Maggie O'Farrell was born in Northern Ireland in 1972 and grew up in Wales and Scotland. She has worked as a journalist, both in Hong Kong and as the deputy literary editor of The Independent on Sunday, and has also taught creative writing.
She is married to the novelist William Sutcliffe, whom she met while studying Cambridge. They now live together in Edinburgh with their three children. She has described Sutcliffe as "a huge influence", saying, "Will's always been my first reader, even before we were a couple... He's brutal but you need that."
Her first book, After You’d Gone, was published in 2000 and received a Betty Trask Award for Best First Novel. She has also won the Somerset Maugham award for The Distance Between Us and the Costa Book Award for Best Novel for The Hand That First Held Mine. Both Instructions for a Heatwave and This Must Be The Place were Costa Best Novel nominees.
I am, I am, I am: seventeen brushes with death is her latest work and a move away from fiction. It is a memoir of the near death experiences that have made Maggie O’Farrell the woman and writer she is today.