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Remembering Maeve Binchy

Best-selling Irish author Maeve Binchy died in hospital Monday night after a short illness. She was 72 years old.

“Maeve was a great storyteller,” says International Festival of Authors director Geoffrey Taylor, who came to know the author from her visits to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. “She was great to her fans, she would sign for hours so everyone got some individual time. She kept correspondence with the audience even after meeting them just once.”

The last time Binchy participated at IFOA was in 2008, when the festival featured Irish authors. Though she couldn’t attend in person, a recording of Binchy welcoming the audience was played before every event.

Throughout her career, Binchy authored 16 novels, four short story collections, a play, and a novella. Most of her work depicted life in small-town Ireland. Her works have sold 40 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 30 languages. Two of her best-known books, Circle of Friends and Tara Road, were adapted into feature films. Although she announced her retirement in 2000, Binchy continued to write, receiving a lifetime achievement award at the 2010 Irish Book Awards.

Binchy’s last novel, A Week in Winter (Orion Books/McArthur & Company), will be published this fall.