Maeve’s Times

On Maeve Binchy

On Maeve Binchy’s first outing as a journalist with The Irish Times she reported on the wedding of Prince Charles’ sister Anne to Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey. Rather than the po-faced royal family treatment, Maeve went all out with lines like “The bride looked as edgy as if it were the Badminton Horse Trials and she was waiting for the bell to gallop off.”

Her break with tradition did not go down well with some readers, who expressed their concern with her sense of humour on the letters to the editor page. Though some people let themselves laugh, including a man from Listowel who wrote “When Maeve Binchy stops contributing to your paper I’ll stop buying it. May she live forever!”

Sadly, she did not live forever and passed away in July 2012. In a tribute to the much-missed, much-loved, and extremely successful author Maeve Binchy, The Irish Times – together with Orion Publishing and Hachette Books Ireland – have produced Maeve’s Times. This collection of Maeve Binchy’s Irish Times journalism includes Maeve’s first and last-ever piece of writing for The Irish Times and many in-between. She wrote for the newspaper from the sixties to the noughties.

Before joining the staff of The Irish Times in 1968, she hadn’t intended becoming a journalist. Without her knowing, her dad sent the letters she had written home in to newspapers and the Irish Independent were impressed enough to commission her. This was followed by Binchy’s first published book, a compilation of her newspaper articles titled My First Book, published in 1970 but now out of print.

Roisín Ingle, Irish Times columnist and former NewsFour journalist, selected the new collection with Mary Maher as editorial consultant. With an introduction written by Maeve’s husband, the writer Gordon Snell, this brings her oeuvre full circle and reminds us why we miss this writer so much.

By Emma Dwyer