William H. A. Williams is a historian, writer and musician, living in Cincinnati. Tho’ It Were Ten Thousand Miles is his first work of fiction. The Irish elements in the novel—the male protagonist’s vocabulary and speech patterns, bits of folklore and songs, references to Dublin and the West of Ireland—are based on the author’s knowledge of and experiences in Ireland. In addition to American and German universities, Williams taught at University College, Dublin, and spent his summers in a thatched cottage in West Donegal.
Apart from H. L. Mencken and H. L. Mencken Revisited (Twayne, 1977, 2001), most of Williams’ academic work has dealt with Ireland and Irish America. He is the author of ‘Twas Only an Irishman’s Dream: Images of Ireland and the Irish in American Popular Song Lyrics, 1800-1920 (University of Illinois Press; recipient of an ASCAP award, 1996) and Landscape, Tourism and the Irish Character: British Travel Writers in Pre-Famine Ireland, 1750-1850 (Wisconsin University Press, 2008). His latest book, Inventing Irish Tourism, The First Century, 1750-1850, was published in 2010 (Anthem Press, UK). Williams edited for publication Daniel O’Connell, The British Press and the Irish Famine: Killing Remarks, written by my late wife, Leslie A. Williams (Ashgate Press, UK, 2003). The author was also a researcher and consultant for The Long Journey Home, the PBS series about Irish America.
In addition to his academic work, Williams has also engaged in freelance journalism. His articles and reviews have appeared in Irish and in American newspapers and magazines. While in Ireland he wrote the monthly “Letter from Dublin” for the Baltimore Sun. Most recently, he has been a North American stringer for Irish Music Magazine.
As a performer, Williams have presented his program of Irish-American songs at Irish festivals and on campuses around the country. His musical, Maggie Murphy’s Home, has been staged at the Milwaukee Irish Fest and in Cincinnati. He is a member of three folk groups, including Ceol Mhór, a Cincinnati-based Irish band.