Wednesday, August 1, 2012


When I went to Maeve Binchy's web site this afternoon , I was sorry to read the following :

It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of Maeve Binchy on 30 July, in Dublin. Her husband Gordon Snell and her sister Joan Ryan were at her side. 

Maeve was a weaver of magic whose stories touched  the hearts of millions. She died far too soon; she had many more stories to tell.

She will be sorely missed by her family, her friends, her publishers and her readers throughout the world.

After reading  Maeve Binchy's debut novel, Light a Penny Candle  in 1982, I quickly added her to my list  of  favorite authors. I admire her gift for story telling, and consider her  best-selling Circle of Friends,  about the intimate story of friendship one of her  best. Perhaps it's because of my Irish ancestry, I like her novels so well, especially the fact they  are set in Ireland, and often deal with the emotional struggle between folks there. How they rise and fall, and rise again.

Cindy Shanks writing for Helium describes her novels as a gentle but addictive read. "Her books remind you of an intimate conversation with a close friend."

Prior to her success as a writer of novels and short stories, Binchy was a  teacher, then a journalist for the Irish Times. It's seems unbelievable her first book was rejected five times. Especially since  today her books  outsell those of other top Irish writers, such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Edna O'Brien and Roddy Doyle.

Binchy received many literary awards , including the Irish PEN /AT Cross Award, joining such luminaries as John B. Keane, Brian Friel, Edna O'Brien and William Trevor. In 2010 , she received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards.

With her characteristic Irish charm Binchy  encourages  writers  in her  book, The Maeve Binchy Writer's Club -  Advice, inspiration and information on writing and getting published.   "The most important thing to realize is that everyone is capable of telling a story. If you scribble story ideas on the back of receipts...if you file away bits of overheard conversation from the coffee shop...if you've already chosen the perfect pen name..well, then the journey has begun."

Maeve leaves   us with  an insight into her character, and what she believed important when  she wrote on her homepage:

The happiest moments of my life are connected with family and friends. There is a great comfort about being with people who knew you way back when. There is a mental shorthand, an easy -going feeling that life doesn't have to be explained or defined; we are all in more or less the same boat. To have a community around you in a changing and unstable world is invaluable and nothing can beat the feeling that there will always be people out for our good.

Maeve Binchy (1940 - 2012)   RIP +


Anonymous said...

Love Maeve Binchy books. I will go back now an reread them. There will be no more but so grateful for what she has given to those who love a great story.

thank you Maeve Binchy for making life better!


Patty said...

Nicely written, Kath. I'm sure she would have appreciated your tribute.

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

So sad. I loved Maeve Binchy's books. She brought Ireland to my doorstep.