Maggie O'Farrell
Creative Commons AttributionMaggie O'Farrell - Credit: Wikipedia Commons, Tim Duncan

Maggie O’Farrell’s first novel, After You’d Gone, was published in the year 2000, and over the last twelve years O’Farrell has written a further four novels, My Lover’s Lover, The Distance Between Us, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, and The Hand That First Held Mine.

O'Farrell was born in Northern Ireland, and has always felt the urge to write since she was a young girl growing up in Wales and Scotland.

Like many writers, she has had a variety of jobs, including chambermaid, cycle courier, and arts administrator. She is a journalist, and has worked as far away as Hong Kong, as well as on The Independent on Sunday, as their Deputy Literary Editor. Read more about her on her website, where she also talks about how and why she wrote The Hand That First Held Mine.

She met her husband, the author William Sutcliffe, at Cambridge, and they now live in North London with their children.

She talks a little more about writing The Hand That First Held Mine on this You Tube video, and here is another where she is interviewed by The BBC's Nick Higham when she won the Costa Best Novel Prize 2010. He interviews her in the French Pub in Soho, where many of the characters in her novel would have met and shared a night's drinking.