Maeve Binchy, a friend of Irish PEN

The Committee of Irish PEN is deeply saddened to note the passing of such a fine and well-loved writer as Maeve Binchy, writes Emer Liston.

The best-selling novelist died on Monday, aged 72. She will be best remembered for her warmth and generosity, especially to fellow writers in Ireland.

In 2007, Maeve proved a very popular recipient of the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross Award, which marked her outstanding achievement in Irish Literature. Presented with the award at a packed dinner in Dún Laoghaire,she expressed delight at such recognition from her peers. She also promised, on future visits to bookshops, to ensure that the books of all those present were face out in a prominent position.

 An appreciative audience agreed with Declan Kiberd, presenting the award, when he said that “most of Maeve’s stories are about the pangs of adjustment- of what happens to a society that was once God-fearing and traditional when it takes on the messy complexities of the secular, modern world,” adding that hers wasn’t a fake nostalgia for a lost world but “a brave sense that the new challenges are bracing and that good people will find in themselves the resources to meet them”.

The world of literature in Ireland will be poorer for the loss of Maeve Binchy and her inimitable wit and prolific talent.  Our deepest sympathies extend to her husband Gordon, and family.

The original article from the 2007 Irish PEN Award is available here


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