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Maeve Binchy: Memories of a force field of light and power 10 years on

As the tenth anniversary of her death approaches, friends and acquaintances recall her formidable and enriching spirit

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Author of Light A Penny Candle; her first novel and one that took her into the bestseller list; Maeve Binchy confesses 'I couldn't understand it. It had none of the ingredients of a bestseller.' (Photo by Reg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Author of Light A Penny Candle; her first novel and one that took her into the bestseller list; Maeve Binchy confesses 'I couldn't understand it. It had none of the ingredients of a bestseller.' (Photo by Reg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Maeve Binchy, Vincent Banville and Peter Cunningham.

Maeve Binchy, Vincent Banville and Peter Cunningham.

Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at UCD Margaret Kelleher

Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at UCD Margaret Kelleher

Sarah Binchy

Sarah Binchy

Author Sheila O'Flanagan. Photo: Mark Condren

Author Sheila O'Flanagan. Photo: Mark Condren

Author Kathleen MacMahon at her home in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Author Kathleen MacMahon at her home in Dublin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Aingeala Flannery pictured in Tramore Co Waterford. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Aingeala Flannery pictured in Tramore Co Waterford. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

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Author of Light A Penny Candle; her first novel and one that took her into the bestseller list; Maeve Binchy confesses 'I couldn't understand it. It had none of the ingredients of a bestseller.' (Photo by Reg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Maeve Binchy never spoke to me about her books. The characters, settings, structures and themes of her novels, of which more than 40 million have been sold worldwide, were never discussed between us.

Some writers I know love to witter on about their work, as do I on occasions, but Maeve never did, at least not to me. I have often wondered why this was the case. Was it due to professional modesty? Did completed work bore her? Or was she sensitive to possible criticism that such a discussion might produce?


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