Northern Ireland news

Tributes to Armagh-born author Anne Doughty who has died months after major book deal

Anne Doughty was a prolific and successful writer
By Mairead Holland

WRITING groups have been paying tribute to author Anne Doughty, who has died at the age of 79.

The Armagh-born woman, who was best known for her series of Irish historical novels centred around the Hamilton family, passed away on Sunday.

She had signed her first major publishing deal with Harper Collins just a few months ago.

The John O'Connor Writing School, which holds an annual literary festival in Armagh every year, said it was very saddened to learn of the death of "our wonderful friend and supporter".

A Facebook post read: "Anne was a prolific and evocative writer, a proud Armachian, and a very generous spirit.

"She loved people, and took an interest in everyone who had the good fortune to cross her path. We will miss her terribly."

Women Aloud NI, which raises the profile of women's writing in the north, shared a video of Mrs Doughty giving a reading from one of her novels, adding "she touched so many of our lives in so many ways".

Mrs Doughty set much of her historical and romantic fiction around her native countryside.

Shortly before her 79th birthday in August, she had signed the book deal which would have introduced her writing to a global audience.

She was also looking forward to the publication of ‘The Girl from Galloway’, which is set in Donegal.

Returned to Belfast

Mrs Doughty, a teacher by profession, moved to England in 1970 and returned to Belfast with husband Peter in 1988. It was her husband who had encouraged her to pursue her dream of writing in the 1970s.

It was more than 20 years later before her first novel ‘A Few Late Roses’ was published in 1997, going on to become long-listed for the Irish Times’ Literature Prize.

She also wrote several stand-alone novels.

However, it was the 10 novels that make up the Hamilton family saga, covering more than two centuries of history in Ulster - that brought her the greatest following.

'The Girl from Galloway' will be the 11th in this series.

A service of thanksgiving for Mrs Doughty's life will take place on Friday in Roselawn Crematorium at 2.30pm.

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