Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mary Lavin

The fact that one of the rooms at the Irish Writers Centre is being named for writer Mary Lavin reminds me that 2012 is the centenary of her birth. She was born in Massachusetts in 1912, the only child of an immigrant Irish couple.

The family returned to Ireland when Mary was ten and lived in Galway and then in Dublin. She studied English and French at University College Dublin (UCD). As a result of an approach to Lord Dunsany, the then well-known Irish writer, he became Mary's literary mentor.

In 1943 Mary Lavin published her first book. Tales from Bective Bridge, a volume of ten short stories about life in rural Ireland which became a critical success. Lavin married William Walsh, a Dublin lawyer and the couple had three daughters and moved to "Abbey Farm" at Bective, Co Meath.

She went on to publish several collections of short stories and two novels. She died in 1996. I presume there will a number of publications and events to mark the centenary. I did hear rumours of some event being held in Trim to mark the occasion because of her local Meath connection.

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