Mary Lavin

Born in Massachusetts, USA, Mary Lavin was the only child of Irish parents. Her mother was from Athenry, and she and Mary returned there in 1921. They moved to Dublin in 1922 where Tom Lavin, Mary’s father, joined them. She studied English and French in University College, Dublin, after which she taught French in Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, where she had gone to school herself.

A prolific short story writer and also a novelist, her short story collections include Tales from Bective Bridge (1942); The Long Ago (1944); The Becker Wives (1946); At Sallygap (1947); A Single Lady (1956); The Patriot Son (1956); A Likely Story (1957); Selected Stories (1959); The Great Wave (1961); The Stories of Mary Lavin, Vol 1 (1964); In the Middle of the Fields (1967); Collected Stories (1971); The Second Best Children in the World (1972); A Memory (1972); The Stories of Mary Lavin, Vol 2 (1973); The Shrine (1977); Selected Stories (1981); A Family Likeness (1985); The Stories of Mary Lavin, Vol 3 (1985). She wrote two novels, The House in Clewe Street (1945) and Mary O’Grady (1950).

She received numerous awards during her career. These included the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (1943); Guggenheim fellowships (1959 and 1961); Katherine Mansfield Prize (International P.E.N.) (1961); D.Litt (hon. causa), UCD (1968); Ella Lynam Cabot Award, Harvard University (1972); Éire Society Gold Medal, Boston (1974); Gregory Medal; Irish Academy of Letters (1975); Irish-American Foundation Literary Award (1979); and Allied Irish Banks Literary Award (1981).

An Arrow to Flight: A Tribute to Mary Lavin at 80 was broadcast by RTÉ in May 1991.

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