Clare Boylan

Former women's magazine editor and creative writer

Dublin author and journalist Clare Boylan, who has died aged 58, enjoyed a writing career spanning two decades.

Starting work in the Irish Press library, she quickly graduated to journalism, and at 19 was appointed editor of Young Woman magazine, moving from that post to Woman's Choice, another Dublin magazine.

She then moved back to Burgh Quay to become a feature writer with the Evening Press. She was named Ireland's journalist of the year in 1974, and in 1980 became editor of women's magazine Image. This was to be her last fulltime journalistic job as she devoted her time to creative writing following the success of her first novel, Holy Pictures, later translated in Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

When Cosmopolitan published one of her short stories, Clare engaged an agent in the UK. Renowned for her routine and discipline, she lived with her husband Alan Wilkes in the County Wicklow countryside.

During the 1980s and '90s she wrote five more novels, and in 1997 received the Spirit of Light award for her novel, Room for a Single Lady.

She once said: "Write, even if it doesn't seem good, or not even what you are looking for at the time. It often comes in useful later when you are going well, but a paragraph or even a phrase is eluding you.''

In 2004, Clare's adaptation of Molly Keane's novel Good Behaviour was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

A year later she was highly acclaimed for Emma Brown: A novel from the unfinished manuscript by Charlotte Bronte. This she achieved from Bronte's 18-page fragment.

Clare died in a Dublin hospice.

Paying tribute to her during her funeral in Bray, Co. Wicklow, journalist Noeleen Dowling said that, while Clare would not have chosen to die at this time or in this way, she "felt a great spiritual comfort in the last few months".

For the first time in her life, free from distractions of everyday routine, she had the space and leisure to develop her spirituality and that had meant a great deal to her.

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