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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.
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, and currently lives near Dublin.
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. She is a mother of four, and is a member of Aosdána.
Awards and honours
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 (1985)
- Fool's Sanctuary (1988)
- The Invisible Worm (1992)
- 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)
- The Great Shark Escape (2001)
- 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)
- 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)
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