Monday 18 December 2017

Tributes for 'best of company on and off the page'

Maeve in 1982
Maeve with her husband, the children's author Gordon Snell
Maeve with fellow writer Sarah Webb

Colm Kelpie and Mark Hilliard

BEST-SELLING writer Maeve Binchy was last night remembered as a remarkable storyteller as tributes poured in following her death.

Dublin-born Ms Binchy had a writing career that stretched back to 1982 with her debut novel, 'Light a Penny Candle'.

Her last published book, 'Minding Frankie', was published in 2010.

The 72-year-old novelist and columnist from Dalkey died unexpectedly in a Dublin hospital last night. It is understood her husband, Gordon Snell, was by her side.

She was regarded by many in Ireland as one of the best-loved writers of her generation with a string of best-selling books including 'Circle of Friends'. The book was famously adapted into a 1995 Hollywood movie.

Last night fellow writers paid tribute to Ms Binchy. Novelist and Man Booker prize winner Anne Enright said she had an "unsurpassed grasp of what makes a good story."


"Reading Maeve was like being with a good friend.

"Wise, generous, funny and full-hearted, she was the best of good company on the page and off it."

Best selling novelist Sarah Webb said Ms Binchy was always ready to give support and encouragement to young writers.

"She was always so kind. She was so supportive of other writers," Ms Webb said. "She's won everybody's heart and she was just a remarkable storyteller. 'Circle of Friends' is one of my all time favourite books."

Fellow author Claire Kilroy said the Binchys were one of the kindest families in the country.

"Her nephew Chris (Binchy) used to tell us about the advice she gave him," Ms Kilroy said.

"She wrote him a letter on the eve of his first novel full of insight into the business of starting out as a writer. He always spoke of her with great affection."

The renowned writer started off her career as a teacher before joining the 'Irish Times' and eventually becoming a novelist and short-story writer.

Ms Binchy was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Book Awards in 1999.

In 2007 she joined writers Seamus Heaney and John Banville when she was presented with the Irish PEN/AT Cross Literary Award to recognise a lifetime of literary achievement.

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