Beloved Irish author Maeve Binchy dies at 72

Bestselling novelist Maeve Binchy, who was famous for her engaging stories about the loves and lives of small town Ireland, has died at age 72 after a short illness.

Binchy, perhaps best known for Circle of Friends and Tara Road, wrote 16 novels, four collections of short stories, a play and a novella. Her books, which sold 40 million copies and were translated into 30 languages, also landed her on The New York Times’ bestseller list and in Oprah’s Book Club.

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins was among those paying tribute to the author.

“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,” he told the Irish Times. “She was a great storyteller and we enjoyed her capacity to engage, entertain and surprise us. For others, particularly young and aspiring writers, she was not only a source of great encouragement; but also to so many, of practical assistance.”

Binchy began her career as a teacher and then became a journalist, columnist and editor at the Irish Times. Her debut novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982 and went on to become a bestseller. In 2010 she received a lifetime achievement honour from the Irish Book Awards.

Although Binchy had announced her retirement in 2000, she continued to write. Her last novel, Minding Frankie, was published two years ago. At the time, she announced she was unable to go on a book tour in the United States, citing ill health.

And here the beloved Dublin author shares her philosophy of life:

Additional sources: The Canadian Press; The Guardian