I was born in the South of Ireland in 1942. My parents belonged to the Anglo-Irish generation that had been brought up during English rule, and had lived through the Anglo-Irish War, the Civil War, the Irish Free State and, by the time I was born, were adapting to belonging to the Republic of Ireland. This is the period I wrote about in Walled Gardens, a family memoir that is also an account of a time and a place. Walled Gardens was generously reviewed in the US, and in the British Isles, where it is still in print. The book was, for some time, on the Irish Best Seller List.author
I left Ireland when I was seventeen – it was not the land of opportunity it now is – and worked in England as a secretary, in television, and eventually in the briefly flourishing film industry of the 1960s. When the movie boom ended, I moved to California, where I lived for over a year, and then married and moved to Connecticut. I worked briefly in American movies – first as a script supervisor (as I had in England) then as a screenwriter.
While I was at home bringing up my children in Connecticut, I started to write Walled Gardens (1989). My next book was The Dower House (1997), a novel (also generously reviewed). This Cold Country was published by Harcourt in the spring of 2002. Following publication I was interviewed by N.P.R and appeared on Good Morning, America. The paperback was issued in the spring of 2003. My most recent novel is The Fox’s Walk, also published by Harcourt and I am just finishing a non-fiction work, similar in tone to Walled Gardens, about a branch of my family within the historical context of the First World War and the struggle for Irish independence.
In addition to my novels, I edited the Literary Companion to Gambling (the use of gambling as a metaphor in literature), have reviewed books for The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, and have written about houses and gardens, and travel. My most recent essay “Reading War and Peace to William Maxwell” was published in A William Maxwell Portrait, published by Norton.
I live in Manhattan and Vermont, where I teach Literature at Bennington College.
Full Name at Birth
Date of Birth
Bennington, Vermont, United StatesManhattan, New York, United States
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