An award-winning author whose first children’s novel was entitled The Twelfth Day of July died on that date this week.
Joan Lingard, who was 90, wrote the bestselling Kevin and Sadie books, which were set during the Troubles.
She penned about 60 novels for children and adults throughout her life, many of them set in Northern Ireland.
She was born in the back of a taxi on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in 1932. She moved to Belfast when she was two years old where she lived until she was 18.
The city had a strong influence on her later writing.
A keen reader, Ms Lingard exhausted most of the books in her local library and used birthdays and Christmas to ask for new ones to read.
Her mother encouraged her to write her own book, exasperated with the speed at which she finished reading.
Her first published novel, Liam’s Daughter, was published in 1963 and she published her debut children’s novel, The Twelfth Day of July, seven years later. That novel was the first in Kevin and Sadie series. She visited schools regularly having trained as a teacher at Moray House in Edinburgh.
Tug of War and Between Two Worlds were inspired by her husband’s family having to flee Latvia during World War Two. Her last novel, Trouble on Cable Street, was published in 2014.
She is survived by her husband Martin Birkhans; her three daughters; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Her literary agent, Lindsey Fraser, said: “I read Joan’s novels as a teenager, sold her books as a bookseller, worked with her at Scottish Book Trust and had the privilege of being her literary agent. She was always inspiring and forthright, and she trusted her readers – children and adults — with big ideas and authentic emotions delivered through watertight plots.”