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Jennifer Johnston (born 12 January 1930 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist. She has won a number of awards, including the Whitbread Book Award for The Old Jest in 1979 and a Lifetime Achievement from the Irish Book Awards (2012). The Old Jest, a novel about the Irish War of Independence, was later made into a film called The Dawning, starring Anthony Hopkins, produced by Sarah Lawson and directed by Robert Knights.[1]


Born in Dublin to Irish actress and director Shelah Richards, and Irish playwright Denis Johnston.[2] A cousin of actress and film star Geraldine Fitzgerald, via Fitzgerald's mother, Edith (née Richards), Jennifer Johnston was educated at Trinity College Dublin,[3] and currently lives near Dublin.[4] Other cousins include the actresses Tara Fitzgerald and Susan Fitzgerald.[5][6]

Johnston was born into the Church of Ireland and many of her novels deal with the fading of the Protestant Anglo-Irish ascendancy in the 20th century. She married a fellow student at Trinity College, Ian Smyth in 1951.[7] She is a mother of four, and is a member of Aosdána.[8]

Awards and honoursEdit

List of worksEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Jennifer Johnston - Literature". Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  2. ^ "A shaper of sophisticated stories". 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  3. ^ Rosie Cowan. "Rosie Cowan on Jennifer Johnston". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  4. ^ "Martina Devlin interviews Jennifer Johnston". 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook - Alexander G. Gonzalez". 1930-01-12. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  8. ^ "Members | Aosdana". Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  9. ^ Rosita Boland (November 23, 2012). "Banville wins novel of year at awards". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 23, 2012.

External linksEdit