Childhood: Grew up in a family of seven children. Her father was the railway station master, her mother worked in the local library.
Best known for: Hello from the Gillespies, Those Faraday Girls, The Alphabet Sisters.
Most recent book: The Trip of a Lifetime. At the age of 85, Lola Quinlan is going home, travelling to Ireland for the first time since she emigrated to Australia as a twenty-year-old. What – and who – will be waiting for her there, alongside her memories?
How many books published: 15
How she became a writer: Monica had always wanted to write and when she was between jobs, living in Hobart, she started writing short stories for magazines. Monica came runner-up in a ‘write a bestseller’ competition organised by Marian Keyes’ Irish publisher, Poolbeg and as a result, was offered a three-book contract. Her debut novel, A Taste For It, was published in 2001.
Star Sign: Aries
Quotable quotes: ‘No matter where we live, we’ve all been through the joy and the grief, and the ties and tensions of family life.’
Interests: Cooking, reading, long walks, photography. (She often posts photo galleries on her Facebook page.)
Did you know? On Monica’s mother’s side, the family were all great musicians who arrived from Ireland via ship in Australia with very few clothes but a great number of musical instruments. Her father’s grandfather, a political activist forced to go into hiding, had two choices: go to jail or emigrate.
Favourite Book: She has dozens of favourites, but currently it’s Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.
Likes: Salty things. Cats.
Dislikes: The sound of revving engines. Racism. Unkindness.