Maggie O’Farrell to appear at World Book Night event
- Brian Donaldson
- 27 March 2012
A talk with the author of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
Maggie O’Farrell often retells the moment when the notion of authorship became embedded in her psyche. At the age of five, little Maggie was struggling with a story she was penning. On asking if her mother would write it instead, she was met with this reply: ‘But if I wrote it, it would be my story, not yours.’ From that moment on, O’Farrell has fought to have her own voice heard on the page and has done so with much success.
Her 2000 debut, After You’d Gone, was a taut drama about a troubled young woman, Alice Raikes, who sees something terrifying at Waverley Station and heads immediately back to London where she is later involved in a traffic accident and left in a coma. Through her damaged haze, the stories of her life slowly unravel. Arguably her breakthrough book is The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, whose setting shifts between India and Scotland as we learn of the complex relationship between two sisters and the impending psychological breakdown of one.
Her most recent book is the Costa Novel Award-winning The Hand that First Held Mine, a haunting tale set both in the present day and 1950s Soho. In this World Book Night event, she discusses her work with Jenny Brown, no doubt looking at some key themes such as sibling relations, loss, love and the mysteries and connections held in the past.
Central Library, Edinburgh, Mon 23 Apr.