Marilyn Taylor was born and educated in England, the daughter of Millie Gluckstein and Lord Fisher, a former Labour Peer and one-time president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. A child of the war years herself, her family had evacuated from London during her early years but she remembered “the terrifying shriek of air raid sirens, my mother running with me in a buggy to the bomb shelter, and the thousands of V1 and V2 rockets that wreaked random death and destruction, striking fear in all our hearts.”
Later, growing up in grey post-war London and learning what was then the recent history of the Second World War and of the Holocaust, she began to realise how lucky she had been, sheltered from the terror in Europe by an accident of geography.
She graduated in economics from University College London and moved to Dublin in 1960 when she married her husband, Mervyn Taylor whom she had met on a visit to friends of her parents in Dublin. She was a librarian in St. Louis High School Rathmines for 16 years and then librarian at Milltown Park College. She served on the editorial board of the Dublin Jewish News and was a founder member of the Irish Jewish Museum where she volunteered as a speaker and guide for many years.
Her first novels for young adults were the Jackie and Kev trilogy, Could This Be Love, I Wondered? (1994), Could I Love a Stranger? (1995) and Call Yourself a Friend? (1996) They greatly appealed to reluctant teenage readers. Marilyn undertook extensive research for her next book, Faraway Home (1999) which was a huge success. Set in Northern Ireland during the Second World War it is based on the story of Millisle Farm where young refugees from Europe were given a haven. It won the prestigious Bisto Book of the Year Award (2000) and has been selected for One Book One Community projects throughout Ireland.
It was followed by 17 Martin Street, a story based on historical facts which takes place during The Emergency in the Jewish neighbourhood surrounding the museum, and tells the story of a young German-Jewish girl who hides from the immigration authorities with the help of her Christian friends.
Both have been hugely popular with schools throughout Ireland and beyond and have introduced numerous young people to the subjects of racism, prejudice, and the Holocaust. Books for children have always been a passion: she is a founder member of Children’s Books Ireland, and a participant in Books Across the Border. As a successful children’s writer, she is invited to speak at schools, libraries, and conferences.
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