Born in Dublin, Ireland on May 28, 1940, Maeve Binchy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College, Dublin in 1960. She then worked for a short time as a teacher and news reporter, before focusing on writing novels. She published her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, in Britain in the early 1980s. Her other literary works include 1985's Echoes, 1990's Circle of Friends and 2008's Heart and Soul. Throughout her long career, Binchy authored 16 novels, some of which were international bestsellers, and most of which focused on women and Irish culture. Binchy died at a Dublin hospital on July 30, 2012, following a short illness.
In the early 1980s, Binchy completed and published her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, in Britain. The book details the strong bond of two female friends. She followed with 1985's Echoes, a story about the life and hardships of Clare O'Brien, the daughter of a poor shopkeeper.
In 1990, Binchy published one of her most popular novels, Circle of Friends, a story about a group of college friends in Ireland in the 1950s. The book was adapted for a 1995 film of the same name, starring and Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver. Later that decade, Binchy published Tara Road, which landed on the famed Oprah's Book Club list and was also later adapted for a film, this time starring Andie MacDowell and Olivia Williams. Binchy continued to write throughout the early 2000s, publishing Heart and Soul, a story about an empathetic doctor who opens a facility in an underserved area, in 2008.
Throughout her long career, Binchy authored 16 novels, some of which were international bestsellers, and most of which focused on women and Irish culture. "Nowadays, women realize that they are dealt a hand of cards and must play it," Binchy told The Chicago Tribune in a 1999 interview. "There are no makeovers in my books. The ugly duckling does not become a beautiful swan. She becomes a confident duck able to take charge of her own life and problems."