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Kathleen Coyle (1886 - 1952):

Kathleen Coyle was born in Derry on 23 October 1886 to John and Catherine Coyle. Her family was moderately well-of, but her father was an incurable alcoholic and all attempts to set him up in business came to nothing. He was admitted to a home for the infirm and died there in his 40s.

Kathleen suffered a severe injury to a foot while in the care of a nursemaid who at first was too frightened to report the accident to the child's parents which resulted in her having a limp for the remainder of her life. Unable to attend school she was educated at home and, cut off from the company of other children, she became a voracious reader. In about 1906 her mother moved the family to Liverpool where Kathleen worked for a time in a public library. From Liverpool she moved to London and eventually to Dublin where in 1915 she married Charles O'Meagher. They had two children, Michele and Kestrel, but separated after four years of marriage. At this time she was active in the labour and suffragist movements. She later moved to the continent where she came to know James Joyce and his wife Norah.

In 1937 Coyle and her children moved to New Hampshire. She had already begun to write, her first novel being Piccadilly published in 1923. For a time she enjoyed a relatively good income from the sale of short stories to women's magazines and she lived among other writers in Greenwich Village, New York. Later she moved to Princeton where she died on 25 March 1952 at the age of sixty-six.

Of her nineteen published works 13 are novels and two autobiographies - A Flock of Birds (1930) and The Magical Realm (1943), both of which have been reprinted by the Wolfhound Press in Dublin.

Kathleen Coyle is buried in a graveyard near Princeton, New Jersey.

Born: 23 October 1886
Died: 25 March 1952
Wesley McCann