Fringe by the Sea: Maggie O'FarrellThursday, July 28, 2011
You can find lots of useful information about Maggie O'Farrell here. Awards she's won, authors she admires, rave reviews, et cetera. But I'm not in the business of useful information. I'm in the business of random fascinating factoids. As follows.
♥ She's from North Berwick, as all the best people are.
♥ She has amazing hair. (Why am I so obsessed with curly ginger hair??)
♥ Her first book made me cry. Proper, gutteral, wonderful sobs.
♥ Her inspirational, life-changing high school English teacher once said to her, "One thing I hope you'll never have to find out is that a broken heart hurts physically." Isn't that poetic? Some years later, when that same bespectacled, betweeded, deceptively poetic teacher asked me what books I'd read recently, I said I'd just finished a novel by Maggie O'Farrell. How strange that must have been for him, and how encouraging.
♥ Her writing is intoxicating. Behold:
The feathers, piled up to reach her ears, were the sleek, oiled black-green of a starling's throat. At the centre of the boa, where they were woven into some invisible cord, they were gossamer soft before frothing out into the firm, spiky feathers with hooked filaments that caressed her cheeks like blades. Alice had never seen anything so beautiful and she had never wanted anything so badly: it made her weak with longing, the will to possess this thing. Why did her grandmother have it? Why had she never seen it before? Where had Elspeth worn it and would she let her have it?
Alice had stood for a few moments in front of her mirror, her fingertips stroking the outermost feathers. Then she had picked up the cardigan Elspeth had wanted and gone downstairs, the end of the feather boa trailing down her back like the tail of a sea monster.
See? Delicious.(From After You'd Gone, p171)
♥ My mum knows her mum. (See: being from North Berwick. There's a line in O'Farrell's first book about not being able to skive off school there, because within ten minutes your mum will have heard about it from four separate sources. This is horribly true.)
♥ She inspires me the way that that high school English teacher never did. And not only in the hair stakes.
♥ Most importantly, she will be appearing at Fringe by the Sea on Wednesday 11 August at 3.30pm. I'll be there, clutching my collection of Maggie O'Farrell books and gibbering senselessly at her until I have to be led gently away by a volunteer. Oh, wait, I am a volunteer. This could get messy...
Visit Fringe by the Sea for full details of the whole shebang and to buy tickets.
Images: 1. Maggie O'Farrell by Ben Gold 2. Marco Walker via Dazed Digital