Trade pays tribute to Maeve Binchy

Trade pays tribute to Maeve Binchy

The trade has paid tribute to multi-award-winning Irish author Maeve Binchy after her death at the age of 72.

The journalist, short story and novel writer sold over 40 million books with her work translated into more than 30 different languages. Her last novel, Minding Frankie (Orion), which was published in September 2010, sold over 370,000 copies through the tills according to Nielsen Bookscan, and in the same year Binchy was honoured with the lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards. Her first novel was Light a Penny Candle (Arrow) and was published in 1982.

Orion Fiction head Susan Lamb, who first met Binchy in the 1970s when Lamb was a publicist and Binchy was the London correspondent for the Irish Times, paid tribute to the author's "brilliant, kind personality—she never forgot anyone's name. She was a one-off."

Lamb said: "She was absolutely loved. People use platitudes all the time, but she was a genuinely generous, warm-hearted person, and that was reflected in her storytelling.

"People tend to think of her as a romance writer—she was not a romance writer. She wrote big novels about big subjects."

Binchy wrote 16 novels, four collections of short stories and two pieces of non-fiction, as well as two works for the adult literacy scheme, Quick Reads. She was on the launch list of both Century and Orion, with rights in eight pieces of her work remaining with Arrow.

Authors and publishing professionals have posted tributes to the bestselling author on Twitter. Author Ian Rankin said Binchy was a “a gregarious, larger than life, ebullient recorder of human foibles and wonderment,” while mystery writer Harlan Coben said: “I'm so sad to hear about the death of the wonderful, funny, talented, generous, endearing Maeve Binchy.

Joint chief executive of Curtis Brown Jonny Geller said the writer’s death was “a sad day for Ireland”. He added that Binchy was: “An author who was universally loved equally as a writer and a person”, while arts journalist and broadcaster Sinead Gleeson said: “RIP Maeve Binchy, who wrote bestsellers & brilliant columns about women's lives for the Irish Times and spoke movingly of childlessness.”

Binchy won the W H Smith Book Award for fiction in 2001 for Scarlet Feather and in 1999 she received the British Book Award for Lifetime achievement.