‘A genius who opened door for women writers’

Maeve Binchy was a genius.

She wrote books that read as fluidly as a conversation with an old friend who had lots of news and as she herself acknowledged, it takes a lot of hard work to make something look that easy.

Maeve was eagle-eyed and super-smart — she noticed everything about human beings — our nuances, our hopes, our petty vanities. But Maeve was also warm and big-hearted, and had a wicked sense of humour and it was this combination of emotional intelligence, compassion, and wit which meant she created characters who were utterly recognisable.

We saw our neighbours, friends, colleagues, and families in Maeve’s creations. We even saw ourselves and our flaws, and somehow Maeve’s writing encouraged us to forgive ourselves — after all, we were just being human.

Maeve’s books were almost always set in Ireland, very often in small towns, but they were read around the world.

Maeve was a trailblazer and a ground-breaker. ! She was a new kind of Irish writer — she was accessible, she was democratic, and she was — whisper it — a woman! That didn’t happen too often.!

She gave Irish women a voice, a sense that their lives mattered and their stories were worth telling. In my opinion, the greatest thing of all that Maeve did was that she opened the door for the generation of Irish women writers who followed her: Patricia Scanlan, Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan, and countless others. !

With Maeve it was all about spreading the joy. She made the world a better place and we’ll all miss her very much.

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War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence