Author, journalist, and UCD alumna Maeve Binchy is remembered by Tadgh Dolan
Maeve Binchy was one of Ireland’s most prolific storytellers. In a career that began with the publication of her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, in 1982, she would go on to sell over 40 million copies of her books worldwide. Binchy graduated from UCD and attained the position of Women’s Editor for the Irish Times in 1968. Her ability to communicate with her signature mixture of drama and zany humour cemented her position as an international author. Binchy’s novels made their way to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list, with Tara Road being chosen by Oprah Winfrey as an official book club selection in 1998. Perhaps her most popular creation, Circle of Friends, was made in to a feature length film staring Minnie Driver and Chris O’ Donnell in 1995.
Her latest book Minding Frankie was published in September of 2010, amidst growing speculation over Binchy’s declining health. In 2010, she issued a statement on her own website to her readers: “My health isn’t so good these days and I can’t travel to meet people the way I use to. But, I’m always delighted to hear from readers and even if it takes me a while to reply”. Minding Frankie went on to be her last published novel in a career that has inspired millions of people globally. Binchy passed away in her home on July 30th 2012. Her husband, Gordon Snell, survives her.
She was a larger than life personality, whose work will continue to impact and delight readers posthumously. It is often not until a great person is no longer here that we realise how intensely special they were. Maeve Binchy was certainly one of those people. She never feared growing old, as in her own words she said: “Don’t fight old age with anti-wrinkle potions, hair dye and – God forbid! – Botox. No, the secret is to embrace it”. She created characters and stories that would enrich our own perception of the world and ourselves and her legacy will cement her position as an Irish literary treasure.