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Irish author Maeve Binchy has died aged 72 after a short illness.

Best-selling Maeve Binchy, born in Dalkey, Co Dublin, has sold more than 40 million books. Her works were often set in Ireland and have been translated into 37 languages.

They include The Lilac Bus as well as Tara Road and Circle of Friends, which were both adapted for screen.

Maeve Binchy trained as a teacher before moving into journalism and writing, publishing her first novel – Light a Penny Candle – in 1982.

She had written the novel in her spare time from her day job as a journalist at The Irish Times.

Irish author Maeve Binchy has died aged 72 after a short illness

Irish author Maeve Binchy has died aged 72 after a short illness

The author was renowned for her generosity and support of others, writing in a guide for aspiring writers: “The most important thing to realize is that everyone is capable of telling a story.

“It doesn’t matter where we were born or how we grew up”.

Maeve Binchy said that her secret was to write the way she spoke.

“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,” she said.

In 2000, Maeve Binchy was ranked third in the World Book Day poll of favorite authors – ahead of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Maeve Binchy received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards in 2010, the same year her last novel, Minding Frankie, was published.

She published a personal message on her website thanking fans who had praised the work:

“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.

Maeve Binchy is survived by her husband, writer Gordon Snell.