Deborah Moggach ~ Best-selling Author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Heartbreak Hotel
A warm, witty and wise novel about the unexpected twists that later life can bring, from the hugely popular author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tulip Fever.

In January“Pride and Prejudice” opened the British Film Festival in Israel, and I went there to introduce the film and do some workshops with young film-makers. Politics permeates everything – the Mayor of Tel-Aviv couldn’t come to the gala because there had just been a suicide bombing ; when we took the film to Nazareth, an Arab city, nobody could be found to put on Arabic sub-titles because once they knew it was for Isreal they refused – so much for Arab solidarity – and as a result the audience had to watch it with Hebrew ones. There is just one cinema in Nazareth, built by a courageous woman against a lot of local opposition, and until now only Arab films had been shown there. Due to the fundamentalists, the projectionist would put his hand over any kissing scenes, just like in Cinema Paradiso. So it was quite a leap, from there to Jane Austen (or perhaps not such a leap at all). The place was packed. At the end we overheard two young men talking; one said to the other: “If you read more books you wouldn’t cry so much.” The local newspaper reporter asked me why I had called it “Pride and Prejudice”, so I had to tell him it wasn’t exactly my decision…

Then, in the middle of Jerusalem my mobile rang to say I’d been nominated for a BAFTA (the film got 6 nominations altogether). I happened to be in the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus took, where the Stations of the Cross are marked – one of the most sacred places on earth. I think I was at Station 7 (Christ Falls for the Second Time), and found myself shouting down the phone “Who were the other ones? What got best film? You’ve got to be kidding!…” An hour or so later I was at the Wailing Wall – the women’s section – where prayers, written on bits of paper, are pushed into cracks into the concrete. I decided, on reflection, not to write Please God let me win the BAFTA. I do have some standards…

The BAFTAs are decided on 19 February, so you can send a prayer. That wouldn’t be quite so tasteless, would it? Actually, it’s been such a fantastic year for films that that the competition is pretty overwhelming – Crash, Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, The Constant Gardener, Brokeback Mountain just to name a few…

Another bizarre experience happened in January, this time concerning “These Foolish Things”. The novel is about outsourcing the elderly British to Bangalore, and it has led to a certain amount of interest in India, where various people are considering taking up the idea. So I found myself taking a conference call with a Minister of the Interior, during the launch of a retirement complex outside Mumbai. We started discussing things like pension provision, funding, liaising between local authorities in Britain and India and so on…in fact I got quite carried away and had to remind Mr Singh that actually I don’t know anything about it at all. It’s only a novel.

Still, I do think it’s an idea that will catch on, it’s only a matter of time…and remember, you heard it here first…I’ll be talking about the novel at the Kitab Festival in Delhi, which runs from 7-9 April.

Other forthcoming events include – a Q & A at a special BAFTA screening of “Pride and Prejudice” in Cambridge on 6 February; a talk with clips of the film at London’s Screen on the Hill cinema, hosted by the Hampstead Authors Society and the Script Factory, at lunchtime on 19th February; a scriptwriting workshop at the London Book Fair, Olympia (sponsored by PEN) on 4 March; an event celebrating Willie Donaldson (The Henry Root Letters amongst others) at the Aldeburgh Festival on 5 March, with Terence Blacker (who’s writing his biography), Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and various others reading Willie’s work; discussions about novel-writing at the Solihull Readers’ Day on 12 March; and a talk at the Oundle Literary Festival on 16th March. That’ll do for now…

I’m immersed in writing a novel. It’s set in 1918. But the most exciting thing so far this year is that, after being on the waiting list since 1995, Camden Council have finally given me an allotment.

Bye for now, and remember, do email me at
info@deborahmoggach.com