Maeve Binchy

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I write exactly as I speak, so therefore I would not say any writer influenced me at all.

Maeve Binchy Snell (May 28 1939July 30 2012) was a bestselling Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist and speaker best known for her humorous take on small-town life in Ireland, her descriptive characters, her interest in human nature and her often clever surprise endings.


  • I write exactly as I speak, so therefore I would not say any writer influenced me at all.
  • 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'. You don't wear all your jewellery at once. You're much more believable if you talk in your own voice.
  • It's like if you don't go to a dance you can never be rejected but you'll never get to dance either.
    • On having her first book rejected again and again.
  • (A) writer, a man I loved and he loved me and we got married and it was great and is still great. He believed I could do anything, just as my parents had believed all those years ago, and I started to write fiction and that took off fine. And he loved Ireland, and the fax was invented so we writers could live anywhere we liked, instead of living in London near publishers.
  • Suddenly they asked me, as only the French would, ‘Madame, what is your philosophy of life?’ What a cosmic question, but I had to answer, and answer quickly, because it was live. So I said, in French, ‘I think that you’ve got to play the hand that you’re dealt and stop wishing for another hand.’
    • Recalling being invited to appear on French TV on what she described as “a terrifying serious program about books”.
  • I once tried to write a novel about revenge. It's the only book I didn't finish. I couldn't get into the mind of the person who was plotting vengeance.
  • I often wonder that if I had met Hitler, I reckon I might have found some streak of decency in him.
    • On her preference for issues that could be argued with from either side.
  • On my 100th birthday, piloting Gordon and myself into the side of a mountain.

Quotes about Binchy

  • She had time for everybody. Perhaps because her stories came from all of us and for all of us.
  • She rearranged a whole wall of books so it was completely full of Irish writers. She didn't look like she was any trouble so no one caught her.
  • She was charming, intelligent, warm, generous in her time, with her effort, with her work. I just had the greatest of respect for her because she suffered badly from arthritis, and she had a lot of pain, and she never complained, you know.
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