31 Jul 2012

Author Maeve Binchy dies

11:07 pm on 31 July 2012

Best-selling Irish writer and journalist Maeve Binchy has died after a short illness. She was 72.

Her novels and short stories about small-town Irish life sold more than 40 million books worldwide and were translated into 37 languages.

Binchy, who was born in Dalkey in County Dublin, often set her works in Ireland.

They include The Lilac Bus as well as Tara Road and Circle of Friends, which were both adapted for screen.

Binchy trained as a teacher before moving into journalism and writing, publishing her first novel - Light a Penny Candle - in 1982, the BBC reports.

She wrote the novel in her spare time from her day job as a journalist at The Irish Times.

In a 2001 interview with the BBC after she had won the W H Smith Book Award for fiction, Binchy described the five rejections she received for her first novel as "a slap in the face".

She said she was glad she persevered and sent the book to a sixth publisher.

The author told the BBC her secret was to write the way she spoke. "I don't say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. "I don't say I passed a hallowed institute of learning I say I passed a school."

In 2000, Binchy was ranked third in the World Book Day poll of favourite authors - ahead of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

She received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards in 2010, the same year her last novel, Minding Frankie, was published.