Mary Beckett was born in Belfast in 1926. She began writing short stories when she was 23, first for BBC radio and then for literary magazines in Dublin, Cork and Belfast. In 1980 Poolbeg Press in Ireland brought out a collection of her short stories, A Belfast Woman. In 1987 Bloomsbury published her first novel, Give them Stones, which has also appeared in America through Beech Tree/William Morrow. Beech Tree have also published A Belfast Woman.
Her next collection for Bloomsbury was A Literary Woman, described by the Sunday Times as “a striking collection… immensely effective”. She has also written children’s books, including A Family Tree [Poolbeg Press] and Hannah, or the Pink Balloons [Marino].
Mary Beckett’s work explores human struggles against the backdrop of the Troubles and pays respect to survival in the domestic realm.
Her stories are collected as A Belfast Woman (Dublin, Poolbeg, 1980/New York, William Morrow, Beechtree Books, 1998); and A Literary Woman (London, Bloomsbury, 1990).
Give Them Stones (Bloomsbury, 1987/New York, Beechtree Books, 1987).
Orla was Six (Poolbeg Press, 1989, illustrated by Carol Betera); Orla at School (Poolbeg Press, 1991, illustrated by Carol Betera); A Family Tree (Poolbeg Press, 1992, illustrated by Ann Kennedy); and Hannah, or the Pink Balloons (Cork, Marino Books, 1995).
The Sunday Tribute Arts Award for Literature (1987)
Mary Beckett died in November 2013