'If I die,' Egan Welch wrote in a note to his father, 'it is not alcohol that killed me. It's something else.' Kicking the Black Mamba is an unforgettable many-layered story of the death of a son. It is a vivid, haunting personal tragedy, but Welch explores its roots in generations of Irish lives scarred by shame and disgrace, and reflects on the lawless energies that may be unleashed now that the constraining institutions and rituals of church and magic have lost their hold on people's minds. It is a frightening confession of a man who fears his own complicity in his son's alcohol addiction. But it is also a love story, the story of 'a boy's love for his father, and a father's helpless love for his son.'
Robert Anthony Welch was the Professor of English and Dean of Arts at the University of Ulster. His many books of criticism include Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats and Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing. His play Protestants toured to Belfast, Derry, Coleraine, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the West End of London in 2004. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA).He was born in Cork.