Published on Monday July 30, 2012Reuters
LONDON—Maeve Binchy, one of Ireland’s most beloved writers, has died in Dublin after a short illness at the age of 72, Irish media reported on Tuesday.
Binchy was revered by countless fans around the world for such novels as Light a Penny Candle, Tara Road and Circle of Friends, which was adapted for the screen in 1995 starring Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver. She sold more than 40 million books worldwide.Her novels and short stories often examined the friction between tradition and modern life in Ireland. Her works have been translated into 37 languages.
A review in the Toronto Star in 2000 described a Binchy book as “escapism the way it should be. You get lost in a world much like your own, yet where your own troubles are far away …. That’s probably one of the reasons millions of people around the world read Binchy: she spins heart-warming tales about ordinary characters who, somehow, manage to get things right in the end.”
Born in the Dublin suburb of Dalkey in 1940, Binchy began her career as a teacher before moving into a distinguished career as a newspaper journalist and writer.
She then moved to London, where she became the London editor of The Irish Times newspaper.Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982 and became a bestseller.
She later published dozens of novels, novellas and collections of short stories, including The Copper Beech, Silver Wedding, Evening Class and Heart and Soul.She announced her retirement in 2000 but continued to write. Her last novel, Minding Frankie, was published in 2010. On her website, she had written: “My health isn’t so good these days and I can’t travel around to meet people the way I used to. But I’m always delighted to hear from readers, even if it takes me a while to reply.”
Binchy lived in Dalkey until her death, not far from where she grew up.
She is survived by her husband, the writer Gordon Snell.