Molly Keane, born Mary Nesta Skrine in Ryston Cottage, Newbridge, County Kildare on 20 July 1904, was an Irish novelist and playwright. She grew up at Ballyrankin in County Wexford and was educated at a boarding school in Bray, County Wicklow. She married Bobby Keane, one of a Waterford squirearchical family, who had a large house and estate in Cappoquin, in 1938 and they had two daughters, Sally and Virginia. She used her married name for her later novels, some of which have been adapted for television.
Between 1928 and 1956, she wrote eleven novels, and some of her earlier plays, under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell. . Her husband died suddenly in 1946 and, following the failure of a play, she published nothing for twenty years. After the death of her husband, Molly Keane sold the big house and estate and moved to Ardmore, County Waterford, a place she knew well, and lived there with her two daughters until she died in 1996. She is buried beside the Church of Ireland church, almost in the centre of the village.
In 1981,Good Behaviour was published under her own name. In fact, the manuscript, which had languished in a drawer for many years, was lent to a visitor, the actress Peggy Ashcroft, who encouraged Keane to publish it. The novel was warmly received and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
Molly was a member of Aosdána. Her works include:
NOVELS (As M. J. Farrell)
The Knight of Cheerful Countenance; Young Entry; Taking Chances; Mad Puppetstown;
Conversation Piece; Devoted Ladies; Full House; The Rising Tide; Two Days in Aragon; Loving Without Tears; Treasure Hunt.
NOVELS (As Molly Keane)
Good Behaviour; Time After Time; Loving and Giving (alternatively titled Queen Lear)
PLAYS (as M.J. Farrell)
Spring Meeting; Ducks and Drakes; Treasure Hunt; Dazzling Prospect.