Jennifer Johnston

Jennifer Johnston (born 12 January 1930 in Dublin) 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]


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] 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] She is a mother of four, and is a member of Aosdána.[8]

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)

See also


  1. "Jennifer Johnston - Literature". Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  2. "A shaper of sophisticated stories". 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  3. Rosie Cowan. "Rosie Cowan on Jennifer Johnston". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  4. "Martina Devlin interviews Jennifer Johnston". 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  7. "Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook - Alexander G. Gonzalez". 1930-01-12. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  8. "Members | Aosdana". Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  9. Rosita Boland (November 23, 2012). "Banville wins novel of year at awards". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
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