RFT Alum Richard Byrne Does Good

Longtime Riverfront Times readers will recognize the name Richard Byrne; he was a music/media writer and editor for the paper from the late 1980s through the mid-'90s. While here, he tirelessly reported on the rise of the St. Louis alt-country scene, went on the road with Uncle Tupelo (for RFT) and preached their gospel to anyone within earshot. His screams of enthusiasm echoed across the nation and helped to establish the movement nationwide.

Since he left St. Louis for Washington, D.C., Byrne has been busy. He has written liner notes for Uncle Tupelo (the reissue of Anodyne) and R.E.M. (New Adventures in Hi-Fi reissue), has traveled often to Eastern Europe, and was awarded a Pew Fellowship in International Reporting (now known as the International Reporting Project Fellowship) to study media in postwar Bosnia. He's currently a senior editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as an American editor of the Belgrade publishing house Alexandria Press. He has completed a novel, Luckyboys, about American expats in Prague.

Byrne still checks in with RFT from time to time and recently e-mailed to inform us that his one-act play, Burn Your Bookes, has been named a finalist in the inaugural Prague Post Playwriting Festival. The play, says Byrne, "is set in Prague in the Renaissance court of Emperor Rudolph II. Two alchemical pretenders are under sentence of death by starvation. The English alchemist Edward Kelley happens to wander by their cages -- or is he there for a reason?"

The play will receive a full production along with the other two finalists at Prague's Divadlo Minor in mid-March, with the winner being announced after the final performances. We'll keep you posted.

-Randall Roberts

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