little brother and sister at the parties to keep them occupied. It felt so natural, it never occurred to him that it could become a way of life.

Jay left "Pill Hill" to attend the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. After graduation, a tour in the Navy took Jay to the Pacific.

Returning to Massachusetts, he taught and eventually became Dean at the Wyndham School which his parents had founded. Within three years, Jay was telling stories in Africa, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and on the public radio program, "The Spider's Web," which brought his work to national attention.

Many of Jay's characters are based on real life. The 'Pill Hill Stories' were inspired by people he knew when he was growing up.

In 1980, while on vacation in Nova Scotia, he sat on and off for a month in the kitchen of an old man and a blind woman. Out of that kitchen came the story of 'The Herring Shed'.

Storytelling has brought Jay around the earth. When he isn't on the road, Jay runs a writing workshop at his home. His other interests include reading everything from Walt Whitman to Herman Melville to Flannery O'Connor to Edan St. Vincent Milay.

Jay also enjoys listening to jazz, classical music and opera. Jay is currently working on a novel about growing up.

(provided by Jay O’Callahan)