Best-selling novelist Maeve Binchy has died aged 72
Best-selling novelist Maeve Binchy has died aged 72 following a short illness. Over 40 million of her books were sold worldwide and translated into 42 languages.
Some of her work was also adapted for screen including the 1995 film 'Circle of Friends'.
Ms Binchy was born in Dalkey in Co Dublin and studied at UCD.
She initially worked as a teacher before becoming a journalist, columnist and later women's editor at The Irish Times.
She then moved to London where she continued to work for the paper.
Her early short story collections were based in London and Dublin and featured sharp, funny and often poignant observations of residents of those cities.
Her first novel, 'Light A Penny Candle' was published in 1982 and became a bestseller.
Set during World War II and in the following years, it featured many elements that were to characterise her work, life in small-town Ireland, family relationships, humour and gripping plots.
She went on to publish many other novels and short story collections, among them 'Circle of Friends' and 'Tara Road' both of which were adapted as feature films.
Although she announced her retirement in 2000, she continued writing and her last novel 'Minding Frankie' was published in 2010.
In the same year, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards.
She is survived by her husband, writer Gordon Snell.
President Higgins leads tributes
President Michael D Higgins has said he is “deeply saddened” by Ms Binchy’s death.
Mr Higgins said: "She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style.
"She was a great storyteller and we enjoyed her capacity to engage, entertain and surprise us."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said people across Ireland and the world were mourning and celebrating the writer, who he described as a "national treasure".
He said: "Today as nation we are thankful for and proud of the writer and the woman Maeve Binchy".
Mr Kenny offered his sympathies on behalf of the Government and the Irish people to her husband Gordon and extended family.
Author Cathy Kelly tweeted this morning: "The world is truly a darker place without the golden light of lovely Maeve Binchy. We'll all miss her genius."