Review: Marian Keyes at the Holt Festival

Marian Keyes will be at this year's Holt Festival.

Marian Keyes appeared at the Holt Festival. - Credit: Supplied by the Holt Festival

Despite not being fully recovered from having Covid, Marian Keyes, the bestselling author with over 35 million books sold worldwide still managed to delight the predominantly female audience at The Venue, Holt as part of this year’s Holt Festival by being interviewed live via a Zoom call from her home Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

It was a great demonstration of exploiting technology to make the best of a bad situation.

The author’s previous scheduled appearances at the festival had also been hit by the pandemic and both she and the organisers were determined not to let her hopefully current temporary incapacity to travel prevent one of the festival highlights being postponed yet again.

The interview conducted over the internet and projected onto a large screen for the audience was smoothly and ably conducted by Chris Gribble, CEO of the National Centre for Writing in Norwich. He is clearly a fan of the Irish author’s work and asked probing questions giving her enough time to answer each fully.

From the very start Ms Keyes with a twinkle in her eye admitted she was no politician and would respond to all questions with full honesty and frankness.

In addition, all her responses were very thoughtful and inciteful. She was very open about how writing helped to rescue her from problems with alcohol in her earlier life and how writing became a solace for her during the lockdowns.

It was interesting to hear how she described herself as a comedy storyteller but with an emphasis on the story telling and how she felt that all stories need ‘friction’ within to be worth reading.

Most Read

She talked how it was a source of both amusement and frustration that so far nine of her books have ‘optioned’ for movies but none had made it onto the big screen.

The session concluded with some questions from the enthralled audience and a desire from the author of how she would love to be able attend the festival in person in future.

The efforts made by the organisers to ensure the event was able to go ahead given the circumstances was most appreciated by the audience.

Review by Karl Clare