Death of renowned author Nuala O'Faolain


The author and former Irish Timescolumnist Nuala O’Faolain has died aged 68.

Ms O’Faolain spoke frankly about dying of cancer in an interview with Marian Finucane on RTÉ Radio 1 last month.

She described how, although diagnosed only six weeks previously, lung cancer had spread to her brain and liver.

"As soon as I heard I was going to die, the goodness went from life," she said.

Educated at University College Dublin, University of Hull and Oxford University, Ms O'Faolain worked as a television producer and journalist before writing the international bestseller, Are You Somebody?, in 1996 and following it with three more books.

She died at the Blackrock Hospice last night.

In a emotional interview in April, O’Faolain spoke about being diagnosed with metastatic cancer and that she had turned down the option of chemotherapy.

She never married but had a 13-year relationship with the journalist Nell McCafferty.

In 1985, she won a Jacob’s Award as producer of the RTE programme, Plain Times.

In the interview on the Marian Finucane Show, she said: “I was supposed to start chemotherapy. I was supposed to start 18 weeks of it, six sessions of it. After three sessions they would know if it was working.

“But ... it reduced me to such feelings of impotence and wretchedness and sourness with life... and fear, that I decided against it.”

Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced by her family tomorrow.

O’Faolain had moved to Galway after being diagnosed with cancer in a hospital in New York. In recent months she had been commentating on the US presidential elections for RTE Radio One.

She was returning from a fitness class in March when she felt ill. A doctor later informed her in a New York accident and emergency department that there were tumours in her brain.

Her father Tomas was a well-known Irish journalist who wrote the Dubliners Diarysocial column under the pen name Terry O’Sullivan for the Evening Press.