THE AUTHOR Mary McCarthy has died at the age of 62 following a battle with cancer, her publisher confirmed today.
The author of five novels including Remember Me, And No Bird Sang, Crescendo, Shame the Devil and After the Rain, McCarthy was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year and wrote about her experience for TheJournal.ie in October.
Her publisher Poolbeg Press posted on its Facebook page today: “Our deepest sympathies go out to Mary’s family. Mary McCarthy was a truly inspirational lady as well as a talented writer. We were honoured to work with her over the last year and I am sure she will be missed by many.”
A former English and French teacher at St Mary’s in Glasnevin, where she herself went to school, for over three decades, McCarthy retired in 2007 and took up writing full-time.
She passed away last night around a year after she was diagnosed with cancer after secondary cancer cells were discovered in fluid that was drained from her lungs. McCarthy wrote last year that doctors had been unable to find primary cancer despite extensive testing, something which happens to around one in 20 people.
In her book published last year, After the Rain, which she first began writing eight years ago, McCarthy told the story of a woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, an irony not lost on her when she wrote about it for this website last year.
“Is this a case of life imitating art or what? My story is very different from my heroine, Emer’s experience, although the prognosis is the same,” she wrote.
Speaking about dealing with her terminal diagnosis, she said: “I have had a nice life. I loved my teaching job for 34 years and took early retirement five years ago. I truly loved writing my books. I have seen the places I wanted to see and I have extraordinary people around me.
“I’ve managed to retain my sense of humour, thankfully. There really is a funny side to everything. To my delight, I have my fifth book published. Things could be a lot worse! Or as Emer in the novel says: things always seem better after the rain.”
Read Mary McCarthy’s column from last October: I wrote a book about terminal cancer. Then, I was told I had it