Approximately 28.1 Marian books are sold across the UK every hour.
In the last 15 years, Marian has spent an astonishing 153 weeks in the Sunday Times top 10, with 26 of those as No. 1.
Marian’s books have been translated into 36 languages to date.
Marian’s previous book, Grown Ups, was an international bestseller, reaching number one in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Australia. Marian’s books are global bestsellers, consistently charting in the top ten in Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
Trinity College Library, in Marian’s hometown of Dublin, contains around 7 million volumes. Having sold 7.3 million copies in the UK alone, the number of Marian Keyes books sold could fill the library, and then some.
Marian’s novels have a truly global reach, with over 30 million copies sold worldwide.
Over the course of fourteen novels, Marian has used the power of storytelling to address some of the most pressing issues of modern times, including addiction, immigration, depression, domestic violence and the Repeal the Eighth campaign.
Marian has a combined social media following of 484,014. She is universally adored by her fans for her trademark wit and humour, alongside her unmissable Love Island commentary.
Marian has written five novels about the Walsh family – Watermelon, Rachel’s Holiday, Angels, Anybody Out There and The Mystery of Mercy Close – which follow sisters Claire, Rachel, Margaret, Anna and Helen. Over the years, 2.4 million readers have come to know the Walsh family as well as their own through these books.
The combined weight of all of Marian’s published works amounts to the equivalent of 905 individual Percy Pigs – Marian’s favourite sweet.
If you lined up all Marian’s published works beside each other, they would collectively be the same length as 64 Colin the Caterpillar cakes – another of Marian’s preferred treats.
In the first 8 months of 2021, Marian read an impressive total of 112 books.
Marian prefers not to plot out her books, as her characters often take her down unexpected paths. She’s also a firm believer that there’s no right way to write a book – this is just what works for her.
Marian has been told that if she knocked the happy endings off her books, she might be taken more ‘seriously’. But life is hard enough, and Marian’s characters go through an awful lot – so she likes to leave them, and readers, on a hopeful note.
Over the course of lockdown, Marian hosted a virtual writing class via Instagram Live, where she gave advice and inspiration to over 50,000 aspiring writers.
Marian’s favourite genre to read is crime fiction, for two reasons. One, it’s all about characterisation. And two, it’s a self-contained world where all the secrets get revealed by the end.
Marian was in an industrial estate car park off the M25 the first time she saw one of her own books. Her publishers had posted copies of Watermelon but no one was at home to sign for them, so they were taken back to the depot. After work one day, Himself drove Marian to collect them. As a result one of Marian’s happiest memories involves a car park.
Marian, a make-up fanatic, admits to owning seven brands of foundation. But this is a lie. The real figure is far higher, but her shame precludes an honest answer. (It only became a problem during the first lockdown. Suddenly she kept wanting to buy new foundations. It made no sense, she was stuck in the house, meeting nobody. In retrospect, she thinks Zoom may have played a part in the sudden obsession, because she also spent a lot of time looking up scarves. Also neck-lifts.)
Marian’s first review – for Watermelon – was in Irish Tatler. These were in the long ago, pre-internet days. Her mother called her at work in London to say she’d ‘heard’ that Irish Tatler had run a review, but she couldn’t get her hands on a copy. So Marian rang Irish Tatler on the office pay phone, explained who she was to a receptionist and asked if she wouldn’t mind reading out the review. The receptionist began, got two sentences in, then Marian ran out of change and the call was disconnected. (Subsequently she got to read the review. It was very nice.)
Himself is the best person in the whole world, Marian says. He gives people the benefit of the doubt without ever being a doormat. He is excellent at map-reading, can do hard sums in his head, loves dogs, is deeply kind and smells beautiful. He has a penchant for fancy trainers, ADORES a bargain (from Zegna jackets reduced by 70% to a punnet of cherries at 1/3 of their original cost which need to be eaten immediately) and his favourite meal is a pie. A pork pie, preferably. But it could be anything, really – if you slap the word ‘pie’ onto it, he’s likely to tuck in. Two bananas on the turn? Call it Banana Pie and job done. Half of pot of hummus on its last legs? That’s Moroccan Pie to you.
During lockdown, Marian cooked four Ottolenghi recipes. As a result, she now regards herself as ‘an accomplished cook.’ Also during lockdown, Himself cooked six Ottolenghi recipes and is considering giving up the pies, and retraining as a chef.
It’s impossible for Marian to make a list of everyone she admires because there are just too many of them. She admits that she has a tendency for Sudden Wild Enthusiasms and can fall in love with a person for the jauntiness of their walk, for having lilac hair, for writing a funny book (Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen), for ‘being sweet in a crime show’ (Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten), for ‘being late but in an irresistibly charming way’, for making crispy roast potatoes, for being Greta Thunberg, for owning up to a facelift (thank you, Marc Jacobs), for being brave enough to say, “Nope, that’s not for me” or for standing up for what they know to be right, even when they’re scared.
Again, Rachel was written in Ireland, almost entirely during lockdown. For a lot of 2020 and the first half of 2021, Irish people couldn’t travel more than five kilometres from home, so Marian saw very few people then. (Zoom, initially regarded as the second coming, quickly revealed itself to be anything but.) Always fond of TV shows about murders in cold places, she watched Valhalla Murders, Nordic Murders, Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders and Ivalo: Arctic Circle. When she ran out of them, she watched murders in warmer places, such as Thou Shalt Not Kill, set in Turin. Also Kim’s Convenience, where no-one got murdered, but she still enjoyed it. She doesn’t listen to music while she’s working (or ever, really) but while writing Again, Rachel, to reconnect with the spirit of The Real Men, she played Led Zeppelin and early Doobie Brothers.
By contrast, Rachel’s Holiday was written in 1997 when Marian was living in London. At the time she had a fulltime job as an accounts clerk and was putting in a lot of work on her sobriety. There was no time for ‘Cultural Pursuits.’ She claims to be the only person on earth who has never seen a single episode of Friends. While other people were going to music festivals, she was attending AA conventions. The only movie she remembers going to around then was Fargo. She regrets nothing.
Marian Keyes is fabliss!
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Walsh family books
Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.
But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly.
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