Borstal Boy (1958) was an autobiographical story by Irish nationalist Brendan Behan, recounting his imprisonment at Hollesley Bay for attempting to carry explosives into Great Britain, on a mission for the Irish Republican Army. The story takes its name from the Borstal, a British jail for juveniles, of which Hollesley was one.
The story depicts a young, fervently idealistic Behan who loses his naivete over the three years of his sentence, softening his radical stance and warming to the other prisoners. From a technical standpoint, the novel is chiefly notable for the art with which it captures the lively dialog of the Borstal inmates, with all the variety of the British Isles' many subtly distinctive accents intact on the page.
In 1967, the story debuted as a play, adapted by Frank McMahon and staged at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. McMahon won a Tony Award in 1971 for his adaptation. The Faces wrote a song about the book and included it on their 1973 album, Ooh La La. Then, in 2000, the book was adapted again, as a film, directed by Peter Sheridan.