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Northern Irish author
Maggie O'Farrell is a Northern Irish author of contemporary fiction, who featured in Waterstones' 25 Authors for the Future.
O'Farrell was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Wales and Scotland. At the age of eight she missed a year of school due to a viral infection, an event that is echoed in her novel The Distance Between Us. She worked as a journalist, both in Hong Kong and as the Deputy Literary Editor of The Independent on Sunday. She has also taught creative writing.
It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels, such as the relationship between sisters and the loss/psychological impact of losses on the lives of her characters. O'Farrell is married to the novelist William Sutcliffe, whom she met at Cambridge. They live in Hampstead Heath, London, with their two children. She has described Sutcliffe as 'a huge influence' saying, 'Will's always been my first reader, even before we were a couple, so he's a huge influence. He's brutal but you need that.' O'Farrell has writen six novels so far, those being, After You'd Gone, My Lover's Lover, The Distance Between Us, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, The Hand that First Held Mine and Instructions for a Heatwave.
Book and writing awards
Her debut novel, After You'd Gone, won a Betty Trask award, and The Distance Between Us won the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award. She was the 2010 Costa Book Award winner for The Hand that First Held Mine, and shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Book Award for Instructions for a Heatwave.
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