Maggie O’Farrell has written eight novels, a memoir and a children’s book. In 2020 her novel Hamnet won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was also named Waterstones Book of the Year.

Maggie was born in Northern Ireland. Her parents moved around during her childhood, and she grew up in Wales and Scotland. As a young girl, she was very ill and almost died from encephalitis. She says her lifelong love of reading comes from her long stay in hospital followed by an extended convalescence, when she missed a year of school. Her illness also left her with a stammer, which she believes has profoundly affected her relationship with language.

She studied English at Cambridge University, and then looked for work as a journalist, writing poetry in her spare time. When she chanced upon a discarded computer, she decided to write a novel. She attended a creative writing course, where her tutors encouraged her to get her first manuscript published.

She lives in Scotland with her husband, the writer William Sutcliffe, and their three children.

DISC ONE: Elephant Gun by Beirut
DISC TWO: Sit Down By The Fire by The Pogues

DISC THREE: Lovesong by The Cure

DISC FOUR: Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31, composed by Frédéric Chopin, performed by Martha Argerich (piano)
DISC FIVE: The Bends by Radiohead

DISC SIX: Little Star by Stina Nordenstam
DISC SEVEN: Feeling Good by Nina Simone
DISC EIGHT: Prophet (Better Watch It) by Rizzle Kicks

BOOK CHOICE: Selected Stories by Alice Munro

LUXURY ITEM: National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Elephant Gun by Beirut

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Sarah Taylor