Jennifer Johnston (novelist)

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Jennifer Johnston
Born (1930-01-12) 12 January 1930 (age 94)
Dublin, Ireland
Alma materTrinity College Dublin

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.[1]


She was born in Dublin to Irish actress and director Shelah Richards and Irish playwright Denis Johnston.[2] A cousin of actress and film star Geraldine Fitzgerald, via Fitzgerald's mother, Edith (née Richards), Jennifer Johnston was educated at Trinity College Dublin.[3] For decades, she lived in Derry, and currently lives near Dublin.[4] Other cousins include the actresses Tara Fitzgerald and Susan Fitzgerald.[5][6]

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.[7] Johnston is a member of Aosdána.[8]

Awards and honours[edit]

List of works[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jennifer Johnston - Literature". Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  2. ^ "A shaper of sophisticated stories". 9 January 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  3. ^ Rosie Cowan (11 February 2004). "Rosie Cowan on Jennifer Johnston". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Martina Devlin interviews Jennifer Johnston". 5 November 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  5. ^ Michael Coveney, "Susan FitzGerald obituary", The Guardian, 10 September 2013.
  6. ^ Maureen Paton, "Tara Fitzgerald: Naked ambition" (profile), The Independent, 2 May 2003.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Members | Aosdana". Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  9. ^ Rosita Boland (23 November 2012). "Banville wins novel of year at awards". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2012.

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