Beginner’s Pluck - Maeve Higgins

Even when she became a comedienne, Maeve Higgins didn’t write.

“I’d work things out live on stage, and then transcribe it,” she says. “That’s how I do my TV shows.”

Two years ago, when she started writing for newspapers, she found it tough. “The 800 words would take me three long days. With stand-up words disappear into the air; you have to own your writing. I’d wonder, ‘Do I really think this?’

The book took shape when Higgins realised she could ape David Sedaris, and write short comic pieces.

“I wrote a 10,000 word sample last Christmas, and my agent found a publisher.”

Then months of procrastination set in. Her deadline was extended, and, finally, she shut herself away and wrote for three months. “I saw nobody. But I was happy. I miss writing now.”

Who is Maeve Higgins?

Date of birth: Mar 24, 1981.

Education: St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill. Coláiste Dhúlaigh in Coolock — Photography.

Home: Dublin.

Family: I’ve got a big, close family.

The Day Job: Comedienne.

Hobbies: I read a lot. Listening to radio documentaries. This American Life is my favourite.

Favourite Writers: James Thurber; Kurt Vonnegut; Anne Enright; Kevin Barry.

Second Novel: I’m thinking of writing a screenplay.

Top Writing Tip: The motivation is in doing it. There’s no magic trick. I went for 1,000 words a day, and wouldn’t let myself stand up until I had done 500. And going to the gym and eating well helped my brain to focus.

Web: www.maevehiggins.com

Twitter: @maevehiggins

THE DEBUT

We Have a Good Time ... Don’t We? Hachette Books Ireland, €14.99; Kindle, €11.38

Whatever Higgins writes about, from family and flat-sharing, to hen nights and Michael Fassbender, she celebrates the absurdity of life.

The Verdict: Higgins has stamped her own style onto this genre. These personal essays are both sharp and funny.

— Interviewed by Sue Leonard

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