Maggie O'Farrell was born in Colraine, Northern Ireland, in 1972, and grew up in Wales and Scotland. She now lives in Edinburgh with her family. O'Farrell's début novel, After You'd Gone, was published to international acclaim and won a Betty Trask Award. It was followed by My Lover's Lover and The Distance Between Us, which won the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award. O'Farrell's 2006 The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox was described as her finest achievement. Her fifth novel, The Hand that First Held Mine, won the 2010 Costa Novel Award. Instructions for a Heatwave is her most recent novel.