The Irish novelist Maeve Binchy, most widely known for her books “A Circle of Friends” and “Tara Road”, has passed away in Dublin following a short illness.
Binchy passed away in a Dublin hospital with her husband, fellow author, Gordon Snell, by her side.
During her prolific career Binchy sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. Her works include dozens of novels, novellas, collections of short stories and non-fiction. Popular novels such as “Circle of Friends”, “The Lilac Bus”, and “Tara Road” were adapted as Hollywood movies.
Binchy began her writing career as a journalist, with the position of woman’s editor at the Irish Times before moving on to the newspaper’s London desk. During her time in London she wrote her first novel “Light a Penny Candle”, in 1982, which became a bestseller.
The Dublin writer was included on the list of Britain’s top ten most popular writers and featured on the New York Times’ Bestseller List. She also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1999 and “Tara Road” was featured on Oprah Book Club.
Although she had announced her retirement in 2000 Binchy continued to write.
Two years ago with the publication of her latest novel “Minding Frankie” she announced that she would be unable to tour the US with her newest publication due to ill health.
At the time she wrote on her website “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. So I hope all my American readers enjoy the new book.”
Her death was announced by Vincent Browne on TV3 on Monday evening. Politicians, actors and fans have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the much loved author.
Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins tweeted “RIP Maeve Binchy. Our country mourns.”
Music mogul Louis Walsh tweeted “RIP Maeve Binchy. The writer Maeve Binchy has died following a short illness, aged 72. RETWEET FOR RESPECT!#MaeveBinchy”.
Author Anne Rice tweeted “Maeve Binchy has died. We've lost another beloved writer. So sorry to hear it."
Sheila O‘Flanagan tweeted “So sad to hear of Maeve Binchy's passing. A warm, wonderful woman and an inspiration in so many ways.”
Meath East TD Regina Doherty posted "Godspeed Maeve Binchy RIP lovely warm gentle lady brought much joy through all her work."
Recently Binchy wrote an article for the Irish Times Healthy Age supplement reflecting “on lessons of a lifetime”.
She wrote about aging saying “The great thing about getting older is that you become more mellow. Things aren’t as black and white and you become much more tolerant. You can see the good in things much more easily, rather than getting enraged as you used to do when you were young.
“I am much more understanding of people than I used to be when I was young – people were either villainous or wonderful. They were painted in very bright colours. The bad side of it, and there is a corollary to everything, is that when we get older, we fuss more. I used to despise people who fussed.”
She continued “Another good thing is that you value your friends more as you get older: you’re not in any kind of competitive relationship with them any more, wishing to succeed or show off, or impress others.
“You value people just for themselves… I’ve found growing older most extraordinary. I thought inside you’d change and you’d start thinking like an old person, but I don’t think inside I’ve changed at all. I’ve just become slightly more tolerant of everybody, which has to be good.”
The author ended by saying “I’ve been very lucky and I have a happy old age with good family and friends still around.”
Three years ago Maeve Binchy took part in a “Meet the Author” interview for the promotion of her novel “Heart and Soul”. Here the author talks about her philosophy on life.