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She was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland. She used to work for BBC Northern Ireland, where she wrote plays for the radio. She also wrote short stories. She also worked as a teacher. She was married and had five children. She stopped publishing writing until the 1980s, when she wrote The Belfast Woman. In addition to short stories, she also wrote children's books and one novel.
- Ferguson, Amanda (12 November 2013). Mary Beckett: Literary world mourning loss of top woman writer. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/mary-beckett-literary-world-mourning-loss-of-top-woman-writer-29745537.html. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Alexander G. Gonzalez, ed. Irish Women Writers: An A-to-Z Guide. Greenwood. pp. 14-17. .
- Matthews, Kelley (Summer 2014). "A Belfast Woman: Shame, Guilt, and Gender in Mary Beckett’s Short Stories of the 1950s". New Hibernia Review (University of St. Thomas) 18 (2): 97-109.
- Pelan, Rebecca (2006). Two Irelands: Literary Feminisms North And South. Syracuse University Press. pp. 55-56. .