Irish novelist and short‐story writer, born in the west of Ireland. Her first novel, The Country Girls (1960), describes the adventures of two girls who escape from their country homes and convent education to the addictive ‘crowds and lights and noise’ of Dublin. They continue their search for experience through The Lonely Girl (1962) and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1963). Other novels include August is a Wicked Month (1964), A Pagan Place (1971), Night (1972), Johnny I Hardly Knew You (1977), Time and Tide (1992), In the Forest (2003), and The Light of Evening (2006). Her themes are female sensuality, male treachery, Irish nostalgia, and celebration of the intermittent ‘good times’ which even her much‐abused and self‐abusing heroines enjoy, and her lyrical descriptive powers and lack of inhibition have led to comparisons with Colette. Her short‐story collections include A Scandalous Woman (1974), Mrs Reinhardt (1978), Returning (1982), Lantern Slides (1990), and A Fanatic Heart (1985). Mother Ireland (1976) is an autobiographical evocation of her native country.