Born in Dublin, Maeve Brennan moved to Washington in 1934 where her father served as a diplomat. She studied English at the American University and started a journalistic career in New York. After a short time as a fashion copywriter with Harper's Bazaar, she became a social diarist for the New Yorker where she continued to work until her retirement in 1973. Her first short story, The Holy Terror, appeared in 1950 and two collections, In and Out of Never-Never Land and Christmas Eve, were published in 1969 and 1974 respectively. Though much admired by fellow writers such as John Updike, Edward Albee and Edna O'Brien, Brennan spent the last two decades of her life in growing mental decline, social destitution and loneliness. She died in New York in 1993. A collection of stories, The Springs of Affection, and a rediscovered novella written in the 1940s, The Visitor, were published posthumously.