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Dervla Murphy (Dervla Dervilla Maria Murphy) Biography

(1931– ), (Dervla Dervilla Maria Murphy), Full Tilt: Ireland to India by Bicycle, Tibetan Foothold

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mr Polly to New France

Irish travel writer, born at Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Ireland; she was educated at the Ursuline Convent, Waterford, until the age of 14, when she began nursing her invalid mother. Following her mother's death, she cycled to India, where she worked with Tibetan refugees; her experiences are recorded in Full Tilt: Ireland to India by Bicycle (1965) and Tibetan Foothold (1966), which established her reputation as an energetically original travel writer. Her subsequent works, the majority of which describe journeys to remote regions made with her daughter, who was five years old when she became Murphy's fellow traveller, include Where the Indus Is Young (1977), Eight Feet in the Andes (1983), Muddling Through in Madagascar (1985), and Cameroon with Egbert (1989). The humane concern with conditions of existence among the peoples she encounters informs her accounts of deprived areas of Birmingham and Bradford in Tales from Two Cities (1987). Among her other works are Race to the Finish (1981), a survey of issues relating to nuclear weapons, and the autobiography Wheels Within Wheels (1979). Recent travel works include Transylvania and Beyond (1992) and The Ukimwi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe (1993).

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