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Maeve Binchy is remembered by Ireland's leaders, fellow writers

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Ben Garvin

(Read caption) Irish writer Maeve Binchy was known for her stories of life in small towns in the country.

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Popular Irish writer Maeve Binchy died yesterday at the age of 72, prompting tributes from her country’s leaders and fellow writers.

Binchy, who published her first book, “Light a Penny Candle,” in 1982, wrote most often about life in small towns in her native country. She was born in Dalkey in County Dublin and worked as a teacher and journalist before becoming an author, working as a writer, columnist and editor for the Irish Times and later working as the London editor. “Penny Candle” was followed by 14 other novels and various short story collections, plays, novellas and nonfiction works.

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“We have lost a national treasure," Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said in a statement.

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins noted Binchy’s versatility.

“She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style," he said in a statement.

Writer Ian Rankin said he considered her a huge literary presence.

“Maeve Binchy was a gregarious, larger than life, ebullient recorder of human foibles and wonderment,” he tweeted.

Binchy was often self-deprecating about her work, according to the Telegraph.

“I was very pleased, obviously, to have outsold great writers,” she said. “But I'm not insane – I do realize that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation.”

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In an interview with the Guardian, she stressed the importance of simplicity in writing.

“Always write as if you are talking to someone,” she said. “Say someone cried – don't say: 'tears coursed down her face.' Take it nice and easy, don't try to impress.”