Maeve Binchy was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed authors in contemporary Irish literature, with more than 40 million books sold worldwide, translated into 37 languages. She wrote 17 novels, five short-story collections, a play and a novella. Most of her novels were marketed as romances, although many reviewers said her realistic and complicated approach to storytelling transcended the category. Her novels were particularly known for sprawling casts full of well-drawn characters. Born in a village outside Dublin, Ireland in 1940, she earned a Bachelors' degree in History from the University College of Dublin. Binchy was first published when her father persuaded the Irish Times to print letters she had written home from a visit to an Israeli kibbutz in 1963. After a short career teaching, she joined the Irish Times as the women's editor and eventually became the London correspondent for the newspaper. Her first novel, <i>Light A Penny Candle</i>, was published in 1982 and became a <i>New York Times</i> Bestseller. Her novel <i>Circle of Friends</i> (1990) was made into a film starring an unknown young actress named Minnie Driver. <i>Tara Road</i> (1999) was chosen as an Oprah Book Club Selection in September 1999 and made into a 2005 film starring Olivia Williams and Andie MacDowell. Maeve Binchy died in 2012; her final novel, <i>A Week In Winter</i> (2012), was posthumously published.