Maggie O'Farrell was born in Northern Ireland in 1972, and grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in Edinburgh with her family.
Her debut novel, After You'd Gone, was published to international acclaim, and won a Betty Trask Award, while her third, The Distance Between Us, won the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award.
O'Farrell is married to William Sutcliffe, author of New Boy (1996), Are You Experienced? (1997), The Love Hexagon (2000) , Bad Influence (2004) and Whatever Makes You Happy (2008).
This biography was last updated on 02/13/2012.
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In three separate interviews, one video, two text, Maggie O'Farrell talks about The Hand That First Held Mine, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, how she became a writer and the major influences on her writing style.
A Conversation with Maggie O'Farrell about
The Hand That First Held Mine
What made you want to write this book?
A few years ago, I attended an exhibition of John Deakin's photographs at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Many of them were portraits of people in Soho in the 1950s: artists, writers, actors, musicians. Soho is an area of London that is famous for many things but I hadn't known that, for a short time after the Second World War, it had been the centre of an artistic movement. The bohemian, underground world which thrived there so briefly and which was captured so vividly by Deakin fascinated me. I began to conceive a story about a girl, Lexie, who arrives there from a very conventional home and makes a life for herself as a journalist.
There are two stories in the novel, aren't there?
The other story is set in the present day and is about Elina, a young Finnish painter, who has just had her first child. With Elina, I was interested in writing about new motherhood, those...
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