It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing last evening (30 July) of Maeve Binchy, Dublin-born novelist, short story writer and journalist. We sadly mourn the loss of one loved by so many and forever a favourite amongst our readers. Her writings will ensure that she will always be with us. May she rest in peace.
Maeve's has sold over 40 million copies of her books and they have been translated into some 42 languages. Her debut novel, 'Light a Penny Candle', was published in 1982 and quickly became a bestseller, while her most recent, 'Minding Frankie', was published in 2010, despite her announcing some ten years before that she would write no more. 'Circle of Friends' (1990) and 'Tara Road' (1998) were both turned into feature films, while 'The Lilac Bus' and 'Echoes' were made into films for TV. In 2010 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards. Much of Maeve's writings are centered around life in smalltown Ireland as well as family relationships. (tributes below)
Left: Maeve Binchy on a visit to Coolock Library in (we believe) 1989 (click to enlarge).
Film producer Noel Pearson said of Maeve "(she was) the most generous, probably the kindest, person I ever met". Best selling author, and former staff member with Dublin City Public Libraries, Patricia Scanlan spoke of "her humour and her generosity of spirit", adding that Maeve "wrote big, warm-hearted books that touched the lives and hearts of people". Patricia recalled a story on the Morning Ireland radio programme of how, when Maeve visited Coolock library in 1989, she (Patricia) took time off work in order to hear her speak and try to get some advice from Maeve, which she generously gave. Scottish writer Ian Rankin tweeted "She had time for everybody. Perhaps because her stories came from all of us and for all of us."
Maeve's books have always been hugely popular with our readers, and she consistently ranks among our top 60 borrowed authors.
Maeve is survived by her husband, writer Gordon Snell, to whom we extend our condolences.