Maeve Binchy (born 28 May 1940, Dalkey) is an Irish novelist, newspaper columnist and speaker. Educated at University College Dublin, she worked as a teacher, then a journalist at The Irish Times and later become a writer of novels and short stories.
Many of her novels are set in Ireland, dealing with the tensions between urban and rural life, the contrasts between England and Ireland, and the dramatic changes in Ireland between World War II and the present day.
Her novel Circle of Friends was made into a 1995 Hollywood movie starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver with a radical change of ending.
Binchy announced in 2000 that she would not be going on tours with any more novels, but would be devoting her time to other activities, and to her English-born husband, Gordon Snell, a children's author. However, she has written three further novels since then - Quentins, Night of Rain and Stars and Whitethorn Woods.
In 1978, Binchy won a Jacob's Award for her RTÉ play, Deeply Regretted By. A second award went to the lead actor, Donall Farmer.
Maeve Binchy is a modern day women's writer in the Jane Austen
sense. Her books are generally female centric always dealing with modern day and timeless problems of Irish women in the 20th century. Marriage, divorce, abortions, affairs, and financial corruption and bankruptcy are common events that pop up in her novels. People often work in food service (a la Quentins
, Scarlet Feather
) or in the hotel industry (Evening Class
, Light a Penny Candle
.) The juxtaposition of poor and working class families versus the upper class occurs in many of her novels. The Catholic Church
is a presence in her books; sometimes priests/nuns are main characters. This has lessened as the Church's influence has waned in modern Ireland.
While some novels are complete stories (Circle of Friends, Light a Penny Candle) many of her novels revolve around a cast of interrelated characters (Copper Beech, Silver Wedding, The Lilac Bus, Evening Class). Her later novels, Evening Class, Scarlet Feather, Quentins, and Tara Road, feature a continuum of recurring characters.
Short story collections
Binchy has also published several short stories, including: