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Popular children's author Maeve Friel dies at age 65

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 02/10/2015

Author Maeve Friel penned more than 20 books
Author Maeve Friel penned more than 20 books

The Londonderry-born "grande dame" of Irish children's literature Maeve Friel has died after a short illness.

The 65-year-old had written more than 20 books in her successful career, the most popular of them the Witch-In-Training series and the Tiger Lily trilogy.

Her books were translated into 12 languages including Hebrew, Chinese, Polish and Catalan.

The Dublin resident's Irrational Developments, a story inspired by protests about water shortages in a small Spanish village, won the 1990 Hennessey Literary Award.

She shared a publisher at one point with Dr Sheena Wilkinson of the Seamus Heaney Centre, who is a writer of children's books and is the Royal Literary Fellow at Queen's University, Belfast.

She said: "I was struck, in person and in her writing, by her honesty and warmth. Writers always look to the generation before, and I know Irish writers of my generation owe a great deal to writers like Maeve."

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