DERRY children’s writer Maeve Friel has died, it has been announced.
The author of award-winning children’s book The Lantern Moon, passed away on Monday after a short illness, her family has said.
The former Thornhill College student wrote a total of 19 novels for young readers including the popular Harper Collins Witch in Training series.
The books followed the trials and tribulations of young witch, Jessica, as she learned to cast spells and fly.
They were inspired by the time Friel spent living in the town of Ludlow in Shropshire.
Children’s Books Ireland, the Irish childhood literary charity paid tribute to the writer on their Facebook page saying: “We were saddened to hear today of the passing of a wonderful writer and much-loved woman, Maeve Friel.
“Maeve’s books included The Lantern Moon, The Deerstone and Distant Voices, all of which were shortlisted for the CBI awards over the years.”
Friel was born in 1950 in Derry, where she attended Thornhill College before studying sociology at University College Dublin.
After university she worked as a tour guide, and a translator before a career in teaching.
After winning the 1990 Hennessey literary award for Irish writers, she went on to write full time.
In recent years the author divided her time between her Dublin home and a hideaway in Valencia, Spain but often visited her home city of Derry.
As well as children’s stories she also penned several short stories for adults, which were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and RTE.