- She has an OBE for Services to Literature, and is the first female chair of the Royal Society of Literature.
- She has worked and worked and worked and worked to get to where she is today. And the story is interesting, and she tells it well.
- She wrote The White Family. It was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It should have won. (See also The Siege by Helen Dunmore, who spoke at the festival last year.)
- She understands the excruciatingly fine balance between ability, hard work and luck in establishing and maintaining a writing career, and writes about it with honesty.
- Her novels are full of energy, characters who live and breathe, descriptions that mean something and a generosity that pervades the worlds she explores.
- She is very, very kind to people who burst into tears when they try to explain to their fellow students on a writing course just what her writing meant to them. (Obviously this is a purely hypothetical supposition. I mean, I’m sure she would be very kind to someone etc. etc. I mean. Really. Who’d burst into tears at a writing course?)
- If you want to write, she’ll encourage you. If you already write, she’ll inspire you. And if you haven’t read her yet, you’re in for a wonderful discovery. (If you’ve already read Maggie Gee, then I expect you’ve booked your ticket. If not, then visit www.little-missenden.org).
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