Jennifer Johnston (born 12 January 1930) 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.
She was born in Dublin to Irish actress and director Shelah Richards and Irish playwright Denis Johnston. A cousin of actress and film star Geraldine Fitzgerald, via Fitzgerald's mother, Edith (née Richards), Jennifer Johnston was educated at Trinity College Dublin,. For decades, she has lived in Derry, Northern Ireland, and currently lives near Dublin. Other cousins include the actresses Tara Fitzgerald and Susan Fitzgerald.
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. Johnston is a member of Aosdána.
Awards and honours
- 2012 Irish Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2006 Irish PEN Award
- 1989 Giles Cooper Awards for O Ananias, Azarias and Misael
- 1979 Whitbread Book Award for The Old Jest in 1979
- 1977 Booker Prize shortlist for Shadows on our Skin
- 1973 Authors' Club First Novel Award for The Captains and the Kings
List of works
- The Captains and the Kings (1972), winner of the Author's Club First Novel Award
- The Gates (1973)
- How Many Miles to Babylon? (1974)
- Shadows on Our Skin (1977), shortlisted for the Booker Prize
- The Old Jest (1979), winner of a Whitbread Book Award for 1979
- The Nightingale and Not the Lark (1980)
- The Christmas Tree (1981)
- The Railway Station Man (1984)
- Fool's Sanctuary (1987)
- The Invisible Worm (1991)
- The Illusionist (1995)
- Three Monologues: "Twinkletoes", "Musn't Forget High Noon", "Christine" (1995)
- The Desert Lullaby (1996)
- Finbar's Hotel, edited by Dermot Bolger (1997) (Contributor)
- Two Moons (1998)
- The Essential Jennifer Johnston (1999) (contains The Captains and the Kings, The Railway Station Man, and Fool's Sanctuary)
- Great Irish Stories of Murder and Mystery (2000) (Contributor)
- The Gingerbread Woman (2000)
- Mondschatten (2000)
- This is not a Novel (2002)
- Grace and Truth (2005)
- Foolish Mortals (2007)
- Truth or Fiction (2009)
- Shadowstory (2011)
- Fathers and Son (2012)
- A Sixpenny Song (2013)
- Naming the Stars (2015)
- The Nightingale and Not the Lark (1981)
- Indian Summer (1983)
- Andante un Poco Mosso, in The Best Short Plays 1983 (1983)
- The Porch (1986)
- The Desert Lullaby: A Play in Two Acts (1996)
- The Christmas Tree: A Play in Two Acts (2015)
- "Jennifer Johnston - Literature". Literature.britishcouncil.org. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- "A shaper of sophisticated stories". Irishtimes.com. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- Rosie Cowan. "Rosie Cowan on Jennifer Johnston". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- "Martina Devlin interviews Jennifer Johnston". Libranwriter.wordpress.com. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- Michael Coveney, "Susan FitzGerald obituary", The Guardian, 10 September 2013.
- Maureen Paton, "Tara Fitzgerald: Naked ambition" (profile), The Independent, 2 May 2003.
- Gonzalez, Alexander G.; Nelson, Emmanuel Sampath; Gonzalez, Alexander G. (12 January 1930). Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook - Alexander G. Gonzalez. ISBN 9780313295577. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- "Members | Aosdana". Aosdana.artscouncil.ie. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- Rosita Boland (23 November 2012). "Banville wins novel of year at awards". The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 November 2012.