Maeve Binchy, the mega-selling Irish author who died this week, set most of her stories in her native land.
But the author, who sold more than 40 million books worldwide, may have owed her career to a stay on a kibbutz. Acording to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times, Dalkey-born Binchy graduated from University College in Dublin in 1960 and went into teaching. At 23, she visited an Israeli kibbutz “and wrote letters home describing the experience. She returned to discover her father had persuaded the Irish Times to publish them.”
Binchy became an editor at the paper in 1968. She didn’t publish her first novel, “Light a Penny Candle,” until 1982, the year she turned 42. Like many of her books, it is set in an Irish village and follows two girls growing up in the aftermath of World War II.