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Maeve Binchy dies aged 72

31st July 2012

Irish author Maeve Binchy, who sold more than 40 million books worldwide, has died at the age of 72 following a short illness.

She lived in Dublin her entire life and set many of her novels in Ireland, but did not publish her first book, Light A Penny Candle, until 1982.

Binchy wrote the novel in her spare time while working as a journalist at the Irish Times and was rejected by five publishers before the manuscript was finally accepted by the sixth.

It began a rapid rise to literary fame, with her family-centric, feel-good books endearing her to readers and going on to be translated into 37 languages.

In 2000, she came third in a World Book Day poll to find the nation's favourite author and said the secret to creating a good novel is to write as you speak.

'I don't say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. I don't say I passed a hallowed institute of learning, I say I passed a school,' she explained.

'You don't wear all your jewellery at once - you're much more believable if you talk in your own voice.'

After publishing her latest novel, Minding Frankie, in 2010, Binchy thanked her fans for their support.

'My health isn't so good these days and I can't travel around to meet people the way I used to. But I'm always delighted to hear from readers, even if it takes me a while to reply,' she said.

Binchy is survived by her husband, the writer Gordon Snell, who was with her when she died.

Her final novel, A Week in Winter, will be published posthumously in October.

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