Maggie O’Farrell in person – This Must Be the Place


Last night I was at Waterstones in Brighton hearing Maggie O’Farrell being interviewed and talk about her new book, “This Must Be the Place.”
(I haven’t read it yet, so if you’re looking for a review this most definitely ISN’T the place…)

Maggie was charming, funny and very down-to-earth. I enjoyed listening to her although (as a bit of an O’Farrell groupie) I’d already heard some of her anecdotes from a snippet of her interview at Waterstones, Piccadilly earlier in the week: Maggie O’Farrell at Waterstones, Piccadilly

It must be a nightmare doing book tours.Obviously, you’ll have prepared stories to fit most questions, but in this age of instant communication  what you said half an hour ago will probably have reached your most enthusiastic followers before you’ve even made it back to the station!

That said, I enjoyed hearing again about the day Maggie literally ‘lost the plot’ with her latest novel. Unusually for her (she said) she’d mapped this one out  across a large whiteboard, using various coloured post-it notes for different characters and themes.

One morning her toddler daughter waddled into the bathroom to greet Maggie, who was cleaning her teeth, and announced “All Gone!” before handing her a soggy, chewed and scrunched-up mass of coloured paper.

Nightmare. Or perhaps it turned out to be a useful ‘first edit’?!

Alexandra Heminsley (Hemmo) (journalist and author of ‘Running Like a Girl’) was an enthusiastic interviewer last night, even if she did  self-confessedly appear a teensy bit star-struck (but then who wouldn’t be?)

The there were all the usual sort of questions to Maggie from the audience, including ‘How on earth do you find time to write with three young children?’ Having read in today’s Guardian about the battle she has had to manage her daughter’s eczema, I’m even more impressed.

What an amazing woman she is. Can’t wait to start reading the book.