Irish writer William Trevor dies

News from the Celtic League:

This review from ‘The Bookseller’:

Irish novelist, playwright and short story writer Sir William Trevor has died, aged 88.
Trevor passed away on Sunday night (20th November). He is survived by his wife Jane and their two sons, Patrick and Dominic.

Born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland, in 1928, Trevor was a history graduate from Trinity College, Dublin, and went on to write over 15 novels. He won the Whitbread Prize three times and was short-listed for the Booker Prize four times, most recently with The Story of Lucy Gault (Penguin) in 2002, which was a favourite for the prize but lost out to The Life of Pi (Canongate).

He contributed stories to the New Yorker for many years and had a firm belief that the short story was as great an art form as the novel, according to his publisher Penguin. Collected Stories was published with Viking in two volumes in 2009, including short stories "The Ballroom of Romance", "Kathleen’s Field" and "Cheating at Canasta". The stories were described by a Penguin spokesperson as "among the greatest stories of the last half-century, drawing comparison with the earlier masters of the form, Chekhov, Maupassant and Joyce".

Tony Lacey, Trevor’s editor at Penguin of many years, called him "the kindest and most courteous of men" as well as "a master" of literature.

He told The Bookseller: "Ireland and Britain - the English language - have lost a great writer. Unusually he was a master of two quite distinct genres, the novel and the short story, and he was producing masterful work in both of them into his last decade. As the most modest of men, he would have hated this of course, as he hated discussing his work too. He preferred talking about rugby or other novelists. But the self-effacement concealed a fierce writerly precision and determination. He was the kindest and most courteous of men, and funny too. When telling me that he thought he had one more book in him, he said with a twinkle in his eye. 'You'll love the title: Last Stories'."

Penguin's spokesperson added: "A modest and private man, Trevor disliked talking about his books and abhorred any personal publicity, believing that the work should stand for itself. He lived for many years in a secluded house in Devon, visiting Ireland frequently, taking walking holidays in Italy, and pursuing his passions of gardening and watching sport – especially rugby, cricket and tennis. But it was writing that truly absorbed him."

Trevor lived in Devon since the 1950s, after moving to England with his wife Jane Ryan who he met at university. First a sculptor, then a copywriter, he only took up writing in earnest aged 32 after taking a full-time job at a London advertising agency. In interview with the Paris Review, at almost 60 years of age, he commented on life at the agency, "If I was writing, for instance, four lines about paint, they wouldn’t expect to see any copy for two days. I couldn’t take that seriously so I began to write stories."

His first novel, A Standard of Behaviour, which he subsequently refused to have republished, came out in 1958. In later years he chose to describe The Old Boys, which was published in 1964 and went on to win the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, as his "first serious" novel. Trevor turned his attention to his native Ireland in later years, exploring the tensions between the fading Anglo-Irish gentry and their Catholic neighbours, about loyalty and betrayal, loss and belonging, often through multiple viewpoints.

Trevor was elected Saoi of Aosdána in September 2015 - an honour previously bestowed on writers such as Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney - during which the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Trevor as "a writer of world renown, of great distinction, of towering achievements, of elegance and grace".

Tributes here in the Irish Times and Irish Independent:…/a-complete-gentleman-a-master-c……/president-leads-tributes-to-iri…

Image: From the ‘The Ballroom of Romance’ one of Trevor’s short stories which was dramatised by RTE (Actor John Kavanagh - Actress Brenda Fricker)

Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.



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