was born in the South of Ireland in 1942.
My parents belonged to the Anglo-Irish generation that had been
brought up during English rule, and had lived through the Anglo-Irish
War, the Civil War, the Irish Free State and, by the time I was
born, were adapting to belonging to the Republic of Ireland. This
is the period I wrote about in Walled Gardens, a family memoir that is also
an account of a time and a place. Walled Gardens was generously
reviewed in the US, and in the British Isles, where it is still
in print. The book was, for some time, on the Irish Best Seller
I left Ireland when I was seventeen – it was not the land
of opportunity it now is – and worked in England as a secretary,
in television, and eventually in the briefly flourishing film industry
of the 1960s. When the movie boom ended, I moved to California,
where I lived for over a year, and then married and moved to Connecticut.
I worked briefly in American movies – first as a script supervisor
(as I had in England) then as a screenwriter.
While I was at home bringing up my children in Connecticut, I
started to write Walled Gardens (1989). My next book was The
Dower House (1997), a novel (also generously reviewed). This
Cold Country was published by Harcourt in the spring of 2002.
Following publication I was interviewed by N.P.R and appeared on Good
Morning, America. The paperback was issued in the spring of
2003. My most recent novel is The Fox’s Walk, also published by Harcourt and
I am just finishing a non-fiction work, similar in tone to Walled
Gardens, about a branch of my family within the historical
context of the First World War and the struggle for Irish independence.
In addition to my novels, I edited the Literary Companion
to Gambling (the use of gambling as a metaphor in literature),
have reviewed books for The New York Times and Entertainment
Weekly, and have written about houses and gardens, and travel.
My most recent essay “Reading War and Peace to
William Maxwell” was published in A William Maxwell
Portrait, published by Norton.
I live in Manhattan and Vermont, where I teach Literature at Bennington