Maura Laverty

Life
1907-1966 [née Kelly]; b. Rathangan, Co. Kildare; ed. Brigidine Convent, Carlow, where she underwent teacher-training; went to Madrid Spain as an au pair, 1925; acted as governess and later sec. to Princess Bibesco in Spain, who freed her from au pair bondage; acted as ‘foreign correspondent’ for Banco Calamarte; wrote journalism for El Debate; returned to marry; and finally journalist; returned to Ireland to marry a man with whom she had corresponded while in Madrid, but who proved incapable of making a living (m. 1928); worked as journalist and broadcaster, running children’s programmes; the best known novels relate her experiences; Never No More (1942), set in Co. Kildare and much concerned her beloved grandmother and her death at Derrymore House; Touched by the Thorn (1943), containing an account of a heroine who commits marital infidelity; won Irish Women Writers Award but banned in Ireland, and reissued as Alone We Embark (1943); No More than Human (1944); Lift Up Your Gates (1946), the story of Chrissie, a slum-girl, and her encounters with other people, issued as Liffey Lane in America (1947); numerous children’s stories incl. Gold of Glanaree (NY: Longmans, Green 1945); The Cottage in the Bog (1946); Green Orchard (1949), featuring Tinkler the cat who runs away to the circus; adapted Liffey Lane for RTÉ as Tolka Row, the station’s first soap-opera, 1964-68; Tolka Row was staged at the Gate Theatre, (Feb. 1971); lived on Fitzwilliam Sq.; d. 26 July 1966; her fairy tales collected posthumously as The Queen of Aran’s Daughter (1995), with foreword by Pat Donlon; she also issued a cookbook, 1946, and supplied abundant culinary information in her novels. IF DIW DIL KUN IN DIB OCIL

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Works
Fiction
, Never No More pref. by Seán O’Faolain (London/NY: Longmans 1942) [also Virago 1985, 1992]; Alone We Embark (London: Longmans 1943), and Do., issued in America as Touched by the Thorn (NY: Longmans, Green 1943); No More than Human (London: Longmans 1944; 2nd imp. 1945) (iv), 5-231pp.; Do. rep. (London: Virago 1986); Gold of Glanaree (NY: Longmans, Green 1945); The Cottage in the Bog (Dublin: Browne & Nolan 1946) [var. 1945]; Do., rep. (Dublin: Town House. 1992), 124pp., ill. Barry Castle; [a children’s book, 7-11s, well-known as Patricia Lynch in its day]; Lift Up Your Gates (London: Longmans, Green 1946; 2nd imp. 1947), vi, 7-250pp., Do., as Liffey Lane (NY: Longmans, Green 1947); The Green Orchard (London: Longmans, Green [1949]); The Queen of Aran’s Daughter, foreword Pat Donlon (Dublin: Poolbeg 1995) [seven prev. unpub. fairy-tales; ill. Barry Castle, her dg.].

Miscellaneous, Flour Economy (Dublin: Browne & Nolan [1941]); Maura Laverty’s Cookbook (London: Longmans, Green 1946; NY&Toronto: Longmans, Green 1947); Kind Cooking (Dublin: Elect. Supply Board [1955]); Full and Plenty (Irish Flour Millers Assoc. 1960, 2nd ed. 1966).

Note, Seán O’Faoláin, preface to Never No More (1942), and Maeve Binchy, preface to Virago reprint (1985; reiss. 1992), 284pp.

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Commentary
Luke Gibbons, ‘From Kitchen Sink to Soap; Drama and the Serial Form on Irish Television’, in Transformations in Irish Culture (Cork UP 1996), pp.44-69: Maura Laverty, scripted Tolka Row, 1964-68, with script-editor Carolyn Swift, and latterly joined by Wesley Burrowes, who created The Riordans; Laverty, living at Fitzwilliam Sq., said she ‘came to know the horror and warmth of the nearby slums. She found the women there more akin to the countrywomen she had grown up with than anything she found anmong the city’s bourgeoisie’ (Quoted in ‘Profile’, RTV Guide, 13 May, 1966, p.15; Gibbons, p.56.)

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References
Belfast Central Public Library holds Alone We Embark (1944); Kind Cooking (n.d.); Never No More (1942); No More than Human (1950).

 

Quotations
No More than Human (1944): ‘I had visualised Spain as a laughing bare-shouldered girl with a rose in her hair. She had turned out to be a bleak-eyed forbidding wardress with a lunch of keys in one hand, and a penal code in the other’ (q.p.).

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Notes
Tinker and the Green Orchard (Dublin: Town House 1992): Tinkler, a cat tired of being polite, runs away, is snatched to perform in Flanagan’s Mammoth Circus, and a rosy old lady helps him and his travelling companions escape.

Tragic death: a son, Jimmy, died from drug addiction in the 1970s.

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