Clare Boylan

Clare Boylan (21 April 1948 – 16 May 2006) was an Irish author, journalist and critic for newspapers, magazines and many international broadcast media.

Clare Boylan
An image of Clare Boylan. A white woman with blue eyes and blonde hair. Wearing red clothes and a necklace.
Born21 April 1948
Died16 May 2006
OccupationAuthor, journalist
Notable awardsSpirit of Life Award
Benson & Hedges Journalist of the Year 1974
SpouseAlan Wilkes

Life and careerEdit

Born in Dublin in 1948, to Patrick and Evelyn Boylan (née Selby).[1][2] Boylan began her career as a journalist at the now defunct Irish Press.[1][3] In 1974 she won the Journalist of the Year award when working in the city for the Evening Press.[3][2] There she met her husband, fellow journalist Alan Wilkes.[2] From 1981, she edited the glossy magazine Image,[3] before largely giving up journalism to focus on a career as an author in 1984.[1][2]

Her novels are Holy Pictures (1983), Last Resorts (1984), Black Baby (1988), Home Rule (1992), Beloved Stranger (1999), Room for a Single Lady (1997) - which won the Spirit of Light Award[2] and was optioned for a film - and Emma Brown (2003).[4][5] The latter work is a continuation of a 20-page fragment written by Charlotte Brontë before her death.[6][4][1]

Boylan's short stories are collected in A Nail on the Head (1983), Concerning Virgins (1990) and That Bad Woman (1995).[5] The film Making Waves, based on her short story "Some Ladies on a Tour", was nominated for an Oscar in 1988.

Her non-fiction includes The Agony and the Ego (1994) and The Literary Companion to Cats (1994).[4][5] She wrote introductions to the novels of Kate O'Brien and Molly Keane and adapted Molly Keane's novel Good Behaviour as the classic serial for BBC Radio 4 (2004).[4][5] Boylan's work has been translated as far afield as Russia and Hong Kong.[5]

Many of her writings were inspired by feminist thinking.[1][2][3] She said of this theme that “by definition I am a woman writer because the things that interest me are the things that are most interesting to women”.[3] Her works gained her membership to Aosdána.[2][4][5]

In later life, she lived in County Wicklow[2][5] with her husband Alan Wilkes.[1][4] She died after a lengthy struggle with ovarian cancer, aged 58.[4][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g McDonnell, Jane (20 May 2006). "Obituary: Clare Boylan". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Han, John J. (2006). "Clare Boylan (1948- )". In Gonzalez, Alexander G. (ed.). Irish Women Writers An A-to-Z Guide. Greenwood Press. pp. 44–48. ISBN 9780313328831.
  3. ^ a b c d e Tallone, Giovanna (17 March 2021). "In Dialogue with Writing. Clare Boylan's Non-Fiction". Estudios Irlandeses (16): 42–53. doi:10.24162/EI2021-9970.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Irish novelist Clare Boylan dies". RTÉ News. 17 May 2006. Archived from the original on 19 May 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Clare Boylan - Former Members". Aosdána. Archived from the original on 7 July 2020. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Clare Boylan: Irish author who achieved wide acclaim with Emma Brown, the completion of a two-chapter fragment by Charlotte Brontë". The Times. London. 18 May 2006. p. 61. Retrieved 26 July 2021.

External linksEdit