Byrne, Laurence Patrick (‘Andrew E. Malone’) (1888–1939), literary critic and journalist, was born in Dublin, one of at least six sons of Michael Byrne, a clerk at Guinness's brewery. Laurence himself began working there in the chemical department, after which he was employed by the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society. Having long been interested in writing, he began a career as a freelance journalist and wrote on a variety of subjects, including literature, politics, and economics.
A convinced nationalist, Byrne was a member of the Young Ireland branch of the United Irish League, and was closely associated with P. J. Little (qv) in the production of New Ireland, his contributions to which reflected his support for Sinn Féin. His political views led him to campaign for the Liberal party in England during the 1910 general election and later to work for the Irish Labour party. In 1917 Thomas Johnson (qv) engaged Byrne as editor of the labour movement's new paper Irish Opinion. On discovering that the paper was financed from England, he stayed on in his post, despite misgivings, only to be laid off in March 1918, ostensibly because the paper was suffering financial losses, but probably as a result of his pro-Sinn Féin stance. Despite this he continued to correspond with Johnson and represented the Labour party on the Rathmines urban council.
Best remembered as a drama critic, Byrne was a well-known figure in Dublin literary circles. Using his pseudonym ‘Andrew E. Malone’, he was treasurer of the Weldon Subscription Fund, which was established in 1923 to support James Weldon, whose position as local schoolteacher was placed in jeopardy after the publication by his son John Weldon (Brinsley McNamara (qv)) of the novel The valley of the squinting windows. Irish drama critic to the London Times and Irish correspondent to the Birmingham Post and New York Herald Tribune, he was a frequent contributor to the Irish Times and was appointed its literary editor and drama critic in 1937. His publications include studies of the writing of Donn Byrne (qv) and of the Co-operative movement in Ireland. His most notable publication was The Irish drama, 1896–1928 (1929), in which he provides an account of the early years of the Abbey Theatre.
A member of the Academy of Political Science, he was a founder member of the Irish PEN club, which he represented at its international congress in Prague in 1938. He was also a prominent figure in the Institute of Journalists. In 1901 he married Lillie Purcell, with whom he had a son and daughter. He died 18 April 1939, after an attack of pneumonia, at his residence on Ranelagh Road, Dublin, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery.