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Neurodiversity and creativity – with Maggie o’Farrell

Recently, I was bowled over to receive an invitation from The Edinburgh International Book Festival to chair Maggie o’Farrell’s event, in person. I am a huge fan of her work and, incredibly, it turns out that she knows mine, too, as she asked for me to chair this talk. I’m still more than slightly stunned by that.

The conversation is called Loves, Labours, Loss and we’ll talk about how creativity – and specifically Maggie’s – might be affected positively by being neuro-atypical or neurodiverse. As the event blurb says,

“A childhood bout of encephalitis resulted in a number of small but important changes in her mental and bodily performance, including balance issues, inhibited proprioception and stammering. How have these influenced O’Farrell’s writing? Join her today for a fascinating discussion with fellow author Nicola Morgan.”

Well, I’m certainly planning to be fascinated and will do my best to steer the conversation down intriguing pathways. If you’ve read Maggie’s books, you’ll get a sense of where her recurring themes comes from. And, if you haven’t, you’ll want to!

I haven’t planned it yet and we’ve only just started to talk but I’d love it to include other neurodiversities, creativity in general and where it comes from, and how being aware of how our own brains work can be empowering and useful in our lives. And I want to ask about her gorgeous and poignant new picture book, Where Snow Angels Go.

I’m afraid the in-person tickets sold out in minutes or even seconds, as a friend of mine discovered when she failed to get any, despite being in the queue before tickets went on sale. BUT you can sign up to watch online and it’s a pay-what-you-can system. Please join us! And if there are some questions you’d like me to ask, suggest them here. No promises as it depends how the conversation goes but you never know!

Is there something about your brain that you think makes you atypical? How does it hinder and how does it help? Do you wish you didn’t have your neurodiversity or are you glad of it? Would you like to understand it better? Could your brain be more in your hands than you think? Let’s dive inside our own brains and value their incredible differences.

It will be wonderful to be back at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I used to speak at it every year until recently. I hope Edinburgh is ready for my understated excitement!


***STOP PRESS*

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